It happens in every circle of friends; two people come together unexpectedly, it’s usually the quiet one and the quirky one, and suddenly you find yourself thinking “They are perfect for each other! How did I not see this before?” Recently in the circle of Hamilton arts organizations one such unlikely duo has moved in together: Cobalt Connects and the Players Guild. What does a non-profit arts service organization that is focused on spurring projects that advance the creative sector and North America’s oldest continuing amateur theatre based out of a beautiful Victorian house have in common? I planned to find, out and I couldn’t wait to hear their ‘How we met’ story.
I caught up with Jeremy Freiburger of CoBALT Connects, not surprisingly, over social media and I asked him about this new partnership. It all started, he tells me, at ‘Stage Directions’. Stage Directions was an open-space meeting about the future of the Theatre community in Hamilton held in March of 2014. This event brought together diverse members of the Theatre community: professionals, amateurs, new Hamiltonians, and lifetime steel town residents, all wanting to participate in a dialogue. Spearheaded by the Hamilton Fringe Festival, this meeting was held in an effort to inspire communication in our growing community. I was lucky enough to attend personally and saw firsthand a great desire for connection from many artists and groups.
This is where our story began, here Freiburger met with Dan Penrose of the Players Guild in a discussion that centered around several theatre groups wanting to work together while still maintaining their individuality. ‘The conversation was electric’ Freiburger tells me and only a few days later over lunch the idea of sharing space took shape. CoBALT needed a space and the Guild wanted to better utilize social media, build new audience and create new bookings in their venue. Although it was a leap of faith for both parties there was much to be gained. CoBALT moved in with the Guild on October 1st, only 7 months after their first date, and things are already in motion.
CoBALT has started working on the Guild’s social media presence and is digitizing some of their ample archives. Having taken up residence in the library of the three story Victorian home, Freiburger now works surrounded by more than 100 years of scripts, a great source for inspiration. Projects on the horizon for the dynamic duo include; a series of performances and interviews with local musicians, a summer craft fair with local artists and some of Hamilton’s exploding food truck scene and, as often happens when moving in together, a fresh coat of paint for the Guild’s interior. It seems as if there is much more adventure in store for our new pair and I wish them well. All we need now to complete our romantic comedy style plot is a catch-phrase and a new easy listening hit, roll the credits.