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Shakespeare in the Park joins Coutts Arts festival entertainment

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society took their summer production of Macbeth on the road to the Coutts Arts Centre outside of Nanton, Sunday, July 21.

Chris Peterson performing at the Coutts Arts Centre, July 21. Photo by Richard Amery
 In addition to Shakespeare, it also allowed a few of the members of the troupe to show off their lovely singing voices.

 Stage manager Stephanie Savage belted out a few powerful soul , R and B and pop numbers, taking turns singing with Chris (Lady Macbeth) Peterson who had a smiling crowd singing along with a few Disney classics including the apt “ I Just Can‘t Wait to Be King,” from the Lion King.

A few of the other cast members added dance and backup vocals.

 While the the cast got into costume and character, Dale Ketcheson played beautiful classical guitar instrumentals including some Bach,  a little bit of Leyenda and  an excellent version of “Classical Gas.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Stephanie Savage performing at the Coutts Arts Centre, July 21. Photo by Richard Amery

Owl Poetry open mic celebrating first anniversary

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 If you’re a poet and you know it, then show it at the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s monthly poetry open mic.
The group celebrates their  first anniversary on the Owl stage with  poems, trees and possibly cake and Shaw TV, July 24.

Cat Charissage and Teri Petz  have enjoyed hosting the Owl Poetry Open mic for the past year. Photo by Richard Amery
 While local poets have  bared their souls and worn their hearts on their sleeves for a year at the open mic, the roots of the group lie in co-organizer Cat Charissage’s living room, two years ago.
“ Teri was always the most enthusiastic about it,” Charissage said, adding she would hold a variety of special workshops in her home.
“At first, it was just a chance for people to share their love for poetry, it wasn’t  about original work at  at all,” she continued, adding one of of the few rules for the poetry open mic is that all works must be originals and performers  must keep to five minutes to allow everyone a chance to perform.

“ Though we haven’t had to use the hook on anybody yet,” she laughed.
“She had a poetry and story circle happening,” enthused co-organizer Teri Petz.
“So when that ended, I wanted to continue and we were looking for  another location. I went to the lady at the library and she suggest I talk to Steve at the Owl and he asked over the phone if we were interested in doing a poetry open mic every month,” said Petz, noting the event turned out to be more popular than she expected.
“ For the first one, we had four or five people we knew would perform, because we didn’t know how many people would show up. Now we have at least 20 people  performing, and we always have new people,” Petz continued.

The open mics draw poets from aged 8 to 85 and everywhere in between, including published poets and people who have never been in front on a microphone before.
“We have all of these different people talking about different things from young women talking about break ups. We have an 85-year-old man talking about losing his wife who had never been in front of a microphone before. And he was followed by a young man talking about blow jobs,” Charissage chucked, emphasizing the  open mics are a safe, non judgemental space.
“There’s no sneering. Everyone is open to listening,” she stressed, adding creating a supportive environment is essential.

“And we try to get everybody to applaud a little longer if someone has never been up before,” Petz added.
“Now we have close to 100 people and most weeks a re a full house or close to a full house,” she said,  adding  they have an active presence on Facebook and posters all over the community. Shaw TV has a regular spotlight feature on the poetry open mic.


Windy Castle Medieval Faire needs volunteers

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It is coming down to the wire for  the third annual Windy Castle Medieval Faire, coming up art their new location,  July 20 and 21.

Michelle Couper and Juanita DeVos are getting ready for the Windy Castle Medieval Faire, July  20 and 21. Photo by Richard Amery
 Co-organizeer Juanita DeVos   said they need  a lot of volunteers to help out during the Faire itself, but more importantly to prepare the site, at the corner of Highway 4 and Township Road 7-4, just 12 minutes south of Lethbridge. The location also appears through google maps.

“We’ve got Vikings coming and if you own a horse, you can even learn how to joust,” enthused DeVos, noting that workshop is extra , but everything else id included in the ticket price.

“ But we’re building a maze of palattes, so we need people to help build that,” she said.
There will be a lot of fun at the Faire including  Medieval Battle demos, jousting demos, storytellers, musicians, acrobats, arrow tag, axe throwing a mead and ale gardens, a medieval feast and much more.


Hootenanny will be afternoon fun for all ages

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A new theatre company hopes Hootenanny will be a hoot in  Galt Gardens for  the whole family all through July.

 “Hootenanny” began todKenya Gimson, Jon Zimmer and Erik Hohmann star in Hootenanny this month. Photo by Richard Ameryay, July 3 and runs  at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Wednesday through  Saturday all July.

“It‘s a free family play. We want it to be accessible to children, but we also want adults to be able to enjoy it too,” said said co creator and director  Nicola Elson, adding despite being  Hootenanny, it isn’t a show about cowboys, though the three clowns performing do improvise horseback riding on colourful suitcases.

“It’s about Ordinary Garry, Ordinary Mary and Ordinary Barry, who  think everything  that is different is bad until they are transported to a magical world where everything that is different is good,” summarized Elson.
“It’s a very visual and physical show,” she described.

 She  and Julia Wasilewski  built the show backwards.

“We found the props and costumes first and created a story around them. The story came after,” Elson said.

“Because when you’re performing outdoors, you can’t often hear the dialogue,” she continued, adding the visual aspect and the energy of actors and University of Lethbridge students Kenya Gimson, Jon Zimmer and Erik Hohmann is paramount in this show.

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