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May the Fourth be with you for this year’s Children’s festival

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Star Wars soars for  the seventh annual Lethbridge Children’s Festival which celebrates Star Wars weekend with a variety of Star Wars related activities d May 4 and 5.Darth Vader and Chewbacca hanging out with robot Yoda. Photo by Richard Amery.
There will be several Star Wars themed activities happening during the popular annual family event, including a meet and greet and photo opportunities with Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and the Star Wars van.


“There’s a slew of stuff. We have a lot going on for this children’s festival,” said Exhibition park marketing manager Doug Kryzanowski.
 The hours are Friday, May 4 from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday May 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


There will be over 21 entertainment and interactive events happening this year , plus a trade show, special guests and much more.
 While in previous years, some events were pay as you go, this year everything is free of charge with your $5 admission.


“We have a lot of great entertainment lined up this year for children’s festival, not only Star Wars things, but it is May 4 and Star Wars weekend, so we wanted to do a little bit of stuff based around that. But we have a lot of great children’s entertainment this year and a lot of new things this year,” said  entertainment co-ordinator Jackie French.


“One of our main acts this year is a motivational educational guy name Steve Harmer who does a motivational magic show. He’s toured western Canada he’s gone to a lot of schools, he has chosen to combine his skills as an educator and an entertainer to present motivational magic to communicate all across Western Canada. Though the use of his magic, juggling, comedy, music and storytelling, Steve delivers meaningful message that inspire educate and motivate children and adults,” she described.


 Harmer will be performing a couple shows a day on the Movie Mill Stage, located in the South Pavilion at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.Doug Kryzanowski announces the highlights of this year’s Children’s Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 “We also have Princess story-time. The princesses attending will be Rapunzel, Cinderella and Beauty. They will be doing an awesome stage show and storytelling show in full costumes as well as doing a singalong  with the kids,” French continued.


 After each show, twice a day they will be doing meet and greets in the enchanted forest at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m..
 “In our Star Wars interactive area we’ll be doing photo ops with Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren and the Star Wars van will be there. We encourage adults as well as kids to come dressed as your favourite Star Wars Character and have a chat with robotic Yoda. We will also have the Black Shadow Clone trooper mini-car in  that Star Wars interactive areas,” French said.


There will be more Star Wars photo ops with 501 first Legion Vader’s Fist.
 “They come dressed in costume and they accept donations, which are going straight to BACA (Bikers against Child abuse.).”
 Back by popular demand, VRKADE virtual reality games returns and the main pavilion will be dedicated to inflatable jumps. Wendy and the Frosty will be visiting including visits from Frosty Cup and the red heady Wendy girl herself.


 In addition to Star Wars, the Ghostbusters, Stay Puft and Ectro Truck will be on hand throughout the festival for photo opportunities.
There are several new features this year including laser tag from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day in the South Pavilion.
“New this year there will be a big area in South Pavilion for laser tag. So all the kids can come play laser tag,” she said.

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One Act Play festival brings female perspectives to stage

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A sold out One Act play festival at Casa, April 6 had a strongly female perspective.Helen won Playgoers of Lethbridge’s  One Act play competition at Casa, April 6. Photo by Richard Amery
 So much so that there was only one male actor in a minor role in the whole evening.


In addition to being all female actors, the evening featured all original scripts as well.
 The first and longest play, “Helen” by University of Lethbridge student and playwright Megan Couch explored the Sack of Troy from a female perspective.

Love‘s Best By at the one Act Play Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
The actors all played multiple roles, both male and females utilizing masks and various hand props. They also featured the one male actor, making a jarring entrance at the end as Agamemnon looking for his wife “Helen” who had disfigured herself to avoid being recognized after telling her story and trying to defend herself against a group of angry residents blaming her for the attack.

The result was equally moving, disturbing and thought provoking, and ended up winning best script and best play with good reason.
It will be eligible to compete in the Provincial competition on Fort McMurray in May.


