CLASSIC - Jason Steele, right, and Paul Boultbee rehearse the Red Deer Players production of Mass Appeal at the Scott Block Theatre in Red Deer in early 2016. The theatre company is holding several events over the next while to continue to build stronger ties within the community. Red Deer Express file photo

Red Deer Players continue to build community presence

Several upcoming events planned to bolster community engagement

Production by production, the talented folks behind Red Deer Players are continuing to build a solid presence in the community. But they want to bolster that presence even further.

To that end, several events are planned over the coming months to further connect with audiences and network with those who might wish to get involved with the troupe.

“Red Deer Players is pretty new – we’ve only been around for about three years. Within those three years, we’ve done some pretty ambitious (projects),” said Lori Lane, a member of the Players who has also directed some of the troupe’s most powerful shows including Mass Appeal, Twelve Angry Men and Calendar Girls.

“Really, these were done by a small core of very passionate people.

“This year, we took a look at that and said how do we maintain that standard and maintain the passion in our people without burning people out? That’s a pretty typical thing in volunteer organizationns, no matter what kind of organization it is.”

Lane said organizers opted this year to try and reach out to more of the community – to share more about what the Red Deer Players are about, with the goal of getting more onboard in any number of capacities.

“We want to say, ‘Hey, this is what we are all about. If there is something in there that strikes your passion or your curiosity, what can we do for you to make your volunteer life something fun, interesting and fulfilling?”

Lane said the Players are creating a series of different kinds of events, including the coming ‘Spotlight on the Art of Paul Boultbee’ which runs May 25th.

“Paul has done a couple of shows with us, so what he’s going to do is bridge the gap between visual arts and the stage, and talk about the synergies that are created when we collaborate,” she explained. “It’s about a 40 minute presentation with a chance to also dialogue with Paul.”

Members of the Red Deer Players have also headed out as a group to various shows of late, to show their support and of course enjoy the experience of a ’live’ show.

“It works great for those who are also on their own and wouldn’t necessarily want to go to a show by themselves. We’ve done a couple of those.

“We also held a one-day directing workshop where we had 16 people from all over come to that – it was really, really great, and Theatre Alberta also assisted us with that.”

Another project coming up springs from a partnership with Friends of the Library.

“We are calling it ‘Breaking Cover’ – it’s going to be a series of play readings. The first one will be on September 23rd, and they are going to run about every eight weeks after that in the Snell Auditorium on Sunday afternoons.

“There are playwrights in the area who are working on plays that are at the stage where they need to see how the work lands with an audience. So what we will do are rehearsed readings of the play with the playwright present.

“The role of the audience will be different in that they aren’t going to just get a chance to sit back and enjoy the show.

“They will also be there to give feedback to the playwright and the actors about what they’ve seen and experienced. They will be right involved with the creative process.”

Another exciting development of late is that the Carole Forhan Theatrical Arts Scholarship has been officially established.

The scholarship is in memory of Forhan, a beloved member of the arts community who was very instrumental in launching the Red Deer Players from the start.

“We are now in the process of getting the application forms and procedures onto our web site. So what we are seeing in the near future, is that we will want to do a formal launching of that.”

For more about the Red Deer Players and any of the events listed above, check out www.reddeerplayers.com or email reddeerplayers@gmail.com. They can also be found on facebook at ‘Red Deer Players Society’.

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