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New West Theatre cautiously announces first part of new season

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New West Theatre is proceeding with caution due to Covid, so they have only announced two new  shows in their upcoming season.

 

“We’re still proceeding with caution,” said New West theatre artistic director Kelly Reay, who is excited to be back in the Yates Theatre.

 

New West Theatre has announced some of their new season. Photo by Richard Amery

He noted the Yates and Sterndale Bennett Theatre are both part of the vaccine exemption program, so patrons will have to show proof of vaccination, medical proof of exemption or a negative Covid test and wear masks while enjoying the show.

 

“ But we’re still optimistic. So we’re only releasing the schedule a piece at a time,” Reay continued, noting with so much negativity in the air, it is all the more important to spread joy and positivity.

 

 The first big show will be “Ode To Joy,” another of New West Theatre’s much enjoyed comedy-music revues. It will run in the Yates Theatre from Dec. 15-31.

 

“It will star the usual cast of characters performing new and old favourites,” he continued.

 

“Given the way the world is today, we really feel like our duty is to bring joy and laughter to people. Live performances bring people together. We want to provide a little bit of levity,” he said, adding they will announce more shows as things hopefully improve.

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University of Lethbridge ready to bring the laughs with Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors

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The past couple years have been scary and depressing, so the time is right for some laughter.Quinn Larder is part of Dracula: A Comedy of terrors, oct. 5-9 in University Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery

 

The University of Lethbridge will provide those much need laughs as they get into the Halloween spirit a few weeks early with Dracula : A Comedy of Terrors, running in University Theatre, Oct. 5-9.

The one act play, penned by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen is a comedic take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

 

“It’s very meta,” described Quinn Larder, who plays Dracula and actor number 4.

 The show is set up like a radio play featuring five actors, two folio/ sound effects performers and pianist/ composer Kathy Zaborsky, who also double as part of the cast. All of the actors play multiple characters.

 

“ The source material is Dracula, but it’s very funny. The actors know it’s a show,” Larder continued.

“We’re a theatre troupe hoping to put on  a production of Dracula,” added  Lilliana Gaggero, who plays Lucy, Driver and one of the actors.

“It’s been exciting watching everything come together with the music, folio and actors. There’s lots of physical comedy,” she continued, adding she has enjoyed playing three different characters in the play.

 

“They all have different characteristics, physical attributes and accents to tell them apart. The driver is all hunched over from driving all day.  It’s been a really fun exercise” she said.

 

Larder is excited to be part of Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors.

“We did Dracula in high school. But it was more serious and I was too shy to audition. So I’m excited to be on stage in a comedy,” laughed Larder, a fourth year student who has been in several  University of Lethbridge productions.

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Theatre Outré's new play explores love amidst chaos of Toronto bath house raids

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Theatré Outré returns to the stage with a harrowing new play penned by local playwright and performer Jay Whitehead, Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

 

“333 is an exciting new play by Jay Whitehead,” said director Kathy Zaborsky, who is also composing the soundscape for the one act play.

 

“It’s a fictional love story set amongst the bathhouse raids in Toronto in 1981,” she continued.

 

Garry Williams performs a scene in 333, Theatre Outré's new play. Photo by Richard Amery

 The play stars Andres Moreno from Edmonton, Halifax actor Garry Williams and Calgary resident and U of L graduate John Tasker.

 

“It’s the collision of a young man trying to find himself amidst the chaos and destruction of the bath house riots. It was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history and the birth of the Pride movement in Canada,” Zaborsky summarized.

 

“Veteran performer Garry Williams plays Rue-Barb Crumble, an aging queen who finds herself caught up in the raid,” according to a Theatre Outre press release about the play. Wiliams is co-founder of Da PoPo Theatre and a frequent collaborator with Theatre Outré.

 

“ Rue's story bridges the gap between the earliest gay rights movements and a much broader and sophisticated kind of queer activism we see today,” Williams says in the press release.

 

 The cast and crew have been rehearsing and workshopping the play since Sept. 12  and fine tuned th eplay with Calgary dramaturge Jennifer Taylor.

 

 

“She helped structure the play and checked the historical references and helped it’s dialogue,” Zaborsky said, adding she was familiar with the bath house riots before she started working on the production.

 

“I was just a child then. It’s been great to work  with everybody in this raw and personal journey,” she said, noting tickets are going quickly for the show as there is limited capacity in Didi’s Playhaus due to Covid restrictions.

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Local film maker brings Chess 4 Life to screen with Telus Storyhive grant

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Local musician and author Tanner James Holthe is thinking a couple moves ahead by debuting his new film “ Chess 4 Life,” Sept. 22 at Casa,

 He won a $20,000 Telus Storyhive grant to make his 20 minute documentary on an innovative new program to teach at risk youth haw to play Chess instead of doing community service.

 

“I read an article in Alberta Views about this program that started at the University of Lethbridge by a professor and a judge who started this program for at risk kids to each them how to play the game of chess instead of doing community service by picking up garbage on the side of the  highway,” said Taber born Holthe, who spent 14 years in Calgary, before moving back to Lethbridge last year right before the pandemic, which is when the Telus Storyhive opportunity came up.

 

“I bookmarked the idea and when they announced their Local Heroes documentary edition, I thought it would be a great idea,” he said, adding he received the full $20,000 grant to make the documentary between February 2021and June 2021. He had to submit it by July.

 

“It was a pretty tight turnaround. I was editing parts of the film at the same time I was shooting other parts,” he said.

 

 He’ll have the special screening at Casa for the cast, crew and friends, but Telus will release the movie to the general public in a couple months on  a variety of platforms including Optik TV and their Youtube channel.

 

He used to be in alternative rock band the Nix Dicksons and is a regular performer at Taber Cornfest. He has a new Calgary based band Kid Cali, which has just released their first single “Third Eye.” He also released his first book in 2017.

 

 Like everything else, he taught himself to make movies.

 

“It’s very punk rock. Before this project,  I made a lot of bad horror movies with my friends just to learn how to do it. But this is my first professional film,” he said, adding it clocks in at 23 minutes and includes approximately a dozen interviews.

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