New theatre company for St. Albert

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Group meets to start up adult troupe for city

A group of passionate thespians are one step closer to formalizing arrangements to create an adult amateur theatre company in St. Albert, a cultural entity that has been absent for more than 25 years.

Its working title is St. Albert Community Theatre and several key members are already taking steps to incorporate it. “It’s important to incorporate not just to apply for funding, but also to get support from businesses,” said Stanley Haroun, the company’s driving force.

More than 30 people showed up to the first public meeting Monday at Progress Hall in St. Albert Place after Haroun, a local health care professional, placed an advertisement in the Gazette.

Haroun initially expected fewer numbers but was clearly jubilant with the turnout. “It was extremely positive. The level of enthusiasm is great. The level of talent is great. It’s actually a bit overwhelming for me.”

The theatre aficionados came from every walk of life — teachers, government employees, professional and semi-professional actors, playwrights, students, a lawyer, bus driver, nanny and a few retirees. In addition to acting, most brought a healthy variety of skills to the table in directing, playwriting and backstage production.

Most were there because they saw the lack of an adult-driven theatre troupe as a “gaping hole” in an otherwise rich cultural community. Local actor Corey Rogers (Rent) moved to St. Albert from Grande Prairie with his wife Beth where he was quite active in the northern city’s theatre scene. “I was surprised there was no adult theatre here especially since the children’s theatre is so well supported,” he said.

Throughout the 90-minute meeting, many voices contributed their expectations and visions for the company in addition to ideas for diverse plays to perform.

Haroun mentioned that the StArts Festival, as part of Alberta Arts Days running from Sept. 17 to 19, is showcasing four original plays. Adjudicator Tracy Aisenstat has invited the newbie company to provide actors and directors for polished readings. Several fists pumped the air at realizing the company’s debut is about two months away.

Funding is crucial to future successes. At the moment, the novice theatre group has no money in the kitty and Haroun has been paying out of pocket for preliminary expenses.

However, former St. Albert Children’s Theatre alumna Veronica Masik, now a third year psychology major at the University of Alberta, has volunteered to organize a cabaret fundraiser.

“There’s a lot of variety and opportunity for everyone to show off their best talent,” Masik said. “A cabaret pushes the envelope a little more and it can be really fun. There’s more audience interaction and it breaks the fourth wall.”

Masik will be searching for a diversity of talent to make the cabaret a success. If you sing, dance, do monologues, improv, stand-up comedy, magic or juggling contact Masik at masik@ualberta.ca.

For questions about St. Albert Community Theatre, email Haroun at sharoun@telusplanet.net.

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Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.