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Theatre Outré ready for a busy new season

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Theatré Outré has a year packed full of fun back in their home base of Did‘s Playhaus, downtown.

 

After two shortened seasons thanks to Covid -19 lockdowns, the local alternative theatre troupe, have adapted by doing everything from performing online and taking Impromptu’s improv nights into people’s backyards. And in between shut downs, there were able to have one personalized show for individual audience members in the space.

 

Castrati (Kathy Zaborsky) and Didi D’EDada  (Jay Whitehead) Are excited about Theatre Outré's new season. Photo by Richard Amery

 But now, they are excited to be back home, with proper health and safety precautions.

 

“Last year was difficult. We had a really short season. And that never would have been possible without our volunteers and our community,” said Theatre Outré general manager David Gabert, who excited to have two full length original  plays in  the Didi’s Playhaus Space and a Theatre for young Audiences production on Casa.

 

“We’re excited. It’s been a  difficult year. But this year, instead of the dances we’re going to feature weekly events  including improvisational shows , drag shows and cabarets,” he said.

 

 Due to the small size of the venue, they will be limiting  their audiences ti half capacity and offer the option of streaming the shows online for those still not comfortable being in public for in person performances.

Audiences will be asked to wear masks on premises and perform a wellness screen before entering.

 

 The first performance is  Theatré Outré co-artistic director  Jay Whitehed’s penned play “333” about three people  at the epicentre of the Toronto Bathouse Raids in 1981.The featured actors are Halifax’s  Gary Williams, a frequent collaborator with Theatré Outré and newcomers Edmonton’s Andres Moreno and Lethbridge’s John Tasker. Co Artistic director Kathy Zaborsky will be directing the show, which will run Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2021.

 

“It’s a really powerful story,” Gabert said.

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New West enjoys Singing in the Sun for rescheduled Arts in the Park concert

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It’s hard to be blue when New West Theatre is singing in the sun.

 

 For a variety of personal reasons, I was in an I hate everyone mood on Sunday, and was going to give the second New West Theatre Arts in the Park show in a row a miss, but knew that the local theatre troupe’s Up with People vibe were just what I needed, Sunday, Aug. 29.

Keenan Pezderic singing with New West Theatre singing at Arts in the Park in Civic Field, Aug. 29. Photo by Richard Amery

 They always ooze positive vibes, which made a spine tingling medley of Beach Boys songs including “Good Vibrations,” all the more apt.

 

 With the summer Arts in the Park concert series,New West Theatre have taken on the monumental task of putting on mini music festivals every single weekend at four different locations all over the city. For the most part, they’ve gone off without a hitch, except for one weekend— the one supposed to feature New West Theatre.

 

 Several hundred people have enjoyed each presentation and this Sunday was no exception.

 

 This Sunday’s show, which was the only one that had to be been postponed due to the weather, was the only one to directly feature New West’s performers.

 

This show was supposed to take place on Aug. 14 and 15 

Willy Big Bull singing at Arts in the Park in Civic Field, Aug. 29. Photo by Richard Amerybut was postponed because of extreme heat and smoke filling the sky.

This time, the sky was clear and while it was hot, it wasn’t as hot as it was, so numerous people took refuge under the trees or under umbrellas stuck in the middle of socially distanced chalk circles in Civic Park.

 

I arrived in the middle of Willy Big Bull’s  set of laid back, heartfelt, singer songwriter based music.

 

 He told a few stories about building scaffolding up north and played a song inspired by that.

 

He also added a laid back version of the Rolling Stones’ “ Wild Horses.”

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream full of laughs and comedy

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Shakespeare in the Park returned to their roots with a performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream in Galt Gardens, July 30.

 With the temperatures hovering around 30 even at night,  the conditions were ideal to have an actual MidSummer’s Night’s dream, though I defy anyone to fall asleep during this production with all of the physical comedy and hilarity ensuing.

Megan Fennell and Trevor Loman in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Photo by Richard Amery

 

The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance society’s very first production, 10 seasons ago was also A Midsummer Nights Dream this time they have more experience and custom designed costumes and a talented new cast, featuring mostly university students under the same director as the original, Andrew Legg.

The only cast member from the first production is Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society mainstay Jeff Graham, who is double cast as the duke and one of Titania’s fairies Mustard-seed.

 

Addison Gatner and Autumn Adrian play well off each other as friends torn apart by magical flowers and mischievous fairies. My favourite scene between their characters of Hermia and Helena is the exchange of insults, mostly making fun of Hermia’s height. 

 

 Like in the original, the supporting cast pretty much stole the show, from in the midst of a whirlwind of chaos created by jealous husband, Fairy King Oberon played by a menacing Cole Fetting and his Queen, Titiana, played by Megan Fennell.

 

The play is a love story gone horribly wrong with hilarious results after Oberon decides he wants Titania’s adopted child, and sets his hyperactive servant Puck, played with jittery energy by Chris Kyle Peterson on the case with the help of magical flowers designed to make the recipient fall in love with the next person or animal they see. Hilarity ensues when Puck turns the flamboyant actor Bottom (Trevor Loman) into a half man half-ass beast who Titania falls in love with and has her attendants spoil him.

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Andrew Legg brings Trader Tales back to Fort Whoop Up

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Lethbridge has a  fascinating wild west history, back when Fort Whoop Up was operating circa 1870, so local actor and director 

Andrew Legg is excited to bring Trader Tales back to Fort Whoop Up this summer. Photo by Richard Amery

Andrew Legg has dug up stories about the more interesting characters who hung around Fort Whoop up for a brand new Trader Tales, July 23 at the Fort.

 

“ Fort Whoop Up was only around for  a really short period of time,” said Andrew Legg, who  dug into the history once his production of  A MidSummer Night‘s Dream for The Lethbridge Shakespeare performance Society was well underway.

 

“ So I’ve been researching a 10 year block around 1870,” he said adding he learned stories about Fort Whoop up Founder  J J Healy and Jerry Potts and some of the more interesting characters who came to Southern Alberta from Montana, mostly, looking  to make their fortunes by trading supplies and whiskey to First Nations in exchange for buffalo robes when the fort was founded in 1869 at  the intersection of the St. Mary and Belly River, now known as the Oldman River.

 

 The actual Fort was actually located outside of  Lethbridge near the airport rather than in the coulee where the current replica is located.

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