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Sansei: The Storyteller puts humourous twist on Second World Japanese Internement camps

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Sansei: The Storyteller adds an uplifting twist to one of Canada’s more disgraceful moments — the internment of Japanese-Canadians early in the Second World War.


Calgary performer Kunji Mark Ikeda finally brings his long standing one man show “ Sansei: The Storyteller” to the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, tonight, April 14 through Saturday, April 16.


“It really is an honour to be here in these shoes on this stage ,” Ikeda enthused, practically vibrating with excitement.


Kunji Ikeda brings Sansei: The Storyteller to The Sterndale Bennett Theatre this week. Photo by Richard Amery

 His grandparents were sent to an internment camp in the interior  of B.C. shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941. Later on, his dad ended up moving to Picture Butte to work on a sugar beet farm.


“ I remember in  Grade 10 or 11  history there was a paragraph in the text book about the Japanese interment camps, and the other kids in my class said ‘you’re Japanese, you must know about this, ’but I didn’t. So I asked my dad. And he said if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t be here,” he related, noting while his grandparents passed away before he could ask them about it, his aunt and uncle’s stories were invaluable.

His telephone conversations with them as well as original CBC reports on the camps are part of the show. 


“Japanese people weren’t allowed within 100 km of major cities because people were afraid they would be sending secret codes. Even in Lethbridge families like the Nakamotos needed special permission to live in the city. But my grandparents didn’t want to weigh us down with that,” he said.


“ My aunt and uncle were very open,” he said, adding they painted a vivid picture of the camps.


“Their stories explained a lot. Like about why they didn’t want to go camping. They’d tell stories of  the wind blowing through the walls of these tar paper shacks they were living in,” he continued.


Plays needed for One Act Play Festival

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After a two year  hiatus due to Covid, Playgoers of Lethbridge  is pleased to  bring back the Alberta Drama Festival Association (ADFA)  One Act Play Festival. But they need a few more  submissions  to do it. 

The annual  celebration of plays, is scheduled to happen at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Friday May 13 and Saturday, May 14.


“ We had to cancel the 2020 and 2019 festivals so we’ve lost a lot of momentum,” said Playgoers of Lethbridge artistic director Rita Peterson and Chinook Region ADFA representative, noting they only have one submission so far. Mary -Lynn Muhly is directing a Playgoers of Lethbridge favourite “ Priscilla Pringle’s Predicament,”  penned by Ed Bayly.


 “She has a really great cast, so I really want to see it,” Peterson said, adding they need  at least two plays to  hold the competition.


 The deadline is April 1, but it is flexible.


One Act plays from 10 to 60 minutes of all styles and genres are welcome including original scripts.


Peterson noted  the One Act Play Festival is an excellent  opportunity  for playwrights and actors to show their work and be adjudicated. They haven”t chosen an adjudicator yet.



Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society serving up Hamlet this summer

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To go or not to go, that is the question. This summer go to the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society’s upcoming production of Hamlet on several different venues.

 Director Shelley Scott just finished  casting this year’s production of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy.


Hamlet stage manager Melissa Caddick  and director Shelley Scott. Photo by Richard Amery

“We had a lot of women audition this year, so there may be some cross casting,” said director Shelley Scott, noting it will be a traditional interpretation of Hamlet.

“Usually Hamlet is set in Renaissance England, but ours will take place in medieval Denmark,” she continued.


“Kate (Connolly, artistic director) did a great job of abridging the play. She’s cut it down  into an hour and a half. Our aim is to make it fast and exciting,” she said, adding while  The Lethbridge Performance Society usually does comedies, this year they are doing one of Shakespeare’s best known tragedies.


Conner Christmas bringing laughs to back to Lethbridge

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Calgary based comedian Conner Christmas returns to Lethbridge next week for three headlining shows.


Conner Christmas is returning to Lethbridge with laughter. Photo by Richard Amery

 Christmas, who moved to Calgary after graduating from the University of Lethbridge in 2012.


Christmas is excited to be back in Lethbridge.


“ I’ve been back a  couple of times to host or open a couple of events at Good Times, but they’re only 15-20 minutes. These are my first  headlining shows here and they’re about 45 minutes,” Christmas said.

“I tell a lot of personal life stories and a lot about being a queer/ bisexual comedian in Alberta. But in a few words, it’s stories and personal experiences,” he said.

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