The Red Deer College first year theatre arts students presented their debut public theatrical performance last week at the Scott Block Theatre in collaboration with Red Deer’s Centennial committee.
The 19 first year students’ assignment was the Red Deer Project, a collective collaboration project in which the students had to work together to create a 25 minute production on Red Deer’s history, industry and recreation activities.
“It’s meant to get them out into Red Deer and get them to get to know Red Deer,” said Lynda Adams, Theatre Arts program director, during an interview before the showing of the project.
“This will be their home for the next couple of years as some students may be from Red Deer, but many are not.”
Adams explained that the project allows them to dig into the history, industry and recreation by dividing the students into groups to research a particular area.
“They interview people and go through the archives and search the museum and of course they Google to find out as much as they can about these things,” said Adams.
“Then they actually create dramatic pieces based on the research they did.”
The students’ skills were put to the test as they wrote their own scripts in their groups and then came together as a whole to form transitions and create a common theme. “They have a really fun time doing it,” said Adams.
“It builds ensemble and gets them used to working with each other through all of the negotiation and compromising that happens during that time.
“This is the first year that we have done the Red Deer Project where we actually went outside of the College and really into Red Deer.”
The script depicted Red Deer’s past, present and future through a series of characters playing Red Deerians.
It touched on Red Deer’s original given name of Waskasoo, the great fire of 1904, the City’s famed Francis the pig, as well as some of Red Deer’s originals settlers that included Rev. Leonard Gaetz.
The script also incorporated current hot buttons issues such as bike lanes, oil spills, the growing population, and the Michener Centre’s troubled past with sterilization and whether or not the centre should be closed.
In a comedic presentation of fact, the theatre arts students performed an entertaining piece that those in attendance agreed every Red Deerian should watch.
“I think that what’s happened is that it has heightened the reality of actually performing because usually they would just be in their classrooms,” said Adams.
“But now they are out in front of people and bringing it to the community, because in the end it’s about the community for the community.”