Playgoers of Lethbridge, who host the annual event, brought their entry next.
 Elaine Jagielski penned her the script “Love’s Best By” exploring a  group of friends meeting over a glass of wine to discuss their lives and focusing on their friend , Cathy, played by Jocelyn Steinborn, who made the tough decision of telling her friends about dating a younger man, who had once baby sat her children. It played like an episode of the Golden Girls on stage. There were a lot of heartwarming moments and lots of humour which the audience really appreciated after the heaviness of the first play. Steinborn ended up winning the best actress award for this year.
The festival ended on another sad and disturbing note.

Madeline Smith in If there’s one Thing I Know is True. Photo by Richard Amery
“If There’s One Thing I Know is True” was the one woman show about a young university student negotiating the perils of young adulthood including room mates, depression, frenemies, frats and eventually a date rape.


 Madeline Smith, who I barely recognized since I last saw her in last year’s Shakespeare in the Park’s production of A Comedy of Errors, did an outstanding job exploring a numerous facets of her character, not to mention learning all of her lines. Though, I like  adjudicator Greg McArthur, had a little trouble determining the meaning of voice over dialogue.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor

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LIFS brings local film makers together

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Horror is in the blood for local film maker Charlie Christensen.
 Last April, Christensen and director /writer Thorsten Nesch entered the Straight 8 film competition, with a three minute some short called Scarlett Gloves based on a Sir William Scott short story.Charlie Christensen and Thorsten Nesch with a photo of the actors from #partytime. Photo by Richard Amery
“It is an 8 mm film competition. So you have to shoot it all on one roll of film. There are no edits. That’s part of the challenge. The deadline was last April. I couldn’t go, because I’m broke, but just to make the cut was impressive,” Christensen said, adding the winners of that were screened at the Cannes Film Festival.


 They didn’t even get to see the final product as they had to send the film undeveloped.

Local composer Nick Bohl, who worked on Christensen’s full length horror feature the Harvestman, in 2009. They synchronized the music with the film without seeing it as well.
“It’s about a man who becomes so engrossed in a story that it becomes real,” Christensen said.


The duo are part of a new Lethbridge not-for profit independent film collective called LIFS (Lethbridge Independent Film Society) featuring film makers, writers, directors and producers.
They meet every month to talk about films, film making, strategies, skills, grant application and work together on each other‘s projects. The group, which formed a year ago, currently has 20 members.
“We’ve had two events to screen each other‘s projects— one in November and the other in April, Christensen said.


“It’s great, there is so much talent here,” said Nesch, who is a best selling and award winning author and playwright in Germany.
He moved to Canada with his wife and settled in Victoria  and then Calgary before finding Lethbridge was not only cheaper to live, but also discovering how much talent there is here.
“I was really amazed by how much talent there is in this city of 100,000,” Nesch said.


“I have published 14 novels in Germany in all different genres. I’m a publisher’s nightmare. They want me to  write the same thing over again, but I don’t want to do that. I write horror, adventure and even humour. I can be funny even though I’m German,” he laughed.

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One Act Drama Festival features more original works this year

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Come to Casa, April 6 for a great night of mostly original plays during the annual One Act Drama Festival.Rita Peterson and Kate Connolly are excited for this year’s One Act Play Festival at Casa, April 6. photo by Richard Amery
Organizers received three plays right on the March 16 deadline.


“It will be an action packed feast of theatre, enthused organizer Kate Connolly, noting sponsors Playgoers of Lethbridge are excited to present the event.
 All entries will be adjudicated. There will be awards for best original script, best play, best actor and best actress. The winner can go to Fort McMurray to compete in the provincial One Act Play festival, May 25 and 26.


 ADFA (Alberta Drama Festival Association) covers some mileage and accommodations expenses for the winner.
There will be familiar faces from Playgoers of Lethbridge, Shakespeare In The Park and the University of Lethbridge including Cole Fetting, who is in Edward Albee‘s 1958 play Zoo story about two men sitting on a bench  talking about their lives in a material world and reasons for visiting the zoo.

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