Boa hired as Blyth Festival's director of marketing - Nov. 30, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Long-time Huron County resident Heather Boa has been chosen as the Blyth Festival’s new Director of Marketing, replacing the departing John McHenry.
Boa brings to the organization decades of work experience throughout the county and a love of the Festival that reaches back 25 years.
McHenry recently announced he was leaving the Festival to take the position of Artistic Director at the Sudbury Theatre Company. He will be staying on at the Blyth Festival, where he has been since 2013, until the end of the year.
Once it was clear McHenry would be leaving Blyth, Boa said that Artistic Director Gil Garratt and General Manager Rachael King invited her to coffee in Blyth. Boa had just interviewed for a job in Toronto she wasn’t very keen to take, so the Blyth Festival opportunity came along at the perfect time.
For decades Boa has been making contacts and establishing connections in Huron County. She wasn’t in a hurry to move to Toronto and turn her back on all of that, not to mention that Huron County is home to many of her friends and family.
“I came out of that meeting very energized,” Boa said.
When Garratt and King offered Boa the job, she said she was thrilled. Not only would she be able to stay in Huron County, but she would work for one of the community’s great organizations in the Blyth Festival.
So much of what’s going on in Blyth, whether it be Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company or Blyth 14/19, she said, begins and ends with discussion about the Blyth Festival.
Not only is it clear that the Festival is one of the major economic drivers in Huron County, she said, but it’s a jewel in the crown of Canadian theatre.
“I’ve always said this is my favourite theatre,” Boa said, adding that she has been attending and writing about theatres across the province for over 25 years.
The Festival, she said, always produces important plays and approaches crucial and timely topics in an honest manner.
While she has been in the Blyth Festival audience at Memorial Hall on and off for a quarter-century, Boa said her favourite recent play at the Festival was Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning, because of how rooted in its home community it was.
“I liked that it was a Huron County story and that Matthew’s parents had input,” she said.
Furthermore, Boa said that she feels Garratt has really tapped into the Huron County audience. She’s particularly looking forward to the 2018 season and Wing Night at The Boot, which she feels is destined to be another great Huron County story.
While Boa has been familiar with the Festival for years, it was when she worked in communications for Blyth 14/19 that she really grew to know and understand the Blyth community. Working with the organization, she met many of the “major players” in the Blyth community, which she feels was a great precursor to now being with the Festival.
Going forward, Boa said her job is to fill Memorial Hall every night.
Garratt has programmed some great plays, as the Festival has been doing for years, so now it’s up to her to bring people to Blyth and into the theatre every night of the summer.
A graduate of Toronto’s Ryerson University and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Boa has worked for a number of Huron County news organizations over the years, even spending some time with the Sarnia Observer.
Locally, she has worked with Blyth 14/19, the Ontario Travel Divas, the Huron County Chef League and the Huron Chamber of Commerce, based in Goderich.
Her time with the Blyth Festival begins on Dec. 11. She will have a few weeks to work with McHenry before he moves to Sudbury in the new year.
For more information on the Festival, visit blythfestival.com.