This has been a tough year for the city of Stratford. Nevertheless, the city is adapting, and a local artist has released a video capturing the community’s creative spirit.
“The Stratford Festival is at the core of our community and with all four theatres closed for an entire season, the economy is taking a huge blow,” says Dayna Manning, a Juno-nominated singer/songwriter. “Entrepreneurs, restaurants, and artists are all suffering, so when the opportunity came up to make a music video for my song “You You You” I wanted to create something to evoke the spirit of our city and instil hope for the future.”
Stratford’s Tom Patterson Theatre
Earlier this year, theatre-goers from around the world were eagerly anticipating the launch of Stratford’s new $100-million Tom Patterson Theatre.
The Festival cancelled the grand opening due to COVID-19 emergency measures, and the doors to the new theatre have remained closed.
But when Manning approached the Festival with a request to film a portion of her video in the unused theatre, she was met with open arms.
“We have been longing to throw open the doors to our new Tom Patterson Theatre, so to see it brought to glittering life with Dayna Manning’s music and Colton Curtis’s dance is an absolute thrill,” says Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the Stratford Festival.
Stratford dancer Colton Curtis
Manning’s vision for the video was inspired, in part, by Stratford’s premier dancer, Colton Curtis, (Billy Elliot 2019).
Referring to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Manning says, “When I started to visualize Colton in the video, I knew he could be my Puck.”
In the video, Curtis dances through Stratford’s iconic locations, providing a much welcome reminder of the community that opens their arms to visitors from across the globe each summer.
During these dark days, the sight of Curtis moving through the streets of Stratford with grace and brilliance is a much welcome ray of sunshine.
“It is a poignant reminder of what we have been missing during this pandemic and what we have to look forward to,” adds Cimolino.
Tipping his hat to Manning’s creative efforts, Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson said, “You, Dayna, are a true original, and your unwavering support for your hometown makes you one of the best ambassadors this city could ever have.”
Dayna Manning is a 100-kilometre artist
Manning, who calls herself a “100-kilometre artist”, explains that five years ago, after a career that received international acclaim, she decided to make more investments and creative collaborations in her community. She began focusing on telling localized stories and deepening connections with artists. “Sometimes artists have to dig deep to find beauty and sometimes it is just all around you.” Adds Manning, “Everyone needs to support an eco-friendly economy now and in the future. I believe in supporting the community I love, and I am lucky they support me in return.”
Support for Manning is evident in the new video, which contains cameos from an impressive cross-section of local talent, including actor Cynthia Dale & former CBC News Anchor Peter Mansbridge, actor Colm Feore & choreographer Donna Feore, international recording artist Loreena McKennitt and a plethora of other actors, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, and colourful characters that call Stratford home.
Each year the city derives approximately $135 million in annual economic activity during the Festival season, so the loss of this year’s season is significant. Lost revenue from parking meters alone is expected to cost the city approximately $1.7 million.
Enter to WIN
Watch “You You You” then name all the Stratford faces or groups that you know for a chance to WIN $100 in Stratford Downtown Dollars! Easy, right?!
CLICK the contest page for details.
For more information on the song “You You You” from the album “Morning Light” Visit Dayna Manning.com
“Morning Light” is also available on Spotify, but most artists prefer you get the music from their website whenever possible.