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French Canadian centre opens today

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The brand spanking new French Canadian Cultural Centre is tres magnifique according to organizers who  have been working on the project for years and look forward to giving a permanent home to all of the French language and cultural organizations in the city.
“It’s a service that we offer to the Albertan community,” said Kate Gilbert, ACFA Régionale de Lethbridge/ Medicine Hat  Directrice générale.
 The new two floor facility, located at 2104 6 Avenue South, next to École La Verendrye, which officially opens March 11, offers a huge new theatre with hardwood floors, a full service bar, a library, massive kitchen, computer room a darkroom for film developing, a cafeteria and a lot more.

Kate Gilbert ACFA Régionale de Lethbridge/ Medicine Hat  Directrice générale in the new centre opening today. Photo by Richard Amery
“We’re here to preserve our language. But you don’t need to speak French here,” Gilbert continued adding  movie features will be subtitled. They will also be offering a variety of classes in  the French language, photography, pottery and a lot more.

They will also celebrate holidays and events like Valentines Day and more French holidays like Saint- Jean-Baptiste Day. And a connection with Chinook Libraries will help fill their shelves with French books.

 While the organization has been in Lethbridge since 1979  on Sixth Street. downtown across from the Lethbridge Herald, they have never had a space like this for their 200 members.

“Not a lot of people knew we were over there. But this location  gives us more visibility, right on the corner,” Gilbert enthused.


[title of show] imitates life for Theatre Xtra actors

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Theatre XTra is breaking new ground for their last production of the season as  [title of show], which runs March 3-5 at the David Spinks Erica  Barr, Devon Brayne, Jerrim Rushka and Jocelyn Haub. Photo By Richard AmeryTheatre, will be  their first ever musical.
The show also is a fine example of life imitating art as it is about  a group of friends who decide to write and produce their own musical  and get it on Broadway.

“It really is exciting. because I feel musical theatre is a big part of  the business that we’re all getting  into, because it is more common,” said director Kyle Schulte adding it has been challenging to put on a musical with a budget of $50.
“And I’ve always been a big fan of musical theatre,” he said adding  he first discovered the music  (written  by Jeff Bowen) and was impressed enough to search further for the  Hunter Bell book so he pitched the idea to Theatre Xtra’s board, Derek Stevenson and Lindie Last.

“It’s about two guys who write a musical about two guys writing about a musical and want to produce it on Broadway. I know it’s the type of thing I’ll be facing when I graduate,” he continued adding  learning  not only lines, but the music, lyrics and dance choreography has made it a lot more work.


Check out Chekhov’s “the Seagull” to explore life in the arts

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Anton Chekhov may have written in the 1800’s, but his themes are timeless, so Richard Epp is looking forward to directing Chekhov’s 1895’s play “ The Seagull” in the David Spinks Theatre, Feb. 15-19.Getting ready for the Seagull. Photo by Richard Amery
“I’ve  directed the other three major Chekhov plays that are still performed ( Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and the Cherry Orchard,) so now, with ‘The Seagull’ it  will be my fourth and all of them,” said Epp who also plays the supporting role of Dr. Dorn.

“I have had a special interest in Chekhov’s works ever since I played  Uncle Vanya. He has a way of putting real life characters on stage so it feels like you are watching real life . It’s absolute genius,” Epp said, noting the 12 member cast features a  variety of both students and University of Lethbridge faculty members and  alumni  to properly convey the age difference between the characters.

“ In Chekhov’s plays  there is generally a large age difference. Because you have younger characters who are learning from the older characters, having actors (of a wide range of ages) is almost a necessity. You really get a sense of the age difference here, ” he continued.

The Seagull explores the complex relationships and conflicts of an eccentric collection of characters visiting a sprawling country estate. Early on, it is apparent that playwright Konstantin loves his mother Irina, but is jealous of her fame as an actress and depressed about his own lack of success. He is also furious with the celebrated young writer, Trigorin, who is living with Irina and seems to have captured the attention of Nina, the girl he adores. From the moment Konstantin’s play is presented to family and friends, everything begins to go wrong.

“It’s a play about writers and ambition and a life in the arts,” Epp summarized adding that is one of the timeless themes in the play. It also allows him to work with former colleague Dr. Brian Tyson again in a Chekhov play.
“He used to write reviews for the Herald and he’s a retired  University of Lethbridge professor. And I worked with him in ‘the Cherry Orchard.’ So it’s great to have him in the cast,” Epp continued.
“I play Dr.  Dorn. It’s a supporting role, a character who looks after the old man, played by Dr. Brian Tyson,” Epp added, noting it has been an interesting experience  to both act and perform in the play.


Many characters played by one actor in Confessions of a Paperboy

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How do you keep track of 14 different characters inside your head? Just ask actor Adam Beauchesne, who does just that in New West Adam Beauchesne plays many characters in Confessions of A Paperboy. photo by Richard AmeryTheatre’s  presentation of Calgary playwright Doug Curtis’ one man show “Confessions of a Paperboy,” March 3-12 at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

“The biggest challenge is differentiating between them all,” Beauchesne said adding  there are a lot of times the characters have conversations with each other, so he must remain conscious of that. He has been rehearsing the play for two weeks, which is a lot to put into  a short period of time.

“Because there is  a 60-year old war vet who is a lot of fun to play and a distraught housewife  and a couple more female characters, but the  most fun to play is Chris, the 10-year-old narrator. That is challenging because I’m 24 and have to think back to what it was like to be 10.  And it is a fun to play a really smart 10-year-old,” said Beauchesne, who is earned his BFA  at the University of Lethbridge and performed in  the Kiwanis  Music and Arts Festival for 10 years. He now lives in Vancouver where is has appeared in television shows like Fringe  on Fox and an upcoming film.

“We’re excited he could come back home for this show,” said director Nicholas Hanson.

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