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Owl Poetry open mic celebrating first anniversary

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 If you’re a poet and you know it, then show it at the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s monthly poetry open mic.
The group celebrates their  first anniversary on the Owl stage with  poems, trees and possibly cake and Shaw TV, July 24.

Cat Charissage and Teri Petz  have enjoyed hosting the Owl Poetry Open mic for the past year. Photo by Richard Amery
 While local poets have  bared their souls and worn their hearts on their sleeves for a year at the open mic, the roots of the group lie in co-organizer Cat Charissage’s living room, two years ago.
“ Teri was always the most enthusiastic about it,” Charissage said, adding she would hold a variety of special workshops in her home.
“At first, it was just a chance for people to share their love for poetry, it wasn’t  about original work at  at all,” she continued, adding one of of the few rules for the poetry open mic is that all works must be originals and performers  must keep to five minutes to allow everyone a chance to perform.

“ Though we haven’t had to use the hook on anybody yet,” she laughed.
“She had a poetry and story circle happening,” enthused co-organizer Teri Petz.
“So when that ended, I wanted to continue and we were looking for  another location. I went to the lady at the library and she suggest I talk to Steve at the Owl and he asked over the phone if we were interested in doing a poetry open mic every month,” said Petz, noting the event turned out to be more popular than she expected.
“ For the first one, we had four or five people we knew would perform, because we didn’t know how many people would show up. Now we have at least 20 people  performing, and we always have new people,” Petz continued.

The open mics draw poets from aged 8 to 85 and everywhere in between, including published poets and people who have never been in front on a microphone before.
“We have all of these different people talking about different things from young women talking about break ups. We have an 85-year-old man talking about losing his wife who had never been in front of a microphone before. And he was followed by a young man talking about blow jobs,” Charissage chucked, emphasizing the  open mics are a safe, non judgemental space.
“There’s no sneering. Everyone is open to listening,” she stressed, adding creating a supportive environment is essential.

“And we try to get everybody to applaud a little longer if someone has never been up before,” Petz added.
“Now we have close to 100 people and most weeks a re a full house or close to a full house,” she said,  adding  they have an active presence on Facebook and posters all over the community. Shaw TV has a regular spotlight feature on the poetry open mic.


Windy Castle Medieval Faire needs volunteers

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It is coming down to the wire for  the third annual Windy Castle Medieval Faire, coming up art their new location,  July 20 and 21.

Michelle Couper and Juanita DeVos are getting ready for the Windy Castle Medieval Faire, July  20 and 21. Photo by Richard Amery
 Co-organizeer Juanita DeVos   said they need  a lot of volunteers to help out during the Faire itself, but more importantly to prepare the site, at the corner of Highway 4 and Township Road 7-4, just 12 minutes south of Lethbridge. The location also appears through google maps.

“We’ve got Vikings coming and if you own a horse, you can even learn how to joust,” enthused DeVos, noting that workshop is extra , but everything else id included in the ticket price.

“ But we’re building a maze of palattes, so we need people to help build that,” she said.
There will be a lot of fun at the Faire including  Medieval Battle demos, jousting demos, storytellers, musicians, acrobats, arrow tag, axe throwing a mead and ale gardens, a medieval feast and much more.


Hootenanny will be afternoon fun for all ages

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A new theatre company hopes Hootenanny will be a hoot in  Galt Gardens for  the whole family all through July.

 “Hootenanny” began todKenya Gimson, Jon Zimmer and Erik Hohmann star in Hootenanny this month. Photo by Richard Ameryay, July 3 and runs  at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Wednesday through  Saturday all July.

“It‘s a free family play. We want it to be accessible to children, but we also want adults to be able to enjoy it too,” said said co creator and director  Nicola Elson, adding despite being  Hootenanny, it isn’t a show about cowboys, though the three clowns performing do improvise horseback riding on colourful suitcases.

“It’s about Ordinary Garry, Ordinary Mary and Ordinary Barry, who  think everything  that is different is bad until they are transported to a magical world where everything that is different is good,” summarized Elson.
“It’s a very visual and physical show,” she described.

 She  and Julia Wasilewski  built the show backwards.

“We found the props and costumes first and created a story around them. The story came after,” Elson said.

“Because when you’re performing outdoors, you can’t often hear the dialogue,” she continued, adding the visual aspect and the energy of actors and University of Lethbridge students Kenya Gimson, Jon Zimmer and Erik Hohmann is paramount in this show.


