This spring, I had the honour of directing Pivot Theatre’s first production, My Blue Heaven. Written by Jane Chambers in 1981, it’s the story of Josie and Molly, a long-term lesbian couple who pick up stakes from New York City in 1975 and move to a decrepit old farm upstate. Josie is the eternal optimist, eager to create her own Green Acres, while Molly is miserable after losing her teaching job because she wrote a book called ‘Living the Good Gay Life’.
My Blue Heaven was the little show that could. We started out with a simple eight-show run at the Newton Cultural Centre in Surrey, and that was going to be it. But then to our surprise, the Fraser Valley Zone Festival came back to life after two years off, and they invited us to come play. We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to let our peers know about Pivot, so My Blue Heaven went to Festival. We even walked away with a couple of awards: Best Costumes for Margaret Shearman, and Best Sound Design for our actor Kevin Ibbotson, who personally provided all the animal and car sound effects while on stage. The adjudicator, Kathryn Shaw, also gave Pivot a certificate of recognition for our first outing.
But it doesn’t end there. After discussing it amongst cast and crew, Pivot decided to put My Blue Heaven forward for the draw that would send one additional show to the TheatreBC Mainstage festival in Vernon. To our shock, we won the wildcard slot, and we were off to the Okanagan for one last show. It was a unique experience, and for a few days we could completely be artists (temporarily putting aside our day jobs) and immerse ourselves in the experience. The show went off without a hitch – my couple of slightly-delayed calls aside – and we came home with another couple of awards: the Backstage Cooperation Award (for our incredibly efficient use of time during move in and tech), and the Best Ensemble Award.
My thanks go out to Kevin Ibbotson, Leaminn Ma, Beck-Marie, and Maddy Stenstrom for their incredible hard work and dedication to bringing this relatively unknown show to life not once, but three times. And especially to our producer and visionary, Margaret Shearman. I hope we did you proud!