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The L.A. Beat

Shakespeare in the Park begins run of the Scottish play in Galt Gardens this week

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There will be villainy afoot, sword play, deception, superstition and treachery as Shakespeare in the Park celebrates their eighth year by presenting “ the Scottish play” this summer in Galt Gardens.
 “Macbeth” opens Thursday, July 4 and runs until Aug. 9 pretty much every Thursday and Friday in Galt Gardens except July 12 during Street Wheelers weekend when the local Shakespeare troupe hits the road for a performance at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, July 12. They also return to Nanton at the Coutts Centre, July 21, and, new for the troupe,  are in High River at Town Centre, July 27.Macbeth (DJ Gellatly) battles young Siward (Chelsey Fitzsimons) in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Macbeth, running July 4-Aug. 9 in Galt Gardens. photo by Richard Amery
“ That will be a busy week for us,” said producer Kate Connolly, who is delighted director Monique Danielle has set Macbeth will be set in the eleventh century.

“It’s a very traditional version. It is the period Shakespeare drew from to write the play and when the actual Lord Macbeth lived,” Connolly continued, noting it is a departure from forays into the future with last year’s interplanetary space themed Tempest and the recent past of A Comedy of Errors which was set in nineteenth century Alberta.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” she said the cast have undergone extensive fight training to ensure  fight, murder and  duels are as realistic looking as possible while also being safe  as possible .
“We are lucky to have two really talented fight choreographers Garrett Mallory Scott who choreographed all of the fights and he appointed Keith Miller as fight captain, who also plays MacDuff,” she said.

“ It’s set amongst the gloomy castles and haunted heaths of Scotland where Macbeth meets the three witches, It depicts the raw brutality of the age. It’s very exciting. But it’s appropriate for all ages. there’s blood and gore, but no adult language or suggestive scenes,” Connolly advised.

 She noted Shakespeare and  the Park has received generous assistance from a variety of sponsors including Young Insurance,  a Heart of the City Activity grant and Jaded Body Arts as well as  the Allied Arts Council.
The cast features some Shakespeare in the Park veterans as well and several newcomers playing some of Shakespeare’s most iconic roles.

 DJ Gellatly is excited to return to the fold as Macbeth. He has performed in three Shakespeare in the Park productions and directed two others.

He is honoured to play Macbeth.
“A lot of very talented men have played Macbeth, so it really is fun to step into those shoes. It really is an honour,” Gellatly said, noting Macbeth starts out an honourable man, but is seduced by power inspired by the three witches and slowly descends into violence and madness.
“It is very relatable the way Macbeth is seduced by power. Banquo starts out as his companion and friend, but Macbeth really goes to some really dark places inspired by that greed and desire for power,” GellatlDJ Gellatly plays Macbeth in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Macbeth, running July 4-Aug. 9 in Galt Gardens. photo by Richard Ameryy said.

“So it has been really interesting to go there,” he said.
“I hope the audience comes away from the show being entertained,” he said, adding he has been enjoying the sword fighting battles.

Director Monique Danielle returns home to Lethbridge from Toronto, where she has been studying and acting, to direct Macbeth.
 She is excited to set the play in the eleventh century.
“ The board wanted to do a traditional Shakespeare play and Macbeth has always been one of my favourite plays. So I just love that it is set in the eleventh century which is where Shakespeare drew his inspiration from. It’s just such a cool time period,” she said, adding she wanted to bring out the themes of masculinity and gender roles, parenthood and power in the play. She also wanted to explore the theme of  feminine power with Lady Macbeth and the three witches.
“Lady Macbeth is a powerful female character,  she questions Macbeth’s masculinity, but she gives up her femininity for more masculine traits to get power,” she said.
“So I wanted to explore some of those themes,” she said, adding the witches exemplify the female empowerment theme.
“ I was interested in their motivation. So I’ve turned them into Greek fates who are angry about being forgotten as  people were turning to worship God and Christianity, so I wanted to play with that idea of female rage,” Danielle said.

 The three witches are all new to Shakespeare in the Park.
 Megan Fennell, who plays Clotho (witch 2) said she was dared into auditioning by her friend.
“I’ve been trying to do things that scare me this year like petting a snake and singing karaoke for the first time. So my friend dared me to audition,” said Fennell, who is also a dancer, a Taiko drummer, a science fiction author and an artist who is a familiar face at Paint and Sip every month at the Owl.


Female heavy South Country Fair a family affair this year

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 The South Country Fair  is back to be a family affair. Not only because the people who attend the popular summer event in Fort Macleod at the Fish and GThe Circus Acts Insomniacs return to south Country Fair This year. Photo by Richard Ameryame Park consider themselves to be family, but because Maureen Chambers and her daughter Gillian Moranz book the acts.

 “ Jana McKenzie booked the south stage for as long as she could. I told her when she started that she could do it for as long as she felt comfortable doing it,” said Maureen Chambers who helped found the festival 33 some years ago.
“Jana always stayed with the philosophy ‘if it isn’t broken don’t fix it,’” Chambers said, noting nothing has changed  this year.

