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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.”


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.


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.


Great summer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society revisits A  MIdSummer Night’s Dream this summer for their tenth anniversary.

 Their season opens this weekend with a sold out performance at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Friday, July 9 and a performance at Casa, July 10

 Andrew Legg  directed the local theatre group’s inaugural performance of A MidSummer Night’s Dream 10 years ago and is back  to direct  the play again this year.


Titania (Megan Fennell) and Oberon (Cole Fetting) are ready for A MidSummer Night’s Dream. Photo By Richard Amery

“The great thing about it is it’s the perfect play. It‘s Shakespeare’s best comedy and I would say it’s Shakespeare’s best play,” Legg said.


“So whatever happens the words are always going to be great,” he said, noting putting on  the first play came with it’s own set of challenges as did putting on this one coming out of a pandemic.


“When we did it in 2012, there were a lot of what ifs like what if a grant doesn’t come through and what if there isn’t an audience. For this one, there were what ifs like  ‘what if we can’t rehearse’ or ‘what if we have to rehearse over Zoom ’like we had to and ‘what if we don’t have an audience.’ There were a lot of X factors in both of them,” he said, adding luckily restrictions were lifted in time to have full cast rehearsals in the Kinsman Park and book shows at different locations in the city.


“It’s been a testament to how well the cast and crew have worked together,” he continued, adding working over  Zoom meant he could work with the cast on character  development and motivations.

“The first Zoom rehearsals weren’t very good, but after  restrictions were lifted we could work together in rehearsals,” he said adding he had to keep the cast numbers down due to Covid and had to double cast a few parts as a result.


 He estimated three quarters of the 15 member cast are new faces, though there are several very familiar faces.


Cole Fetting, who has been in  six Lethbridge Shakespeare performance Society  productions including last year’s reader’s theatre version of Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, The Tempest, A Comedy of Errors and several others, 

 This year he returns as Oberon, king of the Fairies.

“It‘s been quite an experience,” said Fetting, who graduates from the U of Lethbridge drama program this year.

“ We got to do a lot of character development work. We had to rehearse over Zoom, which was hard to translate into blocking on stage when we could meet. But it’s come together really well,” he said.

“Audiences are going to love it,” he promised, noting he has enjoyed playing Oberon.

“Oberon is a very jealous husband. He decides to play a trick on his wife so he asks Puck to get a flower and that leads to  hilarity and miscommunication and  an excellent farce,” he said.


 Megan Fennell, who made her Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society debut in Macbeth as one of the witches, is excited to be part of a MidSummer Night’s dream.

“I gave Merry Wives of Windsor  a miss  because of Covid last year, but s soon as I found they were doing a MidSummer Night’s dream, I wasn’t going to miss it. It’s my favourite Shakespeare play. It was the first play I read in school,” she said, adding she is excited to play Oberon”s wife Titiana.

“I actually auditioned to play Puck, but was delighted to get cast as Titiana,” she said.

“She’s fierce. She’s a force of nature,” she said adding she enjoys the contrast of Titiana. The flower Oberon sent Puck to fetch makes the subject fall in love with the next creature human or animal he or she sees. Oberon’s trick is to get Titiana to fall in love with the next animal she sees, which ends up being a community theatre actor named Bottom, who is turned into a donkey.

“So I get to fight with Cole (Oberon) then become smitten with Trevor (Loman, who plays Bottom).”


 Chris Kyle Peterson is another familiar face with the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society who usually plays more serious characters in in Macbeth, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet to name just a few.

 She gets to flex her comedic muscles as Puck in A MidSummer Night’s Dream as Puck.

“ Puck likes to play. Puck likes to have his hands in everything. he likes to mess with people and  enjoys watching the results of his meddling,” she said, noting this will be her fifth Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society production.

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