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University of Lethbridge explores friendship and relationships in “A Dinner Party”

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The University of Lethbridge is excited to host  “A Dinner Party” in the University Theatre, Feb. 8-12.

Claire Smith and Carter Debusschere rehearse the U of L’s new play A Dinner Party. Photo by Richard Amery

 

 New West Theatre’s Kelley Reay directs this new production by Calgary playwright Christopher Duthie.

“This is only the third time it has been performed,” said Reay.

 

Faculty advisor and Drama Department faculty and production designer, David Smith brought the play to the fore.

“I was the designer for the premiere of this play three years ago with Bad Knaps Theatre in Calgary and Christopher Duthie and I were graduate students together as well. This is a great play for our students to work on,” said Smith in a press release.

 

 “As theatre practitioners we are storytellers, and the set, although uncomplicated, provides important context where the action unfolds.”

“ I love this play , because it starts out as a dinner party but it takes off in an unexpected direction. There really is something in the that will appeal to everyone,” Reay enthused, noting “ Dinner Party” is about four friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time.

 

Danielle Baker rehearse the U of L’s new play A Dinner Party. Photo by Richard Amery

“It really subverts your expectations,” he said.

“It‘s what happens when four old friends come together,” he said.

 

The cast includes Kacie Hall as Boo, Danielle Baker as Darling, Carter Debusschere and  Claire Smith as Sweetie, the newest addition to this group of friends.

 

“She ’s really a lot of fun. She’s 10 years younger than the rest of them. She brings a lot of chaos,” Smith enthused.

“She’s kind of a granola, yoga girl. She’s a hippie but also very down to earth,” she said, adding she has enjoyed working with the cast since rehearsals began in the first week of January.

“ We’ve become really close and our characters are all extensions of our personalities,” she continued, adding the play has adult content including some profanity.

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Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival brings adventure back to Lethbridge

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The Lethbridge Public Library is excited to welcome  back the  Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival world tour to the Yates Theatre, Friday, Jan. 14

“ Lethbridge celebrated its tenth anniversary of the in person  festival, a couple of years ago,” said Jonathan Jarvie, Lethbridge Public library librarian and  one of the organizers , noting they had to cancel the event last year because  of Covid. It will be the second year they had held the festival at the Yates Theatre.

Bear Like is one oif the Films  in this year’s Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival. Photo submitted

 

The event is a  collaboration between the Lethbridge Public Library and the Banff Centre for the arts.

 Because of Covid, the event, which usually runs over four nights, has been condensed to one night Jan. 14. They usually run all of the films one and then repeat them

“It’s been really exciting to bring this event back. We haven’t been able to do any adult programming, so this is a huge step for us to connect with Lethbridge and let them know we miss them,” he enthused, adding, as usual, the festival has a nature and environmental theme.

 

“ We have seven different films ranging from four minutes to 55 minutes long from the United Kingdom, France, Canada, the United States and Switzerland,” he summarized.

 The films were chosen out of approximately 400 entries.

“They’re all nature and adventure type films. Because the event was cancelled last year they are all from 2019-2021,” he said.

 The longest film is “Bear Like” From Switzerland, about grizzly  bears in Alaska.

The three minute long French film, “Follow The Light” features freestyle skiing and hot air ballooning over a backdrop of sunsets in Turkey.

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Shakespeare Meets Dickens to bring the spirit of Christmas back to Casa

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After a Covid related year off, The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is ready to get you into the Christmas spirit again as they bring the fifth annual Shakespeare Meets Dickens, back to the Casa Community room, Wednesday, Dec.15.

 

Jeffrey Graham and Keith  Miller perform MacBeth's porter scene during the 2019 Shakespeare Meets Dickens at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“This is our annual pre-Christmas event.  We had to cancel it last year because of Covid, but we‘re excited to be back in the Casa Community room,” said Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society General manager Kate Connolly.

 

The centrepiece of the event is a reader’s theatre version of Charles Dickens’ “ A Christmas Carol.”

 

“It’s most of the board of the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society. But we’re excited to welcome Sheila Matson, who is a familiar face in Lethbridge theatre circles,” Connolly continued.

 

“She used to perform in the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra’s  A Christmas Carol,” she said.

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New West Theatre pumped to perform ‘Ode To Joy’ in front of live audience again

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New West Theatre has always had a positively uplifting Up With People vibe, but they are pumping up the positivity for their new show Ode to Joy, running at the Yates Theatre, Dec.15- Dec. 31.

 

“Everyone needs some joy. It really is an ode to joy, an ode to music, an ode to laughter and an ode to being back on stage again after 18 months,” enthused Erica Hunt, who is co-directing  the show with Scott Carpenter.

 They are joined by familiar faces Katie Fellger and Kyle Gruninger and welcome back old friends Ashley Thomson and Alinafe Lupiway.

 

Erica Hunt, Ashley Thomson, Scott Carpenter and Alinafe Lupiway rehearse for Ode To Joy. Photo by Richard Amery

 Kathy Zaborsky, Greg Paskuski, Keenan Pezderic and Scott Mezei are the crack band, who also add a few extra voices. Pezderic gets to sing lead on a song too.

 While New West Theatre’s holiday season shows usually are a greatest hits show, “Ode To Joy” is mostly new songs and comedy.

“We’re still putting it together. We have a lot of material. There’s still a few holes to be filled,” Hunt said.

 

“Scott and I chose songs with a positive and uplifting feel. It’s mostly new material, but we’re also bringing back some crowd pleasers,” Hunt said.

 

“It’s just so exciting to be back performing in the theatre in front of an audience, so we wanted to make sure this show looked fresh,” she continued.

 

 Ashley Thomson is pleased to be performing with New West Theatre again. She was last in New West Theatre’s 2018  production of Hit Parade.

 

“It’s fabulous to be invited back. It is such a gift to be with a group of people who are so kind, compassionate and talented. They set such a high bar for professionalism,” Thomson enthused, adding she is excited to be performing in front of a live audience again.

 

“It’s just such a wonderful gift to be performing in front of an audience again,” she continued, adding it has been a long 18 months without live performances.

Erica Hunt also can’t wait to be in front of an audience again.

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