Lacombe Performing Arts Centre is looking for young actors for upcoming theatre season

The theatre season will have a slightly delayed start to give parents and children time to adjust

Annamarie Lea is the Artistic Producing Director of The Cow Patti Theatre Company and will be heading the youth program. Photo supplied

Back-to-school means back to extra-curricular activities and theatre might be the comedic relief some children (and their parents) need.

The Lacombe Performing Arts Centre and the Cow Patti Theatre Company are looking for young actors for their upcoming youth theatre production “Camilla the Triple Threat Cow” written by Annamarie Lea and Valerie Barrett.

Rosanna Kerekes, the executive director of the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre, described the play as a “warm-hearted family fun play for all ages.”

The youth theatre program is looking for about 20 kids from ages 7-17 who will be available from October until the show runs in February, 2021. Applications are on a first come first serve basis, but there will still be auditions in November to place everyone in their respective roles.

The course is being overseen by Lea, the artistic producing director of The Cow Patti Theatre Company. Lea has been a professional producer, director and actor for 32 years and has worked with youth for 28 years.

This will be the second season for the program, but this will be the first season Lea will be working with masks.

“We are keeping with the COVID protocols and we will be having mandatory masks as well,” said Kerekes. “Which, as Annamarie (Lea) has been saying, thespians have been wearing masks since 500 BCE, so it’s a different way of theatre, but we will be incorporating that into our performance.”

Because of the use of mandatory masks, Kerekes said there will be a focus on volume exercises and acting with the eyes.

“We’re going to be incorporating masks into our performance and Annmarie will be working on vocal – a lot more vocal exercises – and making sure the volume is there,” Kerekes said.

Alberta Health regulations state shared microphone use should be avoided, which is one of the reasons why Lea has decided to focus on vocal exercises for volume. Regulations also state masks should be used if social distancing can’t be maintained. Theatre groups are also able to form a cohort if they are in frequent contact with each other.

This year, the theatre season is starting a month later to allow parents to settle into the new school year.

“We did start it a little bit later this fall just to give parents the opportunity to adapt to the new way of schooling and their new way of interacting with other people,” Kerekes explained. “We wanted to give them that month to adapt to the new normal and figure out if they are comfortable expanding their reach in the public and their cohorts and everything else.”

Kerekes said this program will give kids the opportunity to reconnect and reach out to their community.

“It’s going to be, I mean, I’m not even sure I can say different anymore. It’s our new normal now. It’s just adapting to our new normal these days and I think, other than our safety precautions, Annamarie is wonderful with the kids,” she said. “I think it’s just reinforcing that positive experience and reinforcing that it’s this opportunity for growth and fun for kids during a time where they haven’t necessarily been able to experience that as it is.”

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