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L.A. Beat

Creature Theatre explores creatures of the sky and night at Galt Gardens

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What’s the smartest bird in the forest? Is the the owl? Don’t be a wise acre. That’s not even close. It is the members of the corvid family — crows and ravens.

Bat (Chelsey Huber) discusses plans with Moth ( Jen Buit) during Creature Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery You can learn that and more interesting nature facts from Creature Theatre.

For the past 10 years the Helen Schuler Nature Centre staff and volunteers have been educating and entertaining  at Galt Garden’s every Thursday from 7-8 p.m.

“Creature Theatre is interactive and interpretive theatre. And it’s outdoors, which is unique for Lethbridge,” said Coreen Putman, Helen Schuler  Nature Centre  co-ordinator, who almost always brings her two children to Galt Gardens every Thursday during the summer.

This summer they are alternating between two shows, “Bird Brain,”  which takes place this week (Aug. 13) , examines which of the birds are the smartest of all through drama, costumes, action and a lot of humour, and  “Night Creatures,” which revamps a production they did in the first year,  examines Skunk’s plan to become ruler of the night over the Owl, with help of her friends, Moth, Cicada and Porcupine.

“It’s outdoor theatre designed for audiences with children. And the shows are all different as the audience participates,” Putnam continued adding some of the audience members come up on stage to play a part as the others participate by adding sound effects like wind blowing or by making animal noises.


“Response had been fantastic. We’ve been getting between 80-100 people a night. It’s a wonderful evening to spend outdoors.
“It’s kind of a form of edutainment. By attending theatre productions,  people will learn things. It’s an entertaining way to learn,” she continued.

Helen Schuler Nature Centre staff writes all the scripts and create the costumes with the help of dedicated volunteers.

“These productions are geared towards audiences with children. Adults find it quite funny because of the pop culture references and  kids love the physical comedy and singing, ” she said.

“It promotes  greater appreciation for nature and the environment as well as a greater appreciation for Theatre and the arts,” Porcupine ( Becky Little) argues with Skunk (Chelsey Huber) as moth (Jen Buit) looks on. Photo by Richard Ameryshe said adding fostering an interest in theatre at a young age will contribute to a greater interest in the arts when they grow up.

Putnam said the staff have written between 15-20 shows.

“It’s  a wonderful way to spend an evening outdoors. What better way to spend a summer evening,” Putnam enthused adding the shows offer something for everyone.
“It’s a way to engage a different audience,” she said.
The last Creature Theatre presentation of the season is Aug. 26.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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