Sunday September 21, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Theatre's attendance was up in 2014

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The Souris Valley Theatre enjoyed an increase in attendance for its two productions during the 2014 theatre season, according to theatre manager Jocelyn Anderson.

The Marvellous Wonderettes and The Odd Couple each ran for three weeks during the summer. Wonderettes was performed in the first three weeks of July, spanning from July 3 to 19; while Odd Couple was staged in late July and the first two weeks of August.

Performances were from July 23 to August 9.

While the final attendance tally is still being calculated, Anderson said they know they had more people at the productions than last year, when there were three shows.

Total attendance for Wonderettes and Odd Couple was similar, she said.

“I know that The Marvellous Wonderettes started lower, and gained people in terms of numbers each night, while The Odd Couple was more consistent through the whole run,” said Anderson.

Anderson said The Odd Couple might have had a few more spectators initially because those who attended the first show were aware of when the second production would take place.

The Odd Couple also featured the talents of local performers Joshua Pele and Jan Michael Bourgeois. People were excited to see a couple of local young performers in the play, Anderson said.

The theatre will need to look for ways to attract even more people next year, she said.

Anderson said they have received excellent feedback on the shows. Spectators enjoyed the performances and the performers who were on the stage.

“Everything I have heard has been wonderfully positive,” said Anderson. “Everyone enjoys being down at the theatre. For the cast and crew, it sounds like they had a great time.”

There was also a nice contrast between the two productions, too, she said. Wonderettes was a musical with leading actors who are female, while Odd Couple was a play with mostly males in the cast.

“The time period (1950s and 1960s) was the only thing that was similar,” said Anderson.

Anderson said the theatre operations were also smoother this year, since it was the second year for the theatre's rebirth following the flood of 2011. Many of the theatre's workers are in their second year with the organization, and so they benefitted from the year of experience.

The theatre's summer camps are also wrapping up. Their Act III camp – a two-week session for young people ages 13 to 16 – will conclude with a performance in the evening of August 15.

They had excellent numbers for the first two camps, Anderson said. Seventeen were registered for the first camp, and 15 were in the second. They had six for the Act III camp.

“Next year we're probably going to discuss expanding them so that we have a little more room, and possibly offer more weeks,” said Anderson.

Young people had a great time at the camps, she said.

“The feedback from the parents was positive,” Anderson said.

Act III was a two-week camp, while the others were just one-week in duration, and Anderson said Act III's length might have discouraged some young people from attending.

The theatre still has three special events planned for the next few weeks. The first will be their Summer's End concert on Saturday, August 23. It will feature the musical talents of several musicians with southeast connections: Karissa Dawn Hoffart of Gladmar, Radville's Lexie Tytlandsvik, Estevan's Spencer Vaughn Lafrentz and the Chris Henderson Band.

The band is fronted by Henderson, who is a former Estevan resident.

Three nights later, the theatre will have a special one-night showing of Rider Girl, which is Colleen Sutton's one-woman play that pays tribute to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and chronicles how the ups-and-downs of the team have been reflected in her own life.

Rider Girl was among the plays performed at the theatre last year.

Finally, country musician Blake Berglund, who hails from Carlyle, and Saskatchewan jazz musician Belle Plaine will be performing at a fundraiser for the theatre on Saturday, September 13.

Proceeds from the Berglund-Belle Plaine concert, as well as Summer's End, will be directed towards the purchase of new lighting for the theatre. Anderson said the acquisition of their own lighting means they don't have to rent lights anymore, and they'll be able to offer shows throughout the summer.

 


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