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Theatre Outré's new play explores love amidst chaos of Toronto bath house raids

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Theatré Outré returns to the stage with a harrowing new play penned by local playwright and performer Jay Whitehead, Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

 

“333 is an exciting new play by Jay Whitehead,” said director Kathy Zaborsky, who is also composing the soundscape for the one act play.

 

“It’s a fictional love story set amongst the bathhouse raids in Toronto in 1981,” she continued.

 

Garry Williams performs a scene in 333, Theatre Outré's new play. Photo by Richard Amery

 The play stars Andres Moreno from Edmonton, Halifax actor Garry Williams and Calgary resident and U of L graduate John Tasker.

 

“It’s the collision of a young man trying to find himself amidst the chaos and destruction of the bath house riots. It was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history and the birth of the Pride movement in Canada,” Zaborsky summarized.

 

“Veteran performer Garry Williams plays Rue-Barb Crumble, an aging queen who finds herself caught up in the raid,” according to a Theatre Outre press release about the play. Wiliams is co-founder of Da PoPo Theatre and a frequent collaborator with Theatre Outré.

 

“ Rue's story bridges the gap between the earliest gay rights movements and a much broader and sophisticated kind of queer activism we see today,” Williams says in the press release.

 

 The cast and crew have been rehearsing and workshopping the play since Sept. 12  and fine tuned th eplay with Calgary dramaturge Jennifer Taylor.

 

 

“She helped structure the play and checked the historical references and helped it’s dialogue,” Zaborsky said, adding she was familiar with the bath house riots before she started working on the production.

 

“I was just a child then. It’s been great to work  with everybody in this raw and personal journey,” she said, noting tickets are going quickly for the show as there is limited capacity in Didi’s Playhaus due to Covid restrictions.

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Local film maker brings Chess 4 Life to screen with Telus Storyhive grant

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Local musician and author Tanner James Holthe is thinking a couple moves ahead by debuting his new film “ Chess 4 Life,” Sept. 22 at Casa,

 He won a $20,000 Telus Storyhive grant to make his 20 minute documentary on an innovative new program to teach at risk youth haw to play Chess instead of doing community service.

 

“I read an article in Alberta Views about this program that started at the University of Lethbridge by a professor and a judge who started this program for at risk kids to each them how to play the game of chess instead of doing community service by picking up garbage on the side of the  highway,” said Taber born Holthe, who spent 14 years in Calgary, before moving back to Lethbridge last year right before the pandemic, which is when the Telus Storyhive opportunity came up.

 

“I bookmarked the idea and when they announced their Local Heroes documentary edition, I thought it would be a great idea,” he said, adding he received the full $20,000 grant to make the documentary between February 2021and June 2021. He had to submit it by July.

 

“It was a pretty tight turnaround. I was editing parts of the film at the same time I was shooting other parts,” he said.

 

 He’ll have the special screening at Casa for the cast, crew and friends, but Telus will release the movie to the general public in a couple months on  a variety of platforms including Optik TV and their Youtube channel.

 

He used to be in alternative rock band the Nix Dicksons and is a regular performer at Taber Cornfest. He has a new Calgary based band Kid Cali, which has just released their first single “Third Eye.” He also released his first book in 2017.

 

 Like everything else, he taught himself to make movies.

 

“It’s very punk rock. Before this project,  I made a lot of bad horror movies with my friends just to learn how to do it. But this is my first professional film,” he said, adding it clocks in at 23 minutes and includes approximately a dozen interviews.

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Word On The Street this year is a combination of live and online events

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Word on the Street is back with two weeks of events, which will be a combination of live at the downtown Lethbridge Public Library and  online events.

Bryan Bradfield will be busking at Word on the Street, Sept. 18. Photo by Richard Amery

 “ I’m very happy we’re able to safely do live events again this year,” said Lethbridge Public Library Manager: Community and Economic Advancement Elizabeth Hegerat, noting Word on the Street was all online last year.

“So it was pretty quiet and lonely at the library last year, with just me and the technical people,” she said.

 

 There will be a variety of  subject featured including First Nations issues, lots of comics and  graphic novels, mysteries, cooking and much more over the next couple weeks.

 

Events begin today with a Comics For the Young at Heart panel hosted by Local comic artists Eric Dyck featuring Gillian Goerz, creator of Shirley and Jamila’s big Fall; Winnipeg based Cree/Metis writer David A Robertson, creator of Version Control and his teen Reckoner  Series; and J Torres, creator of “Stealing Home.”

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Theatre Outré ready for a busy new season

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Theatré Outré has a year packed full of fun back in their home base of Did‘s Playhaus, downtown.

 

After two shortened seasons thanks to Covid -19 lockdowns, the local alternative theatre troupe, have adapted by doing everything from performing online and taking Impromptu’s improv nights into people’s backyards. And in between shut downs, there were able to have one personalized show for individual audience members in the space.

 

Castrati (Kathy Zaborsky) and Didi D’EDada  (Jay Whitehead) Are excited about Theatre Outré's new season. Photo by Richard Amery

 But now, they are excited to be back home, with proper health and safety precautions.

 

“Last year was difficult. We had a really short season. And that never would have been possible without our volunteers and our community,” said Theatre Outré general manager David Gabert, who excited to have two full length original  plays in  the Didi’s Playhaus Space and a Theatre for young Audiences production on Casa.

 

“We’re excited. It’s been a  difficult year. But this year, instead of the dances we’re going to feature weekly events  including improvisational shows , drag shows and cabarets,” he said.

 

 Due to the small size of the venue, they will be limiting  their audiences ti half capacity and offer the option of streaming the shows online for those still not comfortable being in public for in person performances.

Audiences will be asked to wear masks on premises and perform a wellness screen before entering.

 

 The first performance is  Theatré Outré co-artistic director  Jay Whitehed’s penned play “333” about three people  at the epicentre of the Toronto Bathouse Raids in 1981.The featured actors are Halifax’s  Gary Williams, a frequent collaborator with Theatré Outré and newcomers Edmonton’s Andres Moreno and Lethbridge’s John Tasker. Co Artistic director Kathy Zaborsky will be directing the show, which will run Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2021.

 

“It’s a really powerful story,” Gabert said.

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