SEASONAL STORY - Cast members rehearse a scene of Prime Stock Theatre’s The Other Side of the Pole! A Christmas Family Musical which runs Dec. 14th-16th and 20th -23rd at the Welikoklad Event Centre in Red Deer. photo submitted

Red Deer-based Prime Stock Theatre presents The Other Side of the Pole!

The heart-warming story was penned by Alberta playwrights Marney and Stephen Heatley

With themes touching on reconciliation, tolerance, identity, love, hope and joy, Prime Stock Theatre’s The Other Side of the Pole! A Christmas Family Musical runs Dec. 14th-16th and 20th-23rd at the Welikoklad Event Centre.

Performances are slated to start at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) and there are 2 p.m. Saturday matinees as well.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and $15 for seniors. For children under 12, the cost is $5.

Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre, online at bkticketcentre.ca or at the door. For more information, visit www.primestocktheatrecompany.com.

“This was literally the first show we ever did in Red Deer, 23 years ago – which is remarkable – and almost to the day. It was December 13th, 1994 that it opened down in the old Kresge’s building downtown,” explained Thomas Usher, artistic director of Prime Stock Theatre.

“This was our first show – a sweet, Alberta-made musical,” he said, adding that the play was originally penned in the early 1980s and actually made its debut at Red Deer College in 1982.

“As someone who sees a lot of theatre and has done a lot of theatre, it’s great to stumble across a show which actually connects with you in a very emotional way,” he explained.

“There’s something very endearing about the story – it has a lot to do with family, with tolerance and all the fun stuff around Christmas that we often take for granted. I still get teary thinking about certain aspects of it because it’s such a sweet message of hope, family and reconciliation, too.”

The heart-warming story was penned by Alberta playwrights Marney and Stephen Heatley, with music composed by Edward Connell.

Directed by Ian Leung, the show’s cast features Erin Pettifor, Jaimi Reese, Emily Howard, Silverius Materi, Ben Stevens and Ben Oomen.

Morgan McKee is serving as musical director, and rounding out the creative team are set designer Daniel Van Heyst, costume designer Gwen McCagg and Billy Robinson on light design.

Usher said that Leung actually starred in that first Prime Stock production those many years ago. “It was one of the first gigs he ever did as a young, emerging actor. So to bring him back is fun for us – a ‘full circle’ kind of thing.”

Meanwhile, it’s a joy to bring the play back to local audiences, he noted.

“It’s close to my heart – I’ve done it five times in the past and I love it. It’s such a sweet little musical that has real heart to it. It’s nicely drawn, the tunes are catchy – again, for us it’s a chance to re-visit old friends in many ways.”

Christmas has been banned in Split Hoof, Alberta for 10 years now, and eight-year-old Sandy Kringle is determined to find out why, and what all this ‘Christmas’ stuff is anyway? With the help of newcomer Willy Witherspoon, she uncovers the identity of a mysterious lodger and reveals family secrets long kept hidden.

Audiences are invited to join the musical adventure as they both try to bring back all of the traditions that keep Christmas true to heart.

Prime Stock Theatre Co. Society is a professional live theatre society based in Red Deer which serves the Central Alberta region.

According to its web site, “Prime Stock is committed to ensuring that Red Deer is not just a city that has and supports live theatre – but is a destination that people throughout Central Alberta will look forward to attending and contributing to performances of a professional caliber regularly with their friends and family.

“Our objectives are to fulfill our mandated promise to our community by providing leadership in theatre arts through responsible management and thoughtful programming.

“We look to establishing an alternative arts experience in a warm, casual atmosphere which encourages participation – from patrons and practitioners alike.”

As mentioned, tickets for The Other Side of the Pole! A Christmas Family Musical are available at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre.

Go online to bkticketcentre.ca, or they are also available at the door.

Visit www.primestocktheatrecompany.com.

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