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Michael C. Duguay Details Grand Theatre Residency

Michael C. Duguay Details Grand Theatre Residency

Since the start of the pandemic, the doors of The Grand Theatre in Kingston have been closed and its red seats empty. For over a year the Regina Rosen Auditorium has sat silently on Princess Street, but music and performance return to the theatre in a new form this week with the start of the inaugural Local Arts Residency program, lead by singer-songwriter Michael C. Duguay.

“When I go in there on Monday, I’ll be the first person to make music there in a year and a half,” Duguay explained over Zoom from his home. “I’ll be the first person to play that piano in over a year and a half, to be able to fill that space with sound.”

I’ll be the first person to play that piano in over a year and a half, to be able to fill that space with sound.

Duguay is the first of four artists to take on a residency at the theatre, followed by multi-disciplinary artist Francisco Corbett, aerial circus artist Erin Ball, and musician Spencer Evans. Given the range of creative disciplines among the four artists, the program is intended to be open-ended, allowing them to use the theatre space and amenities to engage in their creative process as they please. This could also include assistance from The Grand’s technicians, as well as promotion and production support to provide a performance, recording, or presentation.

Michael C. Duguay and his band.
Photo: Ming Wu

Over his five-day residency, Duguay plans to use the space in a number of ways, including sampling the sounds of the venue itself for future recordings and continuing a project he started during the pandemic writing songs about every place he’s lived.

As the provincial economy begins its slow reopening, the City of Kingston hopes the Local Arts Residency program will help support artist development in response to the impact of COVID-19, specifically spotlighting local artists that may not typically perform at The Grand. After living and performing in Kingston over the last five years, Duguay is pleased to have been selected for this pilot project.

“The validation of being recognized by the city that I’ve been working in means a lot to me right now,” said Duguay. “I really appreciate that they’re putting trust in me as their inaugural artist in this placement, in this residency. That they’ve chosen somebody who’s work can be more experimental, a little more avant-garde conceptually, and to trust that I’ll still represent what their vision for that residency is.”

The validation of being recognized by the city that I’ve been working in means a lot to me right now. I really appreciate that they’re putting trust in me as their inaugural artist in this placement, in this residency.

As new programs to support Kingston artists are developed, Duguay also hopes this will be the start of a continued effort in re-evaluating the city’s role in hosting local artists and making local venues more accessible.

“I appreciate that they are now openly articulating that they don’t know exactly what local artists need and they want to work one-on-one with local artists to better understand that, and to continue to nurture those relationships, and to develop into the city that it really would like to be and absolutely can be,” said Duguay.

You can follow Duguay’s residency from July 12 to 16, 2021 on Instagram, and stream his latest release The Winter of Our Discotheque (Reprise) on Bandcamp.

Feature photo: Dave Rideout
Pete Sanfilippo

Pete Sanfilippo

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Pete Sanfilippo is a native Kingstonian and founding member of Kingston Live, a volunteer-run organization dedicated to exposing and elevating the many local artists, live music venues and experiences that make our city Canada’s First Capital of Music. Pete’s commentary can occasionally also be heard on the Kingston Live podcast, available on most audio podcast and streaming platforms.

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