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L.A. Beat

Hootenanny ready to have a hoot in July with The Junk Story

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This year‘s Hootenanny is making art out of junk for July.


The popular local devised theatre family production of Hootenanny returns to Galt Gardens all July beginning on Canada Day, then Saturday morning.


Ahona Sanyal and Quinn Larder star in Hootenanny’s The Junk Show in July. Photo by Richard Amery

 “The Junk Show” features Ahona Sanyal and Quinn Larder play Rusty and Dusty, two junk collectors who have some fun with rubbish, sorting junk into piles labelled “No Good” and “So Good,” but get lost in their imaginations playing with their finds.

“Rusty and Dusty are two junk collectors who make friends and learn that everyone and everything has value,” Sanyal summarized.


“We make puppets out of the junk, we go into medieval times, underwater and into space,” continued Sanyal, who is excited to be part of Hootenanny again. She was part of last year’s Hootenanny— “The Risky, Yet Rewarding Adventure of Pearl and Dot.” They had to take the year before that off because of Covid.


Director Nicola Elson, who also works at the University of Lethbridge, didn’t have as much time to dedicate to it due to the strike and Covid affecting operations at the university.


“Usually I like to devise a skeleton of a script and work off that, but I wasn’t able to do that this year, so this is truly devised theatre,” Elson said, adding they let the junk inspire the story.


“ They dialogue doesn’t really matter as much for theatre for young audiences. It’s more about physical acting and colour,” she said,  noting she visited an art junkyard called Bin Diver near Irricana , outside of Calgary and collected an array of items like bicycle wheels, old mops, motorcycle helmets, watering cans, clocks, fans and lamp shades to use.


Ahona Sanyal and Quinn Larder star in Hootenanny’s The Junk Show in July. Photo by Richard Amery

“ We’re going to build them birdhouses in exchange for  them,” she said.


“ They’re phenomenal, really great and super talented,” Elson enthused.


 The cast, stage manager and sound tech have been working on the production for six weeks.


Audiences got a preview of the 30-40 minute  long show at the Festival of lights as well as. on the Dragon Boat stage when the cast performed excerpts.


Hootenanny runs on Canada Day at 1:30 p.m. and 3 Henderson Lake Park, but officially opens on Saturday in Galt Gardens near the fountain, wherever there’s shade.


 It will run Wednesday Through Saturday  until the end of July. If it rains, they will be in Casa which is allowing them to store their “junk” for July.


They have several sponsors  including Heart of the City, City of Lethbridge, Bin Diver, StreatSide Eateries, Institute for youth and Child studies and New West Theatre, which allow them to pay their cast and crew a wage

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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