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Hootenanny and New West Theatre have summer fun with mythical creatures

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Summer means family fun in Galt Gardens with Hootenanny.

 The latest Hootenanny production “ Scout and the Rarest  Badge Ever” runs July 2-26 in the northwest corner of Galt Gardens across from the Park Place Mall.


Logan Hockley and Maddie McKee  are part of Hootenanny this summer. Photo by Richard Amery

Maddie McKee is enjoying working with puppets for her first show with Hootenanny and New West Theatre.


“I’ve always wanted to work with puppets. We have hand puppets and full body puppets,” said McKee who plays a variety of the  mythical creatures Scout is searching for.

“Scout is trying to earn his mythical creatures badge and meets a lot of mythical creatures. But he doesn't recognize them as mythical creatures because his mind is set on finding Bigfoot,” McKee said, adding he does find Bigfoot in the end.


“He expects to bring Bigfoot home with him but Bigfoot doesn't want to go. And Scout sees the value  of that,” McKee said.


Logan Hockley, who is also part of fledgling theatre company Experience Theatre, is excited to make his New West theatre debut with Hootenanny.

“ It’s an excellent opportunity for students new actors to get some experience to get some paid work as an actor,” Hockley said.

 He is enjoying playing the play’s protagonist Scout.


“Scout has finally discovers a badge he’s interested in getting when he discovers the  Mythical Creatures badge. He’s optimistic and definitely excited to complete his badge,” Hockley said.


Get ready to laugh with Shakespeare in the Park’s revisiting of Twelfth Night

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is revisiting Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night” this summer. 


A talented cast of University of Lethbridge students, recent graduate and community members open this summer’s run of Shakespeare’s gender bending comedy, on July 4 in Galt Gardens.

Emily Laidlaw and Rachel Robinson rehearse a scene from Twelfth Night. Photo by Richard Amery

 The local Shakespeare troupe, who are entering their thirteenth year performing Shakespeare in and Around Lethbridge will be in Galt Gardens most Thursdays at 7 p.m. and outside casa most Fridays., They will also be doing their usual road trips to the Empress Theatre on Friday, July 5, plus visits to the Coutts Arts centre outside of Nanton, July 21, The Venue in High River , Saturday, July 27 and will be performing one show at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens , Friday, Aug. 2 and in Legacy Park on Thursday, Aug. 1.


Sharon Peat, who is co-directing the show with Cole Fetting is excited to bring the comedy to the stage.

“I’ve been in the audience for years and thought their productions were wonderful. So when I retired, we had Covid, and then I got the itch to direct again,” Peat said, noting she is excited to work with Cole Fetting as co-director.

While Shakespeare in the Park has reinterpreted  previous Shakespeare productions into more modern eras, like  the  western version of a A Comedy of Errors or setting the Tempest in space or  Taming of the Shrew in the ’60s, Peat wanted to set “Twelfth Night” in a traditional Shakespeare setting.


 “I love traditional Shakespeare. There’s no cowboys or aliens in this  show. And I love that we have traditional costumes,”  she said.

“It’s about a young woman who  dresses as a man to get close to the Duke, the man she loves. And the gender confusion opens the door for shenanigans,” Peat summarized. Further comedy ensues when Maria, Dame Toby Blech, Fabian and timid Sir Andrew Agucheek played by  Shakespeare in the Park veteran Jeff Graham. aided and abetted by Feste the Fool played by Jessica Ng, play a trick on the pompous puritan Malvolio played by  U of L professor John Poulsen.


 The cast includes some familiar faces as well as some new ones.

 Emily Laidlaw is excited to explore her comedic side after playing some eclectic roles in her past two Shakespeare Performance Society shows. Her role in last year’s  production of  Taming of the Shrew was comedic, but Viola is the most comedic role she has played with the troupe.


“I always wanted to do Shakespeare and this was an excellent opportunity to do community theatre,” said Laidlaw, who plays Viola in “ A Twelfth Night.”

“Viola is in a shipwreck where she thinks her brother dies. She dresses up as a man to get close to Duke Orsino. She goes through a lot of internal processes in order to survive,” she said adding  this role is a contrast to her first role with The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society as Queen Gertrude— Hamlet’s mother.

“Gertrude has a lot of very serious qualities. She’s more sinister. Viola is a more comedic character. So it’s been great to play with that comedy,” Laidlaw said, adding she hopes audience will respond to Viola’s positivity.

“She’s a perfect character that embodies hope. And everybody needs hope,” she said.


 Producer Kate Connolly noted it is a happy coincidence that  the troupe is  revisiting A Twelfth Night 10 years after they performed the comedy the first time, so she was ecstatic when Sharon Peat and Cole Fetting brought the play to the board.

“ We put out a call for  directors and the board made a short list of five to examine,” she said.


Honkers festival, Street Wheelers and Weber Brothers among this week’s highlights

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This week is hot in more ways other than the just the weather.

Another busy week features a few big events and a whole lot of rock and roll.  Street Machine Weekend means hot rods and  muscle cars will be prowling the streets of Lethbridge.


 The show and shine begins with the controlled cruise, Friday, July 12 from  7 p.m.- midnight  along 3rd Ave South and Mayor Magrath Drive. Entry is open to clean and show worthy  cars and trucks and motorcycles. Though no diesel powered vehicles or semis will be permitted. Admission is $25.


