Bedroom hilarity: Mike Nash

Season opens with sense of renewal

Get your tickets now for an all-Canadian community theatre season.

Get your tickets  now for an all-Canadian community theatre season.

Shuswap Theatre has announced the new MainStage season, which will include two comedies and a drama.

First up from Oct. 16 to 31, it’s Norm Foster’s Bedtime Stories, a hilarious adult comedy directed by Paul Kirkwood-Hackett.

This six-storied plot weaves a tapestry of interconnected tales from a woman leaving her husband to a rock star and his groupie all focusing around one thing – a bed.

“It is so funny,” says Shuswap Theatre Society president Joyce Henderson, who notes she is very excited about the new season. “There are 15 characters played by five actors and all the playwrights are Canadian, which would not have been possible 20 years ago.”

The second MainStage production in February is Cat Delaney’s Welfarewell, winner of the 2009 Samuel French Canadian Playwrights Contest.

Directed by Evelyn Birch, the play tells the story of an 80-year-old retired actress who is having difficulty supporting herself with her meagre government pension.

Her water and power have been shut off and when her landlord sees her burying her beloved cat in the backyard, he calls in the law. Arrested and jailed, Esmerelda discovers the joy of free room and board and a comfortable sense of community. She tries to convince the powers that jail is where she belongs.

From delightful comedy to sobering  issues, at the end of April, Marcus Smith directs I Had a Job I Liked Once, playwright  Guy Vanderhaeghe’s winner of the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for Drama.

In a world of quick condemnations and mandatory minimums, a by-the-book RCMP sergeant must uncover the truth.

The local Crown attorney’s daughter has accused a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks of an egregious crime.

Now it falls on the jaded officer to investigate the crime and find the truth.

“We have to balance between what the audience wants and plays that are challenging for the actors,” says Henderson, noting profit from ticket sales is what runs the theatre. “We have to have enough audience appeal to pay the bills, but you want to challenge the people involved in the play.”

Grants also help oil the theatrical machine and Henderson says a $2,500 grant from the Shuswap Community Foundation allowed the society to buy new sound equipment.

Financial  support also came from the Salmar Community Association with $1,500 to replace the stage doors. Shuswap Evening Rotary anted up $1,500 for several needed items including the new ticket booth, the City of Salmon Arm gave $1,800 to replace the scene shop doors and the Royal Bank provided $1,000 from their community support program.

Henderson is also grateful for community involvement, pointing out there was never a shortage of volunteers when the call went out for help.

Without such support many of the changes would not have occurred, says Henderson, noting new blood has also energized the theatre.

“A lot of new people have come to the theatre; one actor just moved from Edmonton five weeks ago and his wife is a dresser,” she says. “And we had six new people at our potluck.”

One of them was Jean Angers, a techie for Quebec’s equivalent of the Juno awards, who is doing lightning, designing sets and, as an aside, loves pyrotechnics.

“But there’s limited opportunity for that at Shuswap Theatre,” Henderson says, calling the theatre’s Fall Fair Parade entry an example of renewed enthusiasm at the theatre.

Energy and belly laughs are features of the Laughing Gas Improv Troupe, which will present their first show of the season, Snowvember on Saturday, Nov. 21.

And this year’s yet-to-be decided family friendly Christmas show to be directed by Julia Body will run Dec. 4 to 14. As well as providing “good quality live productions,” Henderson says the society is providing education.

A director’s workshop will be held on the first weekend in November, with Kevin Bennett, who is associated with Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach and has worked at The Globe in London, England.

“We also have workshops in Theatre 101 that are open to everyone and cover all the pieces that go together to make a production,” says Henderson. “And, we will be having a lighting and sound workshop as well.”

For more information, visit www.shuswap


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