Playwrights know full well that even though their idea starts with staring at a blank page or screen, it takes the combined efforts of a lot of people and talents to bring it to the stage. Everyone – from the office staff, the fundraisers, the backstage crew, the stage management, the lighting designer, properties and costumer, to the ushers and custodians – contributes, right down to all those people whose names are on the program that barely anyone sees except for the occasional parent who will look for the name even if they have to use a magnifying glass.
People working in and supporting the arts are underpaid at the best of times, but these last few years have been even more difficult. As a small gesture of gratitude for the hard work over the years of all those behind the curtain, PGC members across Canada have used their windowsills and the power of the sun to start Heirloom tomato seedlings in the last frigid months of winter. Each window ledge gardener planted at least 50 Heirloom tomato seeds, ranging from Amish Paste, Charbonnier de Berry, and Eva Purple to the Peach and Watermelon Beefsteak. All in, there were twenty-seven varieties. Around the May long weekend, playwrights delivered tomato plants to theatres across Canada as a thank you for keeping Canadian stories alive, not only now, but for the past fifty years. Playwrights have sent us photos of their deliveries and more will come. Some writers have said they will surprise and thank theatre workers with a Fall harvest bounty. We all have to eat. Check out some of the photos below. We hope to see pictures of the harvest in the coming months.
Watch this VIDEO of Jeremy Webb from Neptune Theatre receiving tomato plants from PGC.
The idea, and the seeds, came from veteran playwright, Larry Zacharko, who joined the Playwrights Guild of Canada back when it was a Co-op. For decades, he’s taught students the joy and magic of theatre, as well as the joy and magic of taking a tiny seed, putting it in soil, giving it water and sunshine, and watching it grow and feed communities; much like a playwright’s idea germinating into words and movement that fill stages. In these confusing times, there is an urgent need for Canadian theatre and Canadian gardens, and this year Playwrights Guild of Canada is contributing to both.
Larry Zacharko’s love of gardening and giving back to the community became the inspiration for the book “What Grew in Larry’s Garden” created by Laura Alary and Kass Reich. Learn more about the book in this CBC feature HERE.
Want to plant your own seeds? Larry offers his tips for planting, transplanting and saving seeds in this charming video HERE.
Know any delicious tomato recipes? Please share them with us by sending photos, videos, or written messages to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our A Pinch of Creativity Series: the Tomato Edition!