October 04, 2018 ~ ‘Turn Coat Hill‘ is a spot in King’s Point where — they used to say — the ‘fairies will get ya‘ if you don’t turn your coat inside out.
Talk of fairies may have dwindled over the decades, but recent talk of using theatre to tell local stories like ‘Turn Coat Hill‘ has not.
A group of King’s Point residents are launching a Theatre Company, with a goal of building a theatre operation like those in place by Rising Tide Theatre in Trinity and Theatre NL in Gros Morne.
Organizers say the company will produce theatrical pieces of local Green Bay stories, Newfoundland culture — and more — that would appeal to multiple audiences: Green Bay residents, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and tourists from off the island.
“Our goal is to create a theatre company that showcases the stories of our province and, more specifically our area; bringing to life and recording local history that may otherwise be lost. A company that provides artistic employment, enhancing transferable job skills to those who work with us. A company that will add to the already blossoming tourism industry in our area but also play for our local audience; stories well told, no matter who may be sitting in the seats.”
Rory Lambert, a trained and well-experienced professional actor who has worked with Newfoundland and Labrador’s best-known theatre companies, has taken a key role in the King’s Point theatre company’s development.
The new theatre company’s first show was performed in King’s Point on Friday, September 21st. The show included local stories and pieces related to NL culture.
And how do you get the curtains pulled back on a brand new Theatre Company when funds are non-existent?
By community effort of course.
Volunteer local performers stepped up to assist Rory Lambert in putting off the September 21st show, which was aptly named ‘First Off’.
Starting off the evening was a warm welcome. Local personality Maurice Budgell played accordion while the audience entered and took their seats.
Rory Lambert acted as an MC for the evening and he performed a number of short pieces himself.
Rory Lambert is a very funny man.
He also wrote a number of the pieces that he performed. His timing was perfect and the material was of local interest. A highlight was his performance as ‘Chase’ who brought a hilarious ‘message’ from a fictional King’s Point-Rattling Brook Tourism Committee.
Any future shows in King’s Point featuring Rory Lambert will certainly be popular.
Another highlight of the show was a short comedy piece performed by Rylie Fudge and Maddi Richards. The chairs on stage became their dory as they took the audience back ‘to the day‘.
The evening was rounded out with performances by Jennifer Harris, Jessie Austin and Riley Burt, Kendyl Andrews and Canyon Stoodley.
The evening also included a short story written by King’s Point author Jerry Rideout, and musical pieces sung by Riley Burt and Adam Matthews, and Melisa Adali.
Local history, like the story of ‘Turn Coat Hill’ and how King’s Point nearly got a railroad were shared. Rattling Brook Falls was celebrated.
And Kaelan Rideout joined the group to give the audience a ‘right good laugh, b’y’ with a snowmobiling tale.
Organizers say, now that they know the community interest and backing is there and the base for the Theatre Company has been formed, they will move forward in planning full professional-level theatrical shows in King’s Point in 2019.
The effort may be of humble beginnings, but that in itself is a Newfoundland theatre tradition.
Corner Brook-based company Theatre NL started their Gros Morne Theatre Festival in a similar way. Their work in Cow Head has grown and has evolved. They have now entertained visitors and locals for over 25 years.
It goes to show that it doesn’t matter how small you start. You just have to start. As the organizers stated in their first show’s printed program:
“And while there’s no roadmap to an endeavour like this, there are signposts along the way. There is most certainly opportunity to create a summer festival here; other producers have done so in areas not half as scenic as ours. There is opportunity to start small and grow big.”
[TOP PHOTO: Maurice Budgell and Rory Lambert. Photo credit ~ Kaitlyn Budgell]
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