New West in Fort Macleod

Lethbridge’s New West Theatre is reaching back into its history with a nostalgic variety show called Roots: Back to the Beginning at the Empress Theatre. 

For two nights only - Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22 - the show will celebrate 30 years of New West Theatre, returning to the place of its inception – Fort Macleod’s Empress! 

The cabaret/variety/vaudeville revue features music, theatre, magic and comedy, with special guest performers, new faces and faces you know and love. 

New West actors Devon Brayne, Jocelyn Haub, Keenan Pezderic and Kathy Zaborsky will perform alongside special guests, actor Katie Fellger, musician Rylan Kunkel, and magician Ben Price. Together, their performance will take audiences back to the time of Fort Malceod’s Great West Theatre. 

In 1983, Great West Theatre troupe, a group of actors from the University of Lethbridge and other local thespians, was formed as part of Main Street Project that saw the revitalization of downtown Fort Macleod. The Empress, which had fallen into some disrepair, was cleaned up and the stage was expanded. 

The Great West troupe performed regularly during the summer months for six years. In the early days of the troupe, the actors would head over to the Fort to convince busloads of visiting tourists to come see the show. The live theatre eventually became a raging success, with lineups down the block. 

In 1989, Great West Theatre left Fort Macleod for Lethbridge, and changed its name to New West Theatre. 

Today, with a mandate of producing a diverse range of theatrical productions for Southern Albertan audiences, New West Theatre performs American classics, Broadway musicals, contemporary Canadian theatre, Theatre for Young Audiences and original creations. They also offer educational programming to young people through summer theatre camps, theatre school and in-school residencies. 

Roots: Back to the Beginning is a nostalgic nod to New West’s roots in Fort Macleod that looks back and forward at the same time. Join us Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available at by calling 403-553-4404 (toll-free at 1-800-540-9229).

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