Last week my friend Fred Louder gave me an issue The New Quarterly in which some of his poems ran. In the same issue there was an essay by David Helwig about his life in the theatre scene in Peterborough, Ontario in the 1950s.
Having wandered on the fringes of the theatre scene of Peterborough in the late 1980s, I was struck by how much of what David wrote about echoed my own experiences 30 years later. Peterborough it seems, especially the ragamuffin world of small theatre, never changes.
Something born out for me again after reading about plans for a new theatre space in the city. A space that references The Union, a earlier incarnation of much the same thing that I was present at the conception and birth of (including one particularly drawn-out session in which the name of the space was chosen; in the end it came down to “Kitchen Sink” vs. “The Union”).
Just to neatly tie this thread together, it seems that David Helwid is, in addition, the father of Maggie Helwig, a friend of many Peterborough friends, including my friend Stephen Good. Who, if memory serves, was a member of the cast of at least a few productions mounted at the aforementioned Union.
I have now passed the David Helwig essay on to my friend Ann, resident of Peterborough in the 1970s, to confirm or deny that the scene of that era blew the same way.