Safe summer theatre coming to Multicultural Heritage Centre

Allison Young-Refugia and her Stagecraft Theatre Company will hold auditions for Tom Sawyer later this month.

Tom Sawyer and all his peers from the pages of countless books will soon be brought to life at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain's theatre, as pictured here. Evan J. Pretzer/Bruh_Gamer_HQ

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You cannot go to a traditional theatre or movie house right now but the Multicultural Heritage Centre is preparing a safe alternative.

The institution in the Town of Stony Plain has teamed up with Spruce Grove teacher Allison Young-Refugia and her Stagecraft Theatre Company performing organization to do a live and outdoor production of Tom Sawyer in August. The deadline to register for June 17-19 auditions is June 15 and Young-Refugia said this has been an idea that she had been envisioning putting on for the past several years.

“As a youth, I grew up doing summer theatre and it always played such an important part in that time of year for me,” she said. “Now that I am older and have established myself professionally, I am going to work to achieve that goal and spread the summer theatre love to others.”

Casting for the work by Mark Twain will be open to those 12 and older and will be capped at 17 total actors. The shows at the end of the summer will be in the centre’s amphitheatre and will observe rules for masks and social distancing between those on stage and in the audience. Premier Jason Kenney has recently indicated that Alberta’s public health emergency will expire June 15, but, even if this occurs, Young-Refugia said they still intend to take precautions and would not give up on the idea even if strict lockdowns are later reimposed.

“If we do get locked down again this would be put on the backburner,” Young-Refugia added. “Then once things are released and back to normal, we would eventually perform the show we are working on. My hope is that through this we start to regain that sense of community and the sense of pride that we have for each other and the arts. We want to provide people with some relief and some connection.”

Melissa Hartley, managing director of the centre, said she was please they were keeping the arts alive and, depending on how the coming months unfold, the centre may end up being the space for other activities to be safely conducted by other interested groups, too.

“We just today finalized an agreement with the Little Kickers soccer club,” she said. “They normally use our indoor gym for their children and are now going to use the green space our by our community garden beds every Sunday throughout the summer starting June 21.”

A registration form for the event can be found on Stagecraft Theatre’s Facebook page.