Editorial: Community theatre thriving in central Alberta

This winter be sure to take in one of the many community theatre productions

Community theatre is thriving in central Alberta.

A brief look at the productions in the area shows as much with Ponoka and Bashaw among the places where one can take in a winter play.

Talking about Bashaw Community Theatre for a minute, the production, hosted at the Bashaw United Church, took on the daunting and incredible story of the The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

This was probably one of the strongest performances by the cast who somehow managed to gain the audience’s attention, and hold it, for the full two and a half hours of performance. The audience was captivated from the minute the lights went on.

The quality of work coming out of Bashaw is something to write home about.

Hunchback is a production that features incredibly complex music, harmonies and emotional involvement and the cast and crew proved they are well up to the challenge. It was a community theatre production that felt like a professional play through and through.

Bashaw’s crew should be proud of the work they have done to bring to life the story of Quasimodo and his love for Esmeralda to the main stage. As a side, the play should really be called ‘Esmeralda’ because it’s truly about a strong, proud woman who knows what she wants in life.

Along with dramatic storytelling, the special lighting, props and costuming helped add a three-dimensional feel to the story.

Now in Ponoka, the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society (KFAS) is in the throws of rehearsals of Once Upon a Mattress, a musical by Marshall Barer. The musical comedy adaptation of The Princess and Pea is a bit of a departure from the norm for KFAS and the production has shown it’s ready to stretch its creative wings.

KFAS should be proud of its desire to grow, change and showcase different productions and Mattress is all about that. The musical once again features live music, a strong talent showcase with musical direction helping lift the actors’ voices.

Each year the production is faced with a new set of challenges, which is a good thing. It means the crew and those involved behind the scenes are pushing themselves creatively, which then makes for a great show.

From having to create an elaborate set design, to creative lighting to choreographing dances and more, this year’s production of Once Upon a Mattress should be a good one.

It’s just another reason to show support for community theatre, which is proving to be a great source of entertainment with many surprises for play-goers. And it brings a touch of culture to rural Alberta.

Bashaw’s performance of Hunchback should be an indicator to central Albertans that it doesn’t necessarily take bookoo bucks to bring a story to life. It takes vision, talent, great direction and a passion to perform, which can have the audience laughing and crying from one minute to the next.

And in Ponoka, KFAS’ growth and creative passion shows just how much that vision can bring about laughter and fun entertainment right in your own town.

If there’s one thing you do this winter season, get thyself to a community theatre and take in stories that take on a life of their own.

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