Theatre group brings the past to life

Live History Theatre Troupe members, left-right, Jasmine Bowen, Curtis McGillvary and Joshua Kitz on stage, with Ecole Providence students [seated] waiting their turn to take part in Halls of Ivy interactive performance.

Tom Henihan
South Peace News

A team of Live History performers comprised of Jasmine Bowen, Joshua Kitz and Curtis McGillvary presented two shows in McLennan Oct. 16.

Along with its three core members, Live History theatre group has a roster of 15 actors who participate in several shows a year. Occasionally, the group uses local actors in many of the towns in which it performs.

The recent performances mark Live History’s third visit to McLennan. Previously, Bowen, the principal actor, and game designer Kitz, have been part of the ensemble for the 2017 and 2018 shows. For McGillvary, a recent graduate of University of Guelph’s theatre arts program, this was his first time performing with the troupe in McLennan.

The group’s first performance on Oct. 16, called Halls of Ivy, took place at Ecole Providence and used the format of an interactive game show. During the performance, a character from McLennan’s past is brought forward in time, offering the students an historical perspective, about the realities of the past compared to their modern circumstances and contemporary reality.

For instance, the character from the past asked the students how long it takes them to get ready in the morning and compares their experiences to how long she takes her to get ready, in an environment devoid of modern conveniences.

There were also many other questions posed and answered between the performers and the students such as:

  • Where the province of Alberta get its name?
  • When did Alberta join confederation?
  • Who is the current mayor of McLennan?

The students’ enthusiastic response to the Halls of Ivy performance and their eagerness to participate was evidence of how effective and informative the presentation was.

The show at McLennan Municipal Library, called Behind Glass was a “who done it,” aimed at an older audience, involved characters that emerge from the archives and books creating harmless mischief until things get serious when one of them damages artifact 647.

In the mystery, a number of people are called in to help Sam the security guard figure out who is responsible for breaking the artifact. Those helping Sam to find the culprit were played by those who attended the interactive performance, while McGillvary played Sam. Following extensive sleuthing, finally, it is revealed that a character named Mariette broke the Library artifact.

The Town of McLennan Library sponsored the Live History theatre group visit as part of the library’s fall programming.

The library’s program also offered a story telling performance for students up to Grade 7, by visual artist, writer and storyteller Karen Gummo. Her story telling event was arranged through Young Alberta Book Society whose mission it is “to foster literacy and a love of reading among young people in Alberta by providing access to the province’s literary artists and their work.”

Gummo is part of a distinct group of talented Albertan authors, illustrators and storytellers who, through YABS, help to enhance the lives of young Albertans through the literary arts.

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