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Catch the Christmas spirit with Shakespeare Meets Dickens

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society knows how to keep the spirit of Christmas in their hearts. They are proud to present  the eighth annual Shakespeare Meets Dickens, Thursday, Dec. 14 in the casa community room.


Shakespeare Meets Dickens is Thursday, Dec. 14 at casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society’s puts on our annual pre—Christmas celebration every year in the casa community room,” said Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society Artistic director/ producer Kate Connolly.


The main attraction is always the recital of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” but there is more fun in store. 


“ This year we have opera trained singers who were part of the recent production ‘A Secret Garden’ at the Yates Theatre, performing Christmas carols or songs from Shakespeare inspired shows like  West Side Story and ‘Kiss Me Kate,” Connolly continued, noting Brenton Taylor, Franz Faeldo, Natalie Stronk, Hannah Blackmer and Jani Thompson will be performing.


“ The audience always sings along too, which we love,” Connolly continued, noting there will be Christmas treats like mince pie and gingerbread, plus Christmas refreshments like hot chocolate and eggnog plus a cash bar.


“ When you come, you will be in for a very lovely evening. Shakespeare meets Dickens is a lovely way to celebrate Christmas,” Connolly promised.


“Hurry Hard” auditions are coming for Playgoers of Lethbridge’s February production

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Playgoers of Lethbridge welcomes a new director directing a fresh new Canadian comedy “Hurry Hard,” by Kristen Da Silva .


“ I directed  high school plays for 44 years so I’ve directed 95 plays, but I’ve never directed adults before. So I’m looking forward to that challenge,” said director Greg Wolcott.

 Auditions for “Hurry Hard” are Monday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m and Tuesday, Nov. 21 in the casa community room.


“ It’s a slice of Canadian life. These characters are very common and simple people. Curling is a big part of their lives,” Wolcott summarized, adding you don’t have to know anything about curling to understand the play.


“I haven’t seen it. The rights just came available. It deals with relationships around a small town curling club. It’s about a couple who are forced to reconcile over curling,” he continued.

 One of the members of the rink is forced to drop out during health issues which means the couple are forced to work together to compete in a big regional bonspiel when one of  the rink members has to drop out because of health issues.


Fran Rude to retire with one last LSCO Fundraiser: The Secret Garden

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Lethbridge theatre mainstay Fran Rude, who won the Joan Waterfield Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the arts this year says farewell with her last production of  the musical The Secret Garden, Nov.10-12.


“We all have to retire some time,” said Rude recovering from a broken hip but is excited to collaborate again with Ken Rogers on the Tony award winning musical “The Secret Garden, to raise money for LSCO programming.


Fran Rude is excited about her last LSCO  fundraiser, The Secret Garden.Photo by Richard Amery

 It is a “heartwarming tale of hope, family and the transformative power of Nature” inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved novel. The LSCO fundraising show runs at the Yates Theatre 7:30 p.m.  Nov. 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12.


“It’s a lovely story and the music is beautiful,” Rude said.


“It’s about a girl whose family  dies in a cholera outbreak in India in 1910 so she goes to live with her uncle in Yorkshire, England. He lost his wife so he learns to love again,” summarized Ken Rogers, who is excited about  working with a handpicked cast of 35, though they auditioned for the two child roles,  plus a live orchestra of 18, mostly members of the Lethbridge Symphony orchestra, concentrating on strings.


“ The two children are outstanding and remarkable,” Rude enthused.

“There are 33 musical numbers in this show. The musical score is absolutely gorgeous. It’s very orchestral. They are sumptuous and the strings are stunning,” Rogers said, noting there are solos, duos, trios and quartets  sprinkled throughout the performance.


“The musicians come from all walks of life,” he said.

 “We handpicked the cast for people we knew could play the roles. We’ve been working in the local theatre community for so long, we knew who would be best for the roles,” he said

 Rogers is excited to collaborate with Rude one last time on a large scale fundraiser for the LSCO and decided to choose a show that would be a guaranteed hit, as  The LSCO  put their money on the line to produce the show.


“We didn’t want to choose a show that won’t sell  out,” he said, noting tickets are going fast. Closing night is almost sold out already.

Rude worked with Rogers on a smaller scale production of the musical in 1986.

“It’s staged quite differently,” Rude said, adding the musicians are on stage with the actors.


Playgoers of Lethbridge ends 100th Anniversary season with pantomime of The Snow Queen

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Playgoers of Lethbridge winds up an eventful 100th anniversary season  with their pantomime ‘The Snow Queen,’  based on a Hans Christian Andersen short story, Nov. 7-12 at the Sterndale 

Jessica Nguyễn rehearses for Playgoers of Lethbridge’s pantomime The Snow Queen. Photo by Richard Amery

Bennett Theatre.


Staged in the classic style of British Pantomime, this family friendly show is a re-telling of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen adapted by  Allan Frayne. 


“ It’s a musical that encourages audience participation, so they are encouraged to boo the Snow  Queen, who is the villain in the story,” said director Elaine Jagielski, who has always wanted to put on a pantomime.


“ There are stock characters, they are exaggerated,” Jagielski continued, reminiscing about enjoying seeing pantomimes when she was a child.


“It involves a couple of young individuals who encounter the  Snow Queen who is  the villain and she does something to one of the characters. It’s about how they try to rectify the wrong. But I don’t want to give away too much about the plot. It is a delightful story,” she said, adding the show has an underlying theme of global warming .


 “ The Snow Queen”  has a cast of 28  from age 6 to 66 including familiar faces from past Playgoers of Lethbridge productions and veterans of the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance society.


 Shelly David is doing double duty as she is also part of Lethbridge Musical  Theatre’s production of  ‘The Full Monty: The musical.’

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