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Third annual production in support of Pregnancy Care Centre coming up

FOR A CAUSE - Cast members rehearsed a scene from their upcoming production of What We Didn’t Know. Performances run April 6th-8th at the Memorial Centre.

 - Zachary Cormier/Red Deer Express
FOR A CAUSE - Cast members rehearsed a scene from their upcoming production of What We Didn’t Know. Performances run April 6th-8th at the Memorial Centre.
— image credit: Zachary Cormier/Red Deer Express
A fascinating dramatic musical production in support of the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre is coming up in April.

This year’s event - entitled What We Didn’t Know - has been penned by acclaimed playwright and former Red Deer resident Andrew Kooman, whose own play She Has A Name was released as a successful film late last year.

What We Didn’t Know, under the direction of Annette Bradley and Laura Geelen, runs April 6th to April 8th at the Memorial Centre.

Curtain is 7 p.m. There is a matinee on April 8th at 2:30 p.m. as well.

A synopsis reads, “What We Didn’t Know gives snapshots from the lives of four inspiring historical figures. The frame around each of these snapshots is another consequential decision made on that first Easter, a decision which not only still inspires and empowers, but makes sense of every act of Christian love, sacrifice, and faith made since.”

The inspirational production focuses on how various people received a calling of on their lives, and answered the call, including Olympian Eric Liddell and several involved in the abolition of the slave trade including Hannah More, William Wilberforce and the famed hymn writer John Newton (Amazing Grace). Each of these remarkable people wielded a profound influence through their lives’ work and various ministries.

“We are learning about some of our Christian heritage - and how God’s plan and call have come through different people,” explained Geelen. “That’s what has struck me - seeing that call of God right from the beginning.

“The actors have also really developed their characters and brought out so much.”

Bradley agreed. “Andrew has extracted some excellent material. To say what he’s able to say in these 10 to 15-minute vignettes is just really neat. You learn so much.”

Meanwhile, the musical score features a compelling range of tunes and a 45-voice chorus.

Proceeds will support phase two of the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Maternity home.

Last year more than 1,700 people came to the three performances at CrossRoads Church and in 2015 more than 2,400 came to the four performances at the Memorial Centre. This year’s performance marks the third in what organizers have planned to be a five-year run of staging quality and very inspiring shows to help support a tremendous cause.

“Basically, it’s five individual vignettes if you will,” explained Geelen. “Wilberforce and Newton are the first, and then we go to Hanna More who was their contemporary.

“She talks about her ministry, and what she has done. And then we go to a lesser known missionary named Rosalind Goforth who was a missionary in China during the Boxer Rebellion,” she said.

“A lot of people don’t know about it, and that many, many people were killed during the Rebellion including many nationals and many Christians - just for being Christians,” she added. “For the last vignette, we go to Eric Liddell (whose story is depicted in the award-winning film Chariots of Fire). He grew up as a missionary in China. After his education and his running career, he went back to China and was in a Japanese internment camp there.”

There is a key scene that closes the show that organizers don’t want to give away, but they ensure that audiences will know the characters.

Altogether, the production promises to be a thoroughly inspiring affair. And although the characters were involved in primarily serious endeavours, the story isn’t without humour. “Hannah More and her sister Patty infuse a little bit of humour in there,” added Geelen, who is playing the part of More as well.

“Andrew uses symbolism, and this year he has included more multi-media. We have dancers, we have a children’s choir, we have an adult choir, we have actors and also musicians,” pointed out Bradley. “What’s also neat about it is that he’s also tied in some spirituals this year because of Wilberforce and More and their connection to the abolition of the slave trade, too. So there is a real variety of music.”

More than 25 church and community groups are involved in the cast and chorus, so the event is really a wonderful community building effort as well, said Bradley, adding that pianist, Matthew Peavoy will be performing prelude music ahead of each performance. “We have many new faces this year too, so there are a lot of new relationships being built, too.”

Tickets are free, and donations, as mentioned, will be accepted towards the CAPCC Maternity Home.

For more information, check out www.pregnancycare.ca/events.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com

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