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New West Theatre continues online Alberta play reading series with story about dementia

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New West Theatre continues their mini online play reading series on March 4 with a reading of Calgary based , Lethbridge raised playwright  Col Cseke’s “Jim Forgetting.”Ashley Thomson will be part of New West Theatre‘s online play reading of Jim Forgetting, March 4. Photo by Richard Amery
Ashley Thomson and Calgary actor Mike Tan play Jim and Donna, a middle aged couple coping with Jim’s early onset dementia.
“Casting for this play is key,” said New West Theatre artistic director Kelly Reay, praising the actors.


“ It was challenging to cast a middle aged couple. But they really do the roles justice,” he said adding he has worked with both actors before.
“Jim Forgetting” is part of New West Theatre’s mandate to support Albertan and Canadian playwrights
 Reay has known Cseke for 15 years, so he is excited to  revisit  Csekes’s work.


“I saw this play a few years ago in Calgary and it stuck with me,” Reay said.

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Quaint, Quirky and Queer festival going online

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The Quaint, Quirky and Queer Festival in Southern Alberta goes on online in less that two weeks.Jay Whitehead from Theatre Outre. Photo by Richard Amery
 Theatre Outré artistic director Jay Whitehead is excited to present three big events happening, Feb. 18 to20.
 “The Quaint, Quirky and Queer Cabaret is  an excellent opportunity for the community to gather in person, but obviously we can[t do that this year,” he said.
“But we have three  big events happening online.


Whitehead will premiere a play he penned called 333 via Zoom at 7 p.m. Feb. 18.
 Theatre Outré veterans Brett Dahl, Nick Bohle and Halifax actor  Garry Williamson will be reading Whitehead’s play.
“ 333 tells the story of three men at a bathhouse in Toronto which the police raided in 1981. It’s based on a real life event. It‘s an important part of queer history in Canada that isn’t often talked about,” Whitehead said, noting he wrote it last year.


“ It’s something that's been on my mind for a long time, but I banged it out over Christmas. It spurred the Canadian pride movement,’” he said.

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New West trying new idea with online reading of Meg Braem’s “Flight Risk”

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As the arts community waits for things to get back to normal in the midst of Covid-19, New West Theatre is trying out a few more new ideas.
 So on Jan. 28, they are hosting a live online  play reading of Calgary based playwright/, former U of L professor Meg  Braem’s “Flight Risk.”

Erica Hunt performing with New West Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s an opportunity to engage our audience even though we can’t be on stage until summer when we can be outside again and it puts a spotlight on an Albertan playwright,” said New West Theatre artistic director  Kelly Reay, who will be directing this pilot project.


Local actors including New West Theatre veteran Erica Hunt plus Terry Gunvordahl and Alison Dereght will be reading “Flight Risk,” the story of 99-year-old Second World War veteran Hank Dunfield, who forms an unlikely bond with  22-year-old nursing student/ caregiver Sarah.


“Hank Dunfield is found wandering aimlessly through a field in the early hours of the morning, five kilometres away from his residence at Ponderosa Pine Lodge. Six weeks away from his 100th birthday, the lodge recruits Sarah, a nursing student, to help keep Hank safe, comfortable and in the building while they plan a grand centenarian celebration. There’s one problem…Hank doesn’t want to live that long,” according to New West Theatre.


“I want to emphasize it is not a romantic relationship,” Reay said.

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Local film maker tests out crowd funding for new short film, “Aperture”

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Lethbridge film maker Blake Evernden is learning and relearning different skills for his new short film “Aperture” including starting his first crowd funding campaign.
“ I’ve never done crowd-funding before. I was always a little bit nervous about it, but a lot of friends have already supported it,” said Evernden who has been making short films and  full length features for15 years, including his most recent film “Prairie Dog.”

Blake Evernden is putting on a crowd funding campaign for his short film Aperture. Photo submitted
 In addition to relearning how to shoot on 16 mm film, he is also test driving  crowdfunding
According to Evernden’s Indiegogo page, which has already raised over $2,000 towards the $3,000 goal:
“Aperture is the story of an aspiring experimental filmmaker, Marcus Wilson, who captures what he believes is a murder through the lens of his 8mm camera. He quickly becomes obsessed with capturing this killer’s identity on film and his pursuit leads him through increasing surreal interpretations of urban deserts, towering industries, and darkened suburbs, all the while risking losing himself in his own film.”


He intended to start shooting the film next week, but decided to delay it until the new year because of  Covid restrictions.
“ We’ve been doing a lot of pre-production,” he said, adding the shoot will only take a couple of days in Lethbridge and Magrath, after which the footage will be sent to Toronto for final processing and returned by May ideally. The first $2,500 of the crowd funding is earmarked for film stock, development, shipping and 2 K transfer. The next $500 will cover transportation and food costs for the crew.

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