Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:25

Chautauqua Theatre Festival starts up tomorrow in Swift Current

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 The Lyric Theatre’s Chautauqua Theatre Festival kicked off on Thursday this week, bringing six unique one-act plays to theatre lovers in the southwest. With many return performers and new acts as well, this year’s lineup offers something for everyone.



“People can expect to be entertained, and to come away with a deeper understanding of what it was like to be working on the home front during WWII,” explained Melanie Gall, with ‘More Power to your Knitting, Nell!!’. “This is a love story, featuring several knitting songs that have been lost since the war. They were written to galvanize women to knit for soldiers, and they're cute, funny, poignant and wonderful.“

Gall has seen all kinds of audience reactions to her performances, and enjoys having the opportunity to connect with the spectators at her shows. She is excited to be a part of this year’s Chautauqua, and encourages everyone to check out some of the fantastic plays lined up for this year.

“People get so caught up in life - they're so busy, all the time - to be able to attend a theatre festival and to share moments with audiences and performers - it helps people grow, both the performers and the members of the audience,” Gall noted. “It’s important to create a local artistic community where people can take a moment – or an hour, really – to just be entertained.”


This year’s children’s performance is ‘The Princess and the Pea’ with a bit of a twist by Wide Open Puppet Theatre. The play will also bring plenty of opportunities for audience participation, for what will truly be a one-of-a-kind show.

“I love to tell stories, put a smile on someone’s face and make them laugh,” noted Jacklyn Green with Wide Open Puppet Theatre. “There is no greater moment than to watch a child be completely taken with the puppets and story. It’s magical. And it’s even better when the puppets trick the adults into becoming child-like again. Puppets have a way of breaking those barriers with all ages, and that’s why I love it.”


Sound & Fury is a "Vaudeville-Nouveau" trio, presenting a modernized version of early twentieth century live comedy theatre. They are return performers, with this year’s ‘Hitchcocked’ featuring a sort of homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock.


“One doesn't need to have seen any Hitchcock to enjoy it,” noted Richard Maritzer with Sound & Fury. “There are references to his work throughout, but it stands on its own as a high-energy suspense-comedy, with a lot of goofy humour, bad puns, and silly costumes.”


With vaudeville style shows, there's no "fourth-wall," allowing the performers to break character, or stop the action of the show to interact with the audience. This show specifically uses an audience volunteer as one of the pivotal characters in the show, giving a local theatre lover the chance to get a couple of minutes in the limelight.


“Because there's nothing separating us from the audience, we can make it all a fun group event, and not just faceless individuals in the dark,” Maritzer added. “We need to be taken out of our own worlds now and again and experience the 'magic of theatre' - which sounds trite, but there is a definite sense of wonder at seeing the 3 walls of a black room transformed by sets, or lights and music into a changed location.”


For more information about these and the rest of the Chautauqua lineup, visit the festival’s page on the Lyric Theatre’s website at

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Jessi Gowan


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