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New West Theatre explores different venues and ideas for new season

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In part due to the ongoing renovations of the Yates Theatre New West Theatre is on the road— all over the city of Lethbridge for their upcoming season.


“We’re doing seven shows in six different venues,” summarized New West Theatre artistic director Sharon Peat.
“It‘s been a challenge, but it has been a fun challenge.”

Sharon Peat is excited about New West Theatre’s new season. Photo by Richard Amery
It is one of several changes for the season which include more shows, but shorter runs for some of them.


 The local semi-professional theatre company is not only playing in new venues, but is also giving long time cast members their first opportunities to direct a New West production. Also, due to the renovations after the Summer production of Barndance, Aug. 26, tickets will be sold at the Dr. Penny Foster building downtown as well as at the Enmax Ticket Centre.


“It’s so exciting. It’s like a magical journey,” Peat enthused.
“The fun part is getting to explore different parts of the city,” she continued.


The first show of the season features all Canadian music.
“Homegrown celebrates Canada 150 by focusing on Canadian music,” Peat said, adding New West is taking advantage of the opportunity to celebrate literally homegrown talent from Lethbridge.

The first show of the season, directed by Peat, “Homegrown” running July 5-22. It celebrates Canadian music, and as a pleasant surprise, the cast will be joined by local musicians with John Wort Hannam performing with the cast  for the first week, Jason Poulsen, who often performs with with New West, joining them for the second week and  local country musician Trevor Panczak performing the third week.
“The guests will be performing with the cast in group numbers and will be performing duets with individual cast members and they’ll do an original song so we can see the kind of talent that is home grown,” said Peat, adding they won’t be dancing with the cast.


“We’re not doing that to them,“ she laughed,noting that run will be slightly shorter each week, running from Wednesday -Saturday, as they will be using the Tuesday to rehearse with the guest artists.
 The second summer show , Barn Dance, directed by Jay Whitehead, runs  Aug 8-26.
“It is more modern country that you hear on the radio. Jay is giving it a kind of CMT feel,” she said.


Jay Whitehead is on stage for the first Canadian play of the season, Morris Panych’s comedy Vigil, Nov. 15-25 and New West Theatre veteran Kathy Zaborsky makes her directorial debut with the company.
“It’s a collaboration with Theatre Outre,” said Peat, noting “Vigil” also marks the first play in a new venue- the Trianon Ballroom, downtown, across from Galt Gardens and down the street from the Park Place Mall.

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Young artists SOAR with information and entertainment for SOAR Festival 3

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Young artists  have an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and show off their own during the third annual SOAR  Emerging Artists Festival, May 31-June 4.Muffy Mckay is excited about SOAR 3, May 31-June 4 at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery
Casa hosts a busy week of art, symposiums and local talent during the annual festival.
“ It will be so amazing,” summarized Allied Arts Council communications coordinator Kelaine Devine, who looks forward to the variety of events happening throughout the SOAR Festival.


SOAR 2017 opens with the first of three cabaret nights at Casa, May 31. Featured acts are Lethbridge circus act Gymfinity Aerials, plus short plays “My Daughter‘s Father” by Sydney Murdoch and “Severance Pay” by  Griffin Cook and Ben Price Magic.
Cabaret night 2, June 1, includes “My Daughter’s Father” by Sydney Murdoch “Follow me on Instagram” by Kristen Krein and “Come Home” from Moot Entertainment.
Cabaret 3, June 2, features Hannah Rud’s “ Awkward Girl” and Newman Mentalism performing “Letters to West 113th.”


SOAR passes are $50 which includes admission to all three of the cabarets and the symposiums June 3 and 4. Otherwise admission is $10 for each cabaret night.
 Admission to the seminars and to the cabarets is open to everybody, though participation is the cabarets is restricted to young artists 18-34.


 Project and Member Services director Muffy McKay noted different symposiums won’t conflict with each other this year.


“There’s no conflict. You will be able to attend all of them if you want to for $25,“ she said, noting there are a variety of symposiums on the nuts and bolts of making a living in entertainment, covering topics like taxes, applying for grants and other interesting topics.
 There are also a lot of fun symposiums including Nick Bohle’s seminar on preparing for interviews in front of video cameras.

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Windy Castle Medieval Faire needs a “Kickstart” in the right direction

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The Windy Castle Medieval Faire is looking for some community support via a Kickstarter Campaign running May 1-15.


“We‘re only looking for $4,500 because we need to put the down payment on the jousters and  the caterers, so the community are voting with their dollars about how much the audience wants to see,” said co-organizer Junanita DeVoJuanita Devos is wating for you catll to donate to the Windy Castle Medieval Faire Kickstarter fund. Photo by Richard Amerys.
 The event takes place at the Coyote Flats Pioneer Village outside of Picture Butte, July 29-30 featuring a replica of a medieval village.


 There will be a variety of events including a hay bale maze, a Medieval feast, puzzles, costumes,  games, bouncy castles and an “eventful ” wagon ride into the coulee and plenty of other activities.
“There’s going to be puzzle questions and things to test your mind. there will be something for everyone,” she said.


“We’re even going to have a unicorn,” she enthused.
 The Kickstarter campaign raised $500 in the first three days of the campaign. There are several levels of a support mostly named after various aspects of wind such as Tsunami, Flurry, Zephyr, Whirlwind and Typhoon.
 Any pledge over five dollars gets your name on a banner to be displayed in the feast hall.

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Trailer Park fun comes back to Lethbridge with Randy and Mr.Lahey

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     John Dunsworth, who is often known for playing perpetually drunk trailer park  manger Mr. Lahey on the Trailer Park boys is excited to bring his sidekick Randy (Pat Roach)  back to Lethbridge to perform at Soundgarden, May 6.

Randy and Mr. lahey return to Lethbridge this weekend. photo submitted
“We just finished season 11 of the Trailer Park Boys on Netflix and starting Season 12. But I never know what I’m doing on the show until about a week before we film it. The boys are always writing and reading and rewriting and writing and sometimes they just throw it out,” Dunsworth said.


“I’m always impressed by how far they have managed to stretch the concept. I’ve always considered it was due to them being geniuses,” he said.
He noted he has been performing a lot of shows with Randy in the United States where The Trailer Park Boys is very popular.


“We played 100 shows last year, most of them in the U.S. I’ve been going through  paperwork from the tour, like hotel and meal receipts, but among that is a lot of paper from fans saying how much the Trailer Park Boys mean to them,“ he said.
 While he is known for playing  a drunk on stage, Dunsworth said he doesn’t drink.


“I’ll get people coming up to me saying ‘I can drink you under the table  Mr. Lahey.’ and when I tell them I don’t drink they’re disappointed.  Like ‘oh no, image shattered.’ But I always tell people it‘s more fun pretending to be drunk than it is to be drunk,” he said, adding he worked with Trailer Park Boys  creator Mike Clattenburg to create the character.

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