Keeping Shakespeare alive

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society meet in their Annual General Meeting to discuss their plans for the 2018 season.

One local group is bringing Shakespeare back to life.

The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is once again planning a great show for the 2018 season.

President and show Producer Kate Connolly started the society six years ago after deciding it was time to bring a Shakespeare group back to the city to give the community a chance to relive some of the great comedies Shakespeare wrote.

“It’s a huge benefit to Lethbridge. It introduces many people to their very first experience of seeing Shakespeare done in live theatre. We wanted to bring in this steady, every year dose of Shakespeare,” said Connolly.

The Society’s yearly audience has been increasing steadily over the last few years and Connolly says the support from the city has been great.

“The city supports us in many different ways. We get a grant from the city each year and we also receive strong support from the BRZ project as they pay for the rental of the park, the insurance there and they also pay the rental for the sound equipment.”

Connolly added many of the downtown businesses donate to the society as well.

The group is looking to build off their most successful season to date as more and more people in the community become interested in the event.

And with that, comes more time and effort being put in by the society to ensure the best end product is shown to Lethbridge.

Connolly says a great deal of time goes into each season.

“My director and I start working on the show in the fall and we work right through the Christmas period all the way until January or February when we begin holding our auditions. Then in early May we have two months of full-on rehearsals three nights a week that last three hours each.”

Once the rehearsals are complete, the society jumps straight into their performance schedule.

“We begin our performance schedule in late June and we perform every Thursday and Friday night all through July and halfway through August. We do a total of 13 shows in Galt Gardens as well as two road shows outside of Lethbridge in Fort Macleod at the Empress Theatre as well as the Coutts Centre outside Nanton.

This year’s show is based on one of Shakespeare’s shorter plays, The Tempest.

DJ Gellatly has the honour of directing this year’s production and chose The Tempest because he feels it will speak to the locals better than a different play might have.

“I wanted to do a comedy this year. I feel like the Lethbridge audience is way more into the comedy. It’s also practical. I can do the whole play without having to cut any of the play.”

This will be Gellatly’s second time as a director having previously directed the societies play on Romeo and Juliet two years ago.

Gellatly says with this being his second kick at the can, he is looking to improve his overall skills as a director.

“I’m hoping to build a little bit off the first play I directed. As a director, you’re never really happy with your work. There are always things you can work on and improve on.”

Gellatly also says he feels a little bit of pressure to do Shakespeare justice but still wants to take some liberties when it comes to how he portrays the play.

“Shakespeare was a brilliant writer. I think the plays have translated well to every era. There’s always that pressure to be loyal to the subject matter but you also want to take your artistic liberties with it. I have some ideas that probably weren’t first and foremost in Shakespeare’s head when he wrote it.”

The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is looking to begin their shows in late June and then will carry through July on Thursday and Friday’s and will run through till Aug. 10.

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