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HomeArtsDurham Region non-profit DreamCo enriches community life through theatre and music

Durham Region non-profit DreamCo enriches community life through theatre and music

In the Durham Region, a non-profit entity, Durham Region Entertainment and Music (DreamCo) is making significant strides in enhancing community life through theatre and music.

This organization is not merely presenting performances; it is on a mission to enrich the local culture and provide a deeper sense of community engagement through the arts.

At the helm of DreamCo is Phillip Nero, a man with an extensive history in theatre. As a young man living in Markham, he was confident in his dancing abilities and actively participated in plays and musicals during high school.

man stands turning his head to the right looking at the camera while wearing a black shirt and behind a red background.
Phil Nero stands and looks back at the camera posing for a headshot for his profile on Our Theatre Choice. Photo credit: David Walker

Although Nero was deeply involved in theatre and dancing in high school, he initially planned to become a chef and study culinary arts in Europe after graduating in 1993. However, a moment of reflection occurred when he was doing laundry and picked up his dance pants.

He reminisced about his theatre experiences and realized, “I’m not ready to put these away forever.” He pursued his artistic passions instead, enrolling in a performing arts program at Sheridan College in 1995.

Things, did not always go as planned, in 2008 during the housing market crash, Nero became a massage therapist. His work connected him with talented actors and dancers and improved his networking.

Nero then met his wife, got married, and bought Metro movement. Metro Movement, a Toronto-based dance studio and massage therapy clinic, provided Nero with valuable contacts, experience, and resources that proved instrumental for his work at DreamCo.

With all of these new assets and connections, Nero started DreamCo in 2022 in order to be a professional theatre organization producing Broadway level productions for the region of Durham.

Man stands Infront of a large auditorium with a smile showing how large the theatre is.
November 21 2022, Phil Nero smiles Infront of the Markham stage he performed at as a young actor and dancer returning after 31 years.

In 2022, DreamCo’s first big project was a production called Song of Hope a benefit performance for the people of Ukraine. Nero said that they raised $10 thousand for medical supplies for the people of Ukraine and refugees.

DreamCo also hosts an annual pantomime show, giving children the opportunity to act and experience performing arts.

Justin Büyüközer, a local actor, director, and choreographer in the Durham Region, emphasizes the significance of theatre, especially during the pandemic.

“The world needs art,” he says. “When everything shut down, no professional content was being developed, yet people continued to create because we needed it.”

Nero said arts and culture isn’t just for show. It’s an important part of the economy.

“For every $1 spent at the theatre there is $8 spent in the community, through parking, through shopping through restaurants, so having a vibrant theatre community is essential to having a vibrant commerce and economy, too.”