Shakespeare in the Park begins run of the Scottish play in Galt Gardens this week

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There will be villainy afoot, sword play, deception, superstition and treachery as Shakespeare in the Park celebrates their eighth year by presenting “ the Scottish play” this summer in Galt Gardens.
 “Macbeth” opens Thursday, July 4 and runs until Aug. 9 pretty much every Thursday and Friday in Galt Gardens except July 12 during Street Wheelers weekend when the local Shakespeare troupe hits the road for a performance at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, July 12. They also return to Nanton at the Coutts Centre, July 21, and, new for the troupe,  are in High River at Town Centre, July 27.Macbeth (DJ Gellatly) battles young Siward (Chelsey Fitzsimons) in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Macbeth, running July 4-Aug. 9 in Galt Gardens. photo by Richard Amery
“ That will be a busy week for us,” said producer Kate Connolly, who is delighted director Monique Danielle has set Macbeth will be set in the eleventh century.

“It’s a very traditional version. It is the period Shakespeare drew from to write the play and when the actual Lord Macbeth lived,” Connolly continued, noting it is a departure from forays into the future with last year’s interplanetary space themed Tempest and the recent past of A Comedy of Errors which was set in nineteenth century Alberta.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” she said the cast have undergone extensive fight training to ensure  fight, murder and  duels are as realistic looking as possible while also being safe  as possible .
“We are lucky to have two really talented fight choreographers Garrett Mallory Scott who choreographed all of the fights and he appointed Keith Miller as fight captain, who also plays MacDuff,” she said.

“ It’s set amongst the gloomy castles and haunted heaths of Scotland where Macbeth meets the three witches, It depicts the raw brutality of the age. It’s very exciting. But it’s appropriate for all ages. there’s blood and gore, but no adult language or suggestive scenes,” Connolly advised.

 She noted Shakespeare and  the Park has received generous assistance from a variety of sponsors including Young Insurance,  a Heart of the City Activity grant and Jaded Body Arts as well as  the Allied Arts Council.
The cast features some Shakespeare in the Park veterans as well and several newcomers playing some of Shakespeare’s most iconic roles.

 DJ Gellatly is excited to return to the fold as Macbeth. He has performed in three Shakespeare in the Park productions and directed two others.

He is honoured to play Macbeth.
“A lot of very talented men have played Macbeth, so it really is fun to step into those shoes. It really is an honour,” Gellatly said, noting Macbeth starts out an honourable man, but is seduced by power inspired by the three witches and slowly descends into violence and madness.
“It is very relatable the way Macbeth is seduced by power. Banquo starts out as his companion and friend, but Macbeth really goes to some really dark places inspired by that greed and desire for power,” GellatlDJ Gellatly plays Macbeth in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Macbeth, running July 4-Aug. 9 in Galt Gardens. photo by Richard Ameryy said.

“So it has been really interesting to go there,” he said.
“I hope the audience comes away from the show being entertained,” he said, adding he has been enjoying the sword fighting battles.

Director Monique Danielle returns home to Lethbridge from Toronto, where she has been studying and acting, to direct Macbeth.
 She is excited to set the play in the eleventh century.
“ The board wanted to do a traditional Shakespeare play and Macbeth has always been one of my favourite plays. So I just love that it is set in the eleventh century which is where Shakespeare drew his inspiration from. It’s just such a cool time period,” she said, adding she wanted to bring out the themes of masculinity and gender roles, parenthood and power in the play. She also wanted to explore the theme of  feminine power with Lady Macbeth and the three witches.
“Lady Macbeth is a powerful female character,  she questions Macbeth’s masculinity, but she gives up her femininity for more masculine traits to get power,” she said.
“So I wanted to explore some of those themes,” she said, adding the witches exemplify the female empowerment theme.
“ I was interested in their motivation. So I’ve turned them into Greek fates who are angry about being forgotten as  people were turning to worship God and Christianity, so I wanted to play with that idea of female rage,” Danielle said.

 The three witches are all new to Shakespeare in the Park.
 Megan Fennell, who plays Clotho (witch 2) said she was dared into auditioning by her friend.
“I’ve been trying to do things that scare me this year like petting a snake and singing karaoke for the first time. So my friend dared me to audition,” said Fennell, who is also a dancer, a Taiko drummer, a science fiction author and an artist who is also an artist.

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