Community members of all ages turned out to the first rehearsal meeting of the Lacombe Community Theatre

Lacombe theatre sets the stage, holds rehearsals for production

New performing arts initiative encourages community involvement

The Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation has funded the starting of a brand new performing arts project; the Lacombe Community Theatre, which is the brainchild of Shalee Healing and Grant Harder.

Healing explained the Foundation gave them a monetary donation of $1,000 to start their project, and also organized a space for them to rehearse and perform in.

“It was the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation that got the stage for us. They are the ones that negotiated with the St. Andrew’s United Church on our behalf, so they’re the ones who arranged all that for us.”

Experienced in theatre herself, Healing has not only organized much of the project but is now taking the role of director, and will be writing the first of many productions orchestrated by the Lacombe theatre group. She said although rehearsals will be long and they are looking for many, many members to help out, the first production will be under, “Lock and key,” from the public to hold mystery and suspense.

“My first play I was in Grade 5 and that definitely inspired me to have a love for theater. I know that it seems like a long time ago, but that’s what started it. I’ve done musicals before in high school and that sort of thing so I’m just taking the experiences that I’ve had and (turning) them into stage knowledge.”

The idea, now only a month old, has a lot of work to be done in the short amount of time, and with rehearsals just held on Mondays, Healing is planning on making every rehearsal count as best they can.

“What we’re going to be doing is a systematic process of learning and teaching throughout, based on the specific show that we’re going to be running,” she explained. “So, we’ll be teaching techniques along the way like how to be comfortable in your own body, how to become comfortable with memorization, how to develop your character with its uniqueness, how to do your own theatre makeup, how to do your own hair and building a costume around a character.”

Healing added because of the teachings that will be demonstrated in rehearsals, those with basically no experience will be taking a lot out of the process and those who have experience will be helpful in regards to teaching others and helping with direction.

With uniqueness in mind for every aspect of the production, Healing will be writing the play herself along with help from fellow writers and said the play is going to be full of Lacombe talent, just as planned.

“We’re not buying a production, we’re not buying a play, we’re actually producing our own work so we’ll be writing the script itself, it’s not finished yet so right now we’re just recruiting for cast members and crew and that sort of thing. We’ll be writing unique plays each year I’m hoping, and that way we can bring out as much talent in the community as possible, even writers. And that’s the idea is to bring out as much talented people from the community as possible.”

To make it as ‘Lacombe original’ as possible, the Lacombe theatre is seeking volunteers of many skill levels which include dancers, actors, crew members and musicians.

“That’s why it’s a community theatre because we need the entire community behind us.”

In regards to personal experience, Healing realizes how important the arts and culture are to both the community and the individuals who reside within. She said her years of being involved with the arts have proved to her that these experiences hold so much personal gain for those invested.

“It does change lives, honestly, if no one has ever done these types of things before, it can actually enhance your own personal well-being as far as finding out what your own unique talents are, finding out things out about yourself that you never knew you could possibly do and it is really a great self-esteem booster to be a part of a production from beginning to end,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how big of a part you play or how small of a part you play. The real rewards are enormous for everyone involved and for myself, that’s what it’s done for me. It’s really been a big boost to my own self-esteem and my own abilities and encourages everyone involved to be more involved in the community. Not only that, but as far as believing in yourself, it does really a lot of things to each person involved.”

An advantage for the theatre to be held in Lacombe, Healing said, those interested in the performing arts or interested in behind the scenes will no longer have to venture to the surrounding cities to become involved and that with this theatre, it will attract and involve so many different people.

“Each year we’re going to try and involve different people so I think each and every year we’re going to bring out Lacombe’s own unique arts and culture that will be drawn to us. Were trying to draw out of the community people that are already talented and are already here so they don’t have to go to the big cities to be involved in that sort of thing.”

The production the theatre has started working on will be kept a secret, explained Healing when she mentioned a secret agreement that will between the theatre and those involved. There is no set production date, but Healing is hoping to have it performed this November.

shelby.craig@lacombeexpress.com