 The fair continues to be an event much of Lethbridge and Southern Alberta’s music community look forward to attending to escape from reality for a few days. Chambers noted they are keeping the capacity at a comfortable 2,000-3,000 attendees.
“And that’s a comfortable number for our space,” Chambers said.

“It really has become a community. It’s like a family reunion. People come and see old friends again,” she said.
“ And we have 400 volunteers. So it’s great to not only have so many people who want to go to the fair, but who want it to be successful and want to help everything run smoothly,” she said.

 The 33rd year includes a lot of B.C. and Alberta Acts performing throughout the weekend, July 19-21 including familiar faces like Rancho Deluxe, Tara Warburton, Andrew Scott, Leeroy Stagger and Rebeltone Sound, Ryland Moranz plus some people who play here a lot like Blue Moon Marquee, Tom Phillips, Peter and the Wolves, Petunia and the Vipers and many more.

 Chambers said  she is looking forward to having Captain Tractor return. The Edmonton based Celtic rock/ folk rock band have been together since 1993 and spent last year touring  for their 25th anniversary.
“ We’ve been trying to get them back for years, but the scheduling has never worked out,” Chambers continued.
“ We booked the acts together,” Chambers said.


Street Wheelers and Back Alley bash to be week’s highlights

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If you aren’t going to the Calgary Stampede this week, catch some of the music right here in Lethbridge.
 That means there is a lot of country and music happening this week.
 But first, Keith Catfish Woodrow hosts his monthly Slice of blues jam at the Slice on Tuesday, July 9. The music begins at 8:30 p.m. He also returns the the Slice with the High Level Blues band, Saturday, July 13.

Auld School return to Street Machine Weekend For a Concert for a Cause. Photo by Richard Amery Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns returns to Lethbridge the play the Windy City Opry at the Slice, Wednesday, July 10 with Carolyn Mark. That show starts at 8 p.m. sharp. There is a $10 cover. He sticks around town to play Casino Lethbridge, Friday and Saturday in between gigs in Calgary for Stampede.
Kitchener fiddle powered duo A New Ground also play Calgary for Stampede, but they stop by Average Joes for a free show, Thursday, July 11.

While it is Stampede time in Calgary, it is Street Wheelers weekend in Lethbridge, which means there is more live music than usual around to accompany the cornucopia of classic cars and roadsters roaring around town. Fast Times help kick off Street Wheelers Weekend on Thursday at Exhibition Park at 7 p.m. Their show will be followed by a drive in move screening of “Days of Thunder.”

 There will be a beer garden and show and shine in Galt Gardens with live music over the weekend.
 That means while Shakespeare in the Park is in Galt Gardens, at 7 p.m. on Thursday with their production of Macbeth, they hit the road on Friday night to play the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod at 7:30 p.m., Friday July 12.

 Back home there will be live music in Galt Gardens at Jess F.M.’s beer garden. The Concert For A Cause begins at 6 p.m..with local ’80s rock band Auld School performing. The family friendly event features live music with performers to be announced. Donations will be accepted for Big Brothers and Sisters of Lethbridge. Another annual Street Wheelers fundraising show takes place in the alley behind Union Barbershop across from Galt Gardens. Coinciding with Street Wheelers’ show and shine, the Third Annual Back Alley Bash begins at noon, featuring local funk rock trio Adequate, roots rockers Biloxi Parish and ;local surf band the Atomicos playing from 1-4 p.m.. Donations will be taken for Misty Creek Dog Rescue and Last Chance Cat Ranch


Sean Burns returns to Lethbridge for several shows this week with new CD

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Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns is excited to return to Southern Alberta for a spate of shows including a couple of Calgary Stampede shows.Sean Burns returns to the Windy City Opry and Casino Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 He plays the Windy City Opry at the Slice with Carolyn Mark, Wednesday, July 17, and will be at Casino Lethbridge Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13.
“ I’m in Edmonton now and I’m playing Soulfest in Twin Butte (July 5-6),” Burns said on Friday.

 He will be joined by lead guitarist and Lethbridge’s Tyler Bird on drums, bassist Paul Holden and Skinny Dyck.
 He is touring in support of an innovative new CD “A Night of Country Music featuring Sean Burns and Lost Country, which he created as a pledge incentive for  the University of Winnipeg radio station CKUW’s annual fundrive.

“ I do a show called Boots and Saddle which is a lot like Skinny Dyck and T Bird’s Chin up Record Club ion CKXU. So I put on a show at (popular Winnipeg venue) Times Changed  High And Lonesome Club and invited all of these musicians like Del Barber and Andrew Neville to play with me and the host band. So it was different to have them playing with a different band. And all of the proceeds go back to the radio station,” he said.

The other guests include Skinny Dyck, Sol James, Frannie Klein, Gerry McIvor and Andrew Neville.
“It‘s getting a lot of play at the university and on community radio stations,“ he said.


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