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Shakespeare Meets Dickens to bring the spirit of Christmas back to Casa

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After a Covid related year off, The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is ready to get you into the Christmas spirit again as they bring the fifth annual Shakespeare Meets Dickens, back to the Casa Community room, Wednesday, Dec.15.


Jeffrey Graham and Keith  Miller perform MacBeth's porter scene during the 2019 Shakespeare Meets Dickens at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“This is our annual pre-Christmas event.  We had to cancel it last year because of Covid, but we‘re excited to be back in the Casa Community room,” said Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society General manager Kate Connolly.


The centrepiece of the event is a reader’s theatre version of Charles Dickens’ “ A Christmas Carol.”


“It’s most of the board of the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society. But we’re excited to welcome Sheila Matson, who is a familiar face in Lethbridge theatre circles,” Connolly continued.


“She used to perform in the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra’s  A Christmas Carol,” she said.


New West Theatre pumped to perform ‘Ode To Joy’ in front of live audience again

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New West Theatre has always had a positively uplifting Up With People vibe, but they are pumping up the positivity for their new show Ode to Joy, running at the Yates Theatre, Dec.15- Dec. 31.


“Everyone needs some joy. It really is an ode to joy, an ode to music, an ode to laughter and an ode to being back on stage again after 18 months,” enthused Erica Hunt, who is co-directing  the show with Scott Carpenter.

 They are joined by familiar faces Katie Fellger and Kyle Gruninger and welcome back old friends Ashley Thomson and Alinafe Lupiway.


Erica Hunt, Ashley Thomson, Scott Carpenter and Alinafe Lupiway rehearse for Ode To Joy. Photo by Richard Amery

 Kathy Zaborsky, Greg Paskuski, Keenan Pezderic and Scott Mezei are the crack band, who also add a few extra voices. Pezderic gets to sing lead on a song too.

 While New West Theatre’s holiday season shows usually are a greatest hits show, “Ode To Joy” is mostly new songs and comedy.

“We’re still putting it together. We have a lot of material. There’s still a few holes to be filled,” Hunt said.


“Scott and I chose songs with a positive and uplifting feel. It’s mostly new material, but we’re also bringing back some crowd pleasers,” Hunt said.


“It’s just so exciting to be back performing in the theatre in front of an audience, so we wanted to make sure this show looked fresh,” she continued.


 Ashley Thomson is pleased to be performing with New West Theatre again. She was last in New West Theatre’s 2018  production of Hit Parade.


“It’s fabulous to be invited back. It is such a gift to be with a group of people who are so kind, compassionate and talented. They set such a high bar for professionalism,” Thomson enthused, adding she is excited to be performing in front of a live audience again.


“It’s just such a wonderful gift to be performing in front of an audience again,” she continued, adding it has been a long 18 months without live performances.

Erica Hunt also can’t wait to be in front of an audience again.


Theatre Outré to give Didi d’Edada Christmas spirit with a drag interpretation of “A Christmas Carol’

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Even Didi d’Edada need a boost of Christmas spirit.

 Theatre Outré puts their own twist on Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol” as they welcome the family home for the holidays to perform two shows of “ A Very Didi Christmas Carol,” Friday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Didi’s Playhaus.


David Gabert, Tiny Tim and Jay Whitehead are excited to celebrate A Very Didi Christmas Carol. Photo by Richard Amery

“We have a lot of our favourite local actors,” said Theatre Outré  Artistic director Jay Whitehead, who penned the original musical comedy with Kathy Zaborsky, featuring beloved drag performers Didi d’Edada (Jay Whitehead) and Castrati (Kathy Zaborsky) and a lot of Lethbridge drag favourites. Aaron Collier and Richie Wilcox also make an appearance through sound cues.


“It’s the whole Club Didi family. We’re workshopping this script with a staged reading for the world premiere,” Whitehead said.


“The whole family stops by to give Scrooge character Didi d’Edada the Christmas spirit. Didi’s heart is opened by a Tiny Tim puppet, ” Whitehead said.


The 12 member cast includes familiar faces from numerous local theatre groups including New West Theatre, Shakespeare In the Park, Impromptu and Theatre Outré.


 Whitehead and Zaborsky will be joined by Cole Olson, Erica Barr, Katie Fellger,  Ashley Thomson,  Deonie Hudson, Jordan Payne, Erica Hunt, David Gabert, Stephanie Wickham and Katrina Violet.

“But there’s costumes and music and decorations,” added Theatre Outré General Manager, David Gabert.


Playgoers of Lethbridge on the way to 100 uninterrupted years with An Evening of Three-ater

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Playgoers of Lethbridge doesn’t want to break the streak of being Canada’s longest running Theatre Company. They’ll break 100 years in 2023, so to m ensure they reach that goal, they are putting an evening of Three-atre, Nov. 18-20.

 The evening features Elaine Jagielski”s “Loves Best by, Artistic director Rita Peterson directs  a reader’s theatre of “The Best  Christmas Pageant Eve,” and Rob Berezay brings John Carroll’s “ Oh What  A Tangled Web.

“ Because of Covid, it has been extremely difficult to  put on theatre, but we wanted to put on something,” said Peterson.


“Covid has made it  challenging to cast a full production, so we thought we’d put on three smaller productions.” she continued. 


There are a lot of familiar faces involved with the evening. Rob Berezay directed and starred in “ Where’s Oscar” in 2018.


Elaine Jagielski and Shelley David are involved in “Love’s Best By” and  “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” They are involved with most Playgoers of Lethbridge presentations.


 Jagielski debuted  “ Love’s Best By” in the 2018 One Act Play Festival.”

“We want to reach 100 years as Canada’s longest running theatre company,” Peterson said.


 The last Playgoers of Lethbridge production was “Daisy,” which closed last March, right before the pandemic hit.

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