July 14th, 2024

Curtain rises on Hootenanny

By Alexandra Noad - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on July 5, 2024.

New West Theatre is presenting a quirky musical which is sure to bring smiles to people of all ages at Galt Gardens during the month of July.
Hootenanny 2024: Scout and the Rarest Badge Ever is a play about a young explorer who has yet to earn a badge and aims to earn the rarest badge ever. The play includes puppets, music and of course laughter.
Nicola Elson, co-founder of Hootenanny, says it started as a passion project to help give students in the drama department at the University the opportunity to have paid summer work in theatre.
In recent years Elson has taken more of a mentor role giving the students the opportunity to write, direct and act in the shows as well as design the costumes, puppets and sets.
“Transitioning from being hands on to a more of a mentor, it’s actually been really great because I really like kind of like baby stepping the emerging artists into those positions,” said Elson.
The actors have been working on the play for the last three weeks. George Crawford who plays Eddie the explorer troop, a bird, Elmer the gnome and Barnaby the Sasquatch says it has been fun putting this show together.
“It’s really been a great time in rehearsals. We’ve been really ready to explore. The director wrote the shows let us experiment and kind of explore the dialog and change it to be a little bit more natural. It’s really been freeing and a great creative process,” said Crawford.
After each show is finished there is a post-show arts and crafts for the kids and the actors also help at Casa for their summer camps.
“So we get this nice partnership and offer the teachers a little break on their lunch and they go and do drama games with (the kids),” said Elson.
The shows run Tuesday-Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the north-west corner of Galt Gardens until July 26 and is free to attend.
Crawford says this show is not to be missed.
“I recommend everybody bring their whole families to come join it. I think that everyone will love not just the kids.”

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