Music and theatre provide an environment where, through collaboration, we are encouraged to celebrate diversity, promote dialogue, and welcome positive change.
In 2016, Patrick McKenna, a community theatre enthusiast and actor based in Comox, had an idea. He wanted to establish a local adult-based musical theatre company to offer a mature, rather than family-based, experience.
McKenna rounded up friends and some of his Habitat for Humanity colleagues, formed a board of directors, and Three Legged Dog Productions Society (commonly shortened to 3LDP) was born.
Pat and the board had a clear mission in mind: “to produce high-quality, thought-provoking theatrical and musical entertainment in our community and to foster a deeper collaborative engagement in the arts with both our patrons and volunteers.”
This mission helped unite a group of individuals with various talents and volunteerism at the heart of their involvement. 3LDP is lucky to have had a strong group of collaborators consistently involved since the beginning, as well as many newcomers joining over the years.
Local performers and crew came out in large numbers to audition for 3LDP’s first musical, Guys and Dolls. This timeless, playful production was warmly received by Comox Valley audiences in the spring of 2017. 3LDP followed this up with Once Upon a Mattress, Jesus Christ Superstar, a Filberg summer series, and, most recently,
The Rocky Horror Show.
As anyone participating in live entertainment knows, these last few years have proven extraordinarily challenging. Three Legged Dog Productions’ Mamma Mia! was set to take stage in March of 2020 and again in spring of 2021: both productions were overshadowed, postponed, and eventually cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.
But 3LDP is forging ahead, stronger and more resilient than ever. This past fall, The Rocky Horror Show was a sold-out, roaring success!
Erin Foster, longtime friend but newcomer to the 3LDP stage, portrayed Columbia in The Rocky Horror Show. She appreciates that the group takes risks: “That’s what live theatre is all about. They don’t play it safe with overly done musicals. They push the boundaries.”
Another performer, Melanie Bagley, reflects on her experiences with Three Legged Dog, “Theatre allows not only the people involved in it to express themselves but also frees the audience to find emotions lying deep within them and gives them a safe space for expression.”
I agree with Melanie on this. Personally, I am a lover of stories that make me laugh, bring me to tears, open my mind, and broaden my whole perspective. These are the stories I want to tell, the theatre experience I want to create and share.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of being a 3LDP performer, active board member, and, since spring 2021, the society’s president. In spring 2023, I’ll take on my first local producing role with 3LDP’s Into the Woods, which hits the Sid Williams stage in March.
It is our job as artists to seek out empathy, hope, and love. Theatre is a unique human experience which allows us to hold up a mirror and examine both ourselves and society. Three Legged Dog Productions is committed to safeguarding the future of arts and culture in the Comox Valley, an effort I am grateful to be a part of.
It’s more than lofty ideals, though—we enjoy this work. As Melanie reflects, “This is the second show I’ve been in with 3LDP. Once again, their directors, crew, and cast proved to be supportive, talented, and so much fun to work with. We work really hard, learn a lot, and share laughter.”
There is absolute treasure in the arts community: it’s what always pulls me back. If we want to live in a society where belonging isn’t a question and diversity is championed—here lies the key. My friend Melanie mentioned that theatre holds a safe space for expression. Perhaps that is the treasure that lies in artistic collaboration. It is a safe space for expression, to free oneself: a soft place to land.
Three Legged Dog Productions’ cast and artistic team are preparing to wow audiences with Into the Woods at the Sid Williams Theatre from March 15 to 18, 2023.