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Souris Valley Theatre announces production and more

Norm Foster's play Ladies’ Foursome will run from July 12-30. Each week they will have shows Tuesday through Saturday, and there will be one matinee during each week. The first and the third week, they'll have a Saturday matinee and the middle week it will be a Thursday matinee.
SV Theatre Souris Valley Theatre
After two quieter years, the Souris Valley Theatre is getting ready for a busy season.

ESTEVAN - With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the new season at the Souris Valley Theatre – the only professional live theatre in southeast Saskatchewan – has a lot of exciting entertainment options slated for upcoming months.

The board recently got together to discuss the work that's been done over the last pandemic year and also to get their plans together for the new season.

President Allison Holzer said that so far the summer is looking good. For this year, they agreed to go with one three-week professional show that they will produce.

"Our main show this year is Norm Foster's play Ladies’ Foursome. It's based on golfing; it's about four ladies who are out golfing. It's a very good play. There's lots of comedy in it," Holzer said. "We've got lots of golfers in Estevan, and the golf course is willing to partner with us on some ideas and some promotions, so we're really looking forward to that as well."

The main play will run from July 12-30. Each week they will have shows Tuesday through Saturday, and there will be one matinee during each week. The first and the third week, they'll have a Saturday matinee and the middle week it will be a Thursday matinee.

They are currently in the process of hiring the play director, who will recruit actors and get into production.

The theatre also hopes to bring in a second drop-in show for a week or two in August, but that is still in the works.

Summer camps are coming back again this year. Act I for ages six to eight will run July 4-8. Act II for ages nine to 12 will welcome participants on July 11-15. Act III for students 10 and up will be a two-week program running July 18-29. Local playwright Maureen Ulrich has created a play, which is also based on golfing. The students will practise and present it to the public at the end of the Act III camp.

Also, the theatre is going to bring back their Improv Camp that they tried for the first time last year. It will take place in early August and will accept students ages eight and up.

"We're hoping to build the number of students that sign up for that because it's really fun. But we've moved it to just a three-day camp," Holzer said.

The theatre will hire four summer students to help with the camps. The registration for the camps is now open.

Summer plans at the theatre also include several concerts. On June 25, Teagan Littlechief, who was named the Indigenous Artist of the Year at the recent Saskatchewan Country Music Awards, will open the season. A couple of other concerts will take place in August.

In September, the theatre will partner with the Woodlawn Regional Park to run some activities, and Holzer said that they may have some form of entertainment production on Sept. 10.

Holzer and theatre vice-president Ashley Lattery entered the second year of their two-year term. During the AGM, Holzer also updated the board on everything that's been done in 2021, as they've moved forward on a lot of their goals.

"We feel that we put in some significant steps to improving the theatre and moving things forward and getting some ideas about what we can do in the future. Our ultimate goal would be to hire a part-time person to do some of the year-round jobs. That was something we stepped away from a couple of years ago, but I think we're ready to maybe move into hiring someone part-time. But that will be something that the board will have to decide," Holzer said.

Last year, the Estevan United Way's Day of Caring brought in a lot of volunteers to help with the grounds and the theatre is looking forward to it again this year.

A lot of work has been done inside the buildings and around the property. They were able to put a tin roof on one of their trailers. They had a spray coating on the roof of the main theatre to prevent leaks.

They also purchased and wired in some dimmer panels. Besides, they had electrical receptacles and upgrades done so that they could avoid the extension cords that they had been using in the past.

They hired a local contractor to spray cork on the inside of the theatre walls to help with acoustics and the heat in summer. This project is currently underway and will be ongoing as the theatre can afford it.

"We're very happy that the city continued to fund us because it helped us to do some of these upgrades as our theatre was closed," Holzer noted.

The theatre also put work into the creative side of things.

"We co-ordinated with Ruth Smiley, who is a past CEO of the Globe Theatre [Regina], Bill Hales, U of R professor [who teaches the technical aspects of theatre and stage management] and Mark Claxton, who is the executive director of Saskatchewan Association of Theatre Professionals. We managed to get together with them to consult them about ideas and thoughts about our theatre, so we had some professional input," Holzer said.

They also hired professionals to build a five-year strategic plan.

"We are very happy with the results of that, which gives us a very clear idea of how we want to move forward with the theatre," Holzer said.

They also are rebuilding their website. The new one will be coming live at the end of May or beginning of June and will provide an option to purchase tickets online. 

Some of the projects accomplished over the last year will improve the public's experience at the theatre, while other things would just make it a better facility for everyone. While the COVID pandemic created many challenges, it also allowed for some time to move forward with the projects. 

Now as they are getting back to normal, they are looking for some help to make the experience at the theatre even better.

"We have a working board and we are really interested in having more board members come on board. It's a great board. We work together well and we're also looking at hiring people to do the managing of a lot of the work. But we would love to have new board members come on board.

"And we're also always looking for volunteers to come down and help us when the play is running in the concession and at the door, selling 50/50 tickets. We've always got a call out to volunteers to help us during showtimes. So, if anybody is interested in volunteering, they can contact us through social media [Souris Valley Theatre on Faebook], or call me," Holzer said.

"And also, if people have ideas, [for example] if they've seen a show and they think, 'oh, that would be great for Souris Valley Theatre,' let us know, we are open to suggestions."

Holzer also thanked everyone involved with the theatre and welcomed patrons back as they are getting closer to the beginning of the season.

"I would just like to thank our patrons that have been very faithful. We want to welcome them back with open arms to our production this summer. We're looking forward to great support from our community because we're just so excited to be able to produce theatre again," Holzer said.

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