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Hootenanny explores friendship and acceptance in There’s a Turtle in my Tub

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Get ready to have a hoot in Galt Gardens with New West Theatre’s summer production of Hootenanny — There’s A Turtle in my Tub, running at 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday through Saturday , in the shade across the street from Park Place Mall until the end of July.

Hootenanny’s July production There’s a Turtle in My Tub opened this week. Photo by Richard Amery


Instead of creating a devised theatre production from scratch like usual, the cast, crew and directors expanded on Nicola Elson’s script “There’s a Turtle In my Tub.” She produced it for a theatre company in Calgary.


“ It’s the skeleton. I had this script and it has never been done here,” said Elson.


Assistant director Ahona Saynal, who has been involved with the past four of  the five productions of Hootenanny, mostly on stage, is helping direct.


 The half hour show is about Mabel, a non binary kid with a vivid imagination, who is always panicking after hearing noises in their room, until one day they discover a turtle named Seymour in their bathtub and decides to help him return home.


“There is a mailman, submarine captain and a hot air balloon pilot, but really the turtle is just looking for a friend. It is a play about worry, imagination, acceptance and friendship,” Elson summarized adding the show includes lots of puppets, colour and action.


Because Hootenanny is under the New West Theatre Banner, which allows them access to  more grants to hire university students for the summer, this show features live music for the first time from Nis Sherman who provides a live soundtrack to the antics and puppetry of Achilles Friessen, Parker Hickerty and Mirielle Nieuwenhuis.


“Usually  it’s canned music. Nis will also be part of New West Theatre’s summer show,” Elson said.


Elson observed Hootenanny’s focus is on theatre for young people, but it also gives up and coming actors and directors from the university to get their foot in the proverbial stage door.


Playgoers of Lethbridge preparing for Fall pantomime with open auditions

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Playgoers of Lethbridge is winding up  their 100th anniversary year by putting on a pantomime — something they haven’t done in a very long time.

 They are  putting on  The Snow Queen, a Hans Christian Andersen tale adapted by Alan Frayn.

“It‘s a play that uses stereotypical characters. There’s the dame, the villain, the principal boy, the principal girl, the simple Simon and the wise man,” said director Elaine Jagielski who has always wanted to produce a pantomime.

 She enjoyed the story of the Snow Queen.

“ I read the script and thought it was really funny,” she said

 She is holding auditions for the show  in the casa community room, Tuesday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m..

 She is looking for approximately 20 actors  (nine main roles) and possibly as many as 30 with a variety of skills including drama, dance and singing. Though not all characters dance and sing.


Lethbridge Musical Theatre needs a few good men for the Full Monty musical

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Lethbridge Musical Theatre is looking for a few good men, aged 20-50 with a song in their hearts and who are comfortable with their bodies and who are willing to “risk it all ”for their  Fall, winter production of  The Full Monty.


 Auditions are Sunday, June 25 from 1-5 p.m. and Monday June 26, 5-9 p.m. for the production, which will run Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 1-4 in the Yates Theatre.

Jillian Bracken is musical director for LMT's production of the Full Monty. Photo by Richard Amery


 The musical, based on the hit 1997 British movie was Americanized and debuted on Broadway in 2000.


 Director Andrew Andreachuk is excited to work with musical director Jillian Bracken and choreographer, New West Theatre veteran Jessica Ens on a show Lethbridge has never seen before.


“I worked with Jillian in 9 to 5 and have been in several Lethbridge Musical Theatre musicals. Jillian was passionate about the show so we brought it to the board who were excited to work with us,” Andreachuk said.


“It’s a very smart show that explores body image issues.  Which is even more important today. The music is great and it subverts traditional roles as it’s the men who have to bare all to make it work. LMT hasn’t done anything like it,” he said.

The show takes place in Buffalo, where a group of laid off steel mill workers  decide to present a strip act after seeing their wives get  excited over a touring Chippendales act.



Playgoers of Lethbridge preparing for two new Fall plays with open auditions

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There are a number of plays being staged in the fall and winter, so if you want to have some fun, meet a lot of great people and  be a star, your chance is coming up.


Playgoers of Lethbridge  winds up their 100 anniversary celebrations with a pair of great shows in October and  November.


The long standing theatre troupe is staging a dinner theatre of  Ken Ludwig’s 2012 comedy “ The Games Afoot below the Keg, Oct. 17-21 .

 Auditions are this Thursday, June 22 in the casa community room.


 Hatrix Theatre staged the production in 2016, but director Rita Peterson in 2016 but didn’t see it.


“I really love Ken Ludwig.  He has several plays, like  ‘Leading Ladies’ and ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ and a lot of others that are very funny,” Peterson said, adding Playgoer’s mainstay Shelly David, who produced Hatrix’s  production of the play, brought The Game’s Afoot to her attention. It‘s been about 10 years since they did it,” Peterson said.


“It’s a period piece. it takes place in 1936, and I don’t usually like to go back that far, but it’s such a cute play,” Peterson enthused.


The Game’s Afoot is about theatre veteran  and playwright William Gillette, who has written a long running play about Sherlock Holmes, and who sees himself as being like Holmes,  who  invites his friends in the cast to his mansion for Christmas Eve in 1936 in the middle of a storm as a poison pen theatre critic named Daria Chase pays them a visit, which leads to complications and hilarity as they hold a seance to find out who attempted to murder Gillette as well as the doorman at the theatre where they were performing.

The cast includes three men and five women aged 20 to 70 plus.

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