Emily Cupples and Dan Vasquez rehearsed their roles as Mathilda and Shuman in a past Red Deer Player’s show. file photo

Red Deer Players introducing ‘Breaking Cover’

Audiences can enjoy compelling new plays and offer feedback

The talented troupe behind the Red Deer Players Society continues to break new creative ground in spreading the word about what they have to offer.

The theatre company behind such theatrical offerings such as Mass Appeal, Twelve Angry Men and Calendar Girls is gearing up for a whole new way to explore theatre in the community.

‘Breaking Cover’ makes its debut Sept. 23rd in the Snell Auditorium of the Red Deer Public Library downtown. The new series features rehearsed readings of exciting new plays from Alberta playwrights, where the audience will not only have the fun of watching compelling dramas or sparkling comedies, but they will also have the chance to offer feedback on the production as well.

Things get underway at 1:45 p.m.

“Local actor Blaine Newton has been involved in something called Script Salon in Edmonton,” said Lori Lane of the Red Deer Players of the inspiration to launch Breaking Cover.

”It’s something that started off about four or five years ago, and it’s really taken off – they are doing one a month now.

“At the same time, Red Deer Players is so new, and we kind of jumped into some big stuff. But the base of ‘doers’ is pretty small. So this year we decided that instead of trying to do yet another really big production, we would look at doing a series of smaller things aimed at reaching out to different people and broadening the awareness of who we are and what we are doing,” she explained.

The idea of collaborating with playwrights seemed like an interesting path to take.

“Also, about a year or so ago, I was asked to do a presentation by the Friends of the Library as part of their ‘Let’s Talk About the Arts’ series. So I made a connection with them at that point.”

Lane later wondered if perhaps the Friends of the Library group might be interested in teaming up for a partnership for something like Breaking Cover.

“To do something like this, you need a consistent venue. So I was thinking about the Snell Auditorium, which is ideal for this.”

She pitched the idea and the folks from the Library were enthusiastically onboard.

As mentioned, Breaking Cover kicks off Sept. 23rd with additional plays running Dec. 9th, Jan 13th, March 10th and May 26th.

Kicking things off is a play by Newton called The Thin Grey Line, and will be directed by Lane.

The show also features a superb cast including Keith Ainscough, Ashley Mercia, Nigel Lane and Paul Boultbee.

“It’s intended to be kind of the last step in the process of creating a play,” said Lane. “You then add to it the element of doing this in front of an audience, and the playwrights can see if they are reaching the audience in the way they had hoped.”

Each and every session promises to be a thoroughly engaging, creatively-rich, fun and perhaps even challenging opportunity for all involved.

“It doesn’t come with the full staging – there’s no costuming, no props, no set, no special effects – it’s just the ‘read’. So it puts a pretty big responsibility on the actors to get it across.”

But at the same time, Lane sees Breaking Cover as a tremendous opportunity to not only introduce Red Deer Players to more people, but to also hopefully get more folks onboard in working and volunteering with the troupe in any number of ways.

So far, submissions have been a stellar mix of of dramas and comedies – a perfect balance. As to drawing in actors, Lane said they’ve put out an open call. “If this takes off, our full intention is to increase the frequency of Breaking Cover.

“So if we all of a sudden find ourselves doing one a month, we can’t be putting out a call for auditions for each play. So what we have done is to build a pool – we’ve got about 16 actors.

“The idea is that we get our scripts, and we go to our pool. And I think we always want to be replenishing that pool as more people find out about it and are interested.”

There is no admission charge for Breaking Cover performances, but support via a silver donation at the door is appreciated.

For more, check out www.reddeerplayers.com.

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