With the holiday season approaching, Central Albertans are invited to join their family and friends for Red Deer College’s theatrical production of Robin Hood.
The classic tale is a large-scale production, presented by students in the School of Creative Arts, and it will provide plenty of action and adventure for the whole family.
Performances run on the Arts Centre mainstage from Nov. 24th to Nov. 26th and Nov. 30th to Dec. 3rd with curtain at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees are scheduled for Nov. 26th and Dec. 3rd at 1 p.m.
“We have a cast of 15 student actors who play 40 different parts,” explains guest director Kevin McKendrick. “Every student plays one major role, as well as two to three smaller parts, so this is a tremendous learning opportunity for them.”
Calgary-based McKendrick, who is also an accomplished performer, producer, teacher and arts administrator in his own right, directed last season’s charming production of Almost, Maine and the hugely popular Lend Me a Tenor several years back for RDC as well.
In preparation for the major undertaking of Robin Hood, students have been rehearsing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days per week, for the three weeks leading up to opening night.
“For students, rehearsals become their classes, and they dedicate themselves to this production,” McKendrick said.
“This replicates what happens in the professional world, so it’s a great way for them to learn these skills in a College setting.”
McKendrick noted the actors have also been learning other skills, such as stage combat using the quarter staff, broad swords and hand-to-hand combat, and all students have also participated in archery training.
In addition to the performances on stage, the technical crew is also an essential part of making the production a reality.
“The students who are involved in the behind-the-scenes areas are a critical part of the team,” said McKendrick.
“There are opportunities for special effects with the archery matches that take place, and the set and props are all exceptional, creating the world of Robin Hood.”
McKendrick said he believes this will be a great play for audiences this season.
“We’ll be using storytelling techniques that are crystal clear and great for family audiences,” he says.
“Plus, Robin Hood is a rollicking good experience, as it’s a tale tested by time.”
This particular rendition was adapted by Ruth Smillie, a native of Vanderhoof, B.C.
In 1974, she moved to Toronto to study acting at Ryerson University, and worked as an actor at 25th Street Theatre during the summers. In 1981, Smillie was invited to start Persephone Theatre Youtheatre in Saskatoon.
While working as the artistic director of Persephone Youtheatre, she was asked to develop a theatre program for students at the Saskatoon Native Survival School in collaboration with Kelly Murphy and Maria Campbell. She taught and directed the theatre program at the Saskatoon Native Survival School until 1985.
In 1998, she was appointed artistic director and CEO of Globe Theatre in Regina.
Smillie has also landed several accolades over the years including the YWCA Women of Distinction Arts Award in 2004 and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal. In 2008, she was named as one of 10 Women of Influence by SaskBusiness Magazine.
Tickets for Robin Hood are available online through the Black Knight Ticket Centre.