The Old man River Rattlers headline Honkers fourth annual parking lot party on Saturday. Photo by Richard Amery

 If you want a beverage while watching the cars, The Ten Ten Pub has Bow City Underground rocking the patio  into the night, Friday from 8 to 11p.m..


 Races happen at Exhibition Park on Saturday and Street Machine Weekend ends at Galt Gardens, Sunday, July 14 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be live music happening there as well as plenty of awesome machines.

Honker’s Pub hosts the other big event of the week on Saturday, July 13 with the  fourth annual outdoor music fest and barbecue.


Luke Bruce opens the party at 3 p.m. followed by Citizen Radio, Undefined, The Time Bandits and Lunch Date at 7 p.m., Train Wreck, Sad Kids Under New Tyranny and new bluegrass/ string band The Oldman River Rattlers  closing the show at 10 p.m. Admission is  free with the donation of a non perishable  food item or cash donations to the Veteran Association of Lethbridge.


 Thursdays are a hot night for live entertainment downtown.


 Upside Downtown features country band Hurtin’ performing outside casa, Thursday, July 11 5-7 .p.m. outside casa.

 After that don’t miss the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society’s summer performance of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night Thursday and Friday.  Admission is free though donations will be taken. Because of the heat, the shows have been relocated to the casa community room. The Thursday show will  begin at 7:30 p.m.  to avoid competing with Hurting at Upside Downtown.


 Across the street, there is live music happening in Festival square from 6-8 p.m. James Moore plays this Thursday and Daylan Delaney returns to the square on July 18. 

 Also because of weather, The Lethbridge Community Band has rescheduled their Cancelled Canada Day show  to Nikki Yuki Japanese Gardens at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 13. Admission is free. 


Vanstones to bring bright sounds from the Yukon to Ribfest and the Slice

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Whitehorse based Indie rock band The Vanstones are excited to be making  their Lethbridge debut on Friday with two shows at Ribfest and the Slice, where they plan to share a new line up and new songs plus music from their debut album “Cascadia.”


“Much like lots of folks  from Whitehorse, not many people are actually from the Yukon. but we’re based in Whitehorse. I’m from Newfoundland originally and so ’s  Rob, actually, the drummer. I ended up here because my partner always wanted to live up north and I had an aunt that lived in Whitehorse, so we decided to go there  for a year. It’s been seven years now. It’s a really lovely place to live and once I landed here it was hard to imagine living,” said Vanstones lead singer Sarah Murphy along with drummer Rob Jones and bassist Hannah Mazurek will be playing two shows on Friday, June 28 including opening Western Canada Ribfest  at 5 p.m. at Exhibition Park and later on at the Slice with  fellow northerners Paris Pick and the Pricks and  B.C. indie folk musician Damian Albas.


 The band released their debut album Cascadia in 2023, but since then, two members left due to musical differences over the past month.

Vanstones play two Lethbridge shows on Friday, June 28. Photo submitted

“There’s been big changes in the band over the past month,” Murphy said.


“ Cascadia was actually recorded with the two original members that recently left. So it was me and two other people. Then following the recording of the album, Rob and Hannah joined the band. So if you draw the Venn diagram then I’m  in the person in the middle of the transition of the band, ” she said, wishing her former bandmates well their future musical endeavours.

“ I think being in a band is a complex thing.  Anyone who ’s played in a band will say that. So what it came down to is we started to go in a bit of a different creative direction and tried it for a while, but it just didn’t end up working  out. I think we’re a heading in a different a direction and I hope they’ll pursue the more folky   thing  or whatever it is they want to do moving forward,” she said, adding the album sounds a lot different when played as a trio.

 It’s definitely pretty different. And I’ll say that. And to be honest even  before the two folks left, it was already sounding different because we had gone from more of a folk oriented trio with lots of rock influences  but very much  folk instrumentation to  being like more of a whole  band sound. So a lot of the tunes with a drummer and a bass player already sounded rockier. The translation-wise we’ll still be playing a lot of the same tuners, but they’ll have am different flavour to them. The harmonies are still there a lot of the elements that brought a lot of energy to album are still there.  If you like the album, it’s  worth checking out tom se if you like the live show,” she continued.

 They have a busy ay,  ahead of them.


“ It’s super busy day, but when you’re so far away from home it’s great to get as many opportunities as you can. So we’re super grateful that both Ribfest and the Slice were cool with us doing both shows. Given how far away from home. We’re super exciting  to be playing Ribfest. It’s an awesome, awesome gig and hope to see a lot of people out there. And at the Slice were’ playing with a friend from the Yukon as well, Paris Pick and  the Picks and Damian Albas from Grand Forks, B.C. So really these folk are super high energy performers. So we’re excited to be playing with them,” she said.

 She said there is a thriving music and arts scene in Whitehorse, largely due to government support.


“There’s an awesome scene in Whitehorse. Some really , really good music in Whitehorse and there’s infrastructure supporting as well supporting music. There’s a new musicians fund that was put in place by the government a couple years ago and I’ve really noticed a lot of great music coming out of the Yukon because the resources are there to allow people to actually record it and get it out there in the world. The scene is small but  everyone is great. It’s such a tight knit scene. People are amazing here and the talent is unreal,” she said.


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