Emily Elder (right) directs some students through a scene for the upcoming November, 2020 performance. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Emily Elder (right) directs some students through a scene for the upcoming November, 2020 performance. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Lacombe youth theatre group puts a spin on a Shakespearean classic

The Chamberlain’s Children are performing their latest play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ on Nov. 6 and 7.

The Chamberlain’s Children are a youth theatre group in Lacombe who perform Shakespeare’s classic plays with a twist.

The group first began five years ago as a way for Emily Elder to teach her kids about Shakespeare. Elder, who is the director of the theatre group, home schools her two children and she thought acting would be a better way to help her kids understand the complexities of Shakespeare.

“I saw a need there for opportunities for them to perform and also just figured it would be a fun way for them also to learn Shakespeare … they thought it was really fun, so we were like let’s keep doing this and it just kind of grew from there really,” said Elder.

The group is mainly made up of other students who are homeschooled as well since the group practices during school hours. However, some members take time out of their in-school classes to participate in the group.

Memorizing lines for any play can be complicated let alone when the lines are in Shakespearean, but Elder said the young actors pick up on the language fairly quickly.

“At the beginning, not everybody knows everything but by the end, they know the play in and out and they know the characters in and out,” said Elder. “That’s what I love about it, they are learning in a way that’s fun and engaging … they are not going to forget these characters.”

The group has two different age categories junior and senior. The junior group performed a production for the senior group before COVID-19 shut down.

The senior group is performing ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ but with a slight change. The play is set in the 1940s and Elder said it will feature, “laughs, trickery, mischief and revenge.” This will be the first year the play isn’t set in traditional Shakespearean time.

They will be performing last year’s play, which was put on hold because of the pandemic. The performance will have limited seating so audience members can be socially distanced.

Elder said the adjustments have made organizing the performances a little tricky but it hasn’t felt too different from years past.

The Chamberlain’s Children will perform on Nov. 6 and 7 at Lacombe’s Performing Art Centre. On Friday there will be two shows, one at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Saturday the performance will start at 1 p.m. Admission is by donation and seats can be reserved by emailing Emily Elder at Chrisjelder78@gmail.com.