Lacombe Performing Arts Centre and Cow Patti Theatre Company are partnering to offer local kids a terrific chance to explore the magic of theatre.
Starting in September, rehearsals will begin for Camilla the Triple Threat Cow, a production co-penned by AnnaMarie Lea, Cow Patti’s artistic director.
The venture is for youth ages seven to 16, and the cost is $375.
Rehearsals start Sept. 12 and will run Mondays and Wednesdays, culminating in several public performances next February.
“We partnered with AnnaMarie in 2020 – that was our first youth theatre program that we ran with her, and it was called Much More Munsch,” said Rosanna Kerekes, executive director of the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre.
“It worked out really well. We had sold-out performances for the two weekends, so it was really exciting for the kids!
“They all had so much growth from the start of the program to the end – their connections, their growth and their passion – the growth was just exponential.
“And the fact that AnnaMarie runs it with such dedication and investment, these kids just grew so much through it.
“It’s also an opportunity for youth to experience professional theatre – she runs it very much like she runs her professional shows,” she said, adding that it’s a fabulous means for the younger set to delve into the intricacies of staging a production.
Much More Munsch hit the stage right before the pandemic hit, so these days it’s very exciting to see plans for the next show – Camilla the Triple Threat Cow – taking shape.
As to Camilla, Lea said that she’s produced it a few times over the years.
“It’s a show that I wrote with Valerie Barrett quite a few years ago – it’s a fun little show,” she explained.
“It’s a play within a play. It’s fun, and there is a nice message about how we work together and how we accept change, and how in life there are disappointments, but how do we adjust to those?
“The story and the message are brought through this farmyard and these animals. Through comedy, we can really learn many lessons – and this is a perfect example of that – how when we work together, we bring each other up and give each other value.”
Lea has long been at the forefront of producing professional theatre and has also had a heart for working with youth, too.
“I love working with kids. I love children, and I think that children – within the theatre – really live ‘in the moment’. They don’t have walls that we sometimes do as adults. I also think with children if you give them the opportunity to feel valued and important, they will rise to the occasion.
“I also love watching the looks on their faces when it all comes together!”
In the meantime, the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre launched operations at its current facility back in the fall of 2019, although the organization had existed for several years prior to that.
“This fall is an exciting time for us – we are looking forward to the first full season that we’ve been open,” said Kerekes, adding that a variety of programming opportunities will be available this fall in the visual arts.
A number of musical performances are also being planned and will be announced shortly.
“We are also partnering with author Fran Kimmel to run a fiction boot camp,” she said.
“Having a lot of partnerships and collaborations to create community programming is really the goal,” she said.
“We are also looking to create a hub for the community – to support artists, instructors and the community in being able to take part in arts and culture – making the arts more accessible to everyone,” she said. “That’s our overall vision.”
Meanwhile, to register for Camilla the Triple Threat Cow, call 403-588-4386 or email email@example.com.
You can also check out www.lacombeperformingartscentre.com or www.cowpatti.com.