A local theatre company in Airdrie is offering virtual workshops and other online activities this spring and summer to help the community with the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nose Creek Players (NCP), a community theatre group in Airdrie, has had to postpone their spring production of Alice in Wonderland along with all other in-person stage performances and workshops due to government restrictions on in-person gatherings and performances.
According to the company president, Robin McKittrick, continuing to offer workshops and activities in a virtual format is a moral obligation for NCP.
“Historically speaking, I think art has played an important role in times of turmoil, in times of crisis,” McKittrick said. “It’s our responsibility as an arts organization to provide that opportunity for people to express themselves creatively and to come to understand everything through art.”
McKittrick said the company has had to come up with alternative ways to enable people in the theatre community to express themselves, including Zoom youth workshops, audio dramas and virtual improvisation classes, with an emphasis on youth workshops and lessons in the spring.
Rocky View Schools teacher and education coordinator for the NCP, Tare Rennebohm, has been coordinating the virtual workshops for youth as an exploratory and laboratory experience, according to McKittrick.
“[These workshops] allow children to be introduced to theatre arts, to explore the depths of their own creativity, to learn some of the fundamentals of theatre, and through all of that, to ultimately help to discover who they are,” said McKittrick, who added the lessons aim at helping young people develop better self-image and build confidence.
According to NCP’s website, these introductory theatre lessons provide a creative outlet for young people to express themselves in a safe space online, “while gaining knowledge and skills in the world of performing arts” through creative drama activities and script reading.
McKittrick added that providing a safe environment that inspires creativity for performers of all ages is NCP’s top priority during the pandemic and its aftermath.
Formerly known as Airdrie Little Theatre, NCP was established in 2011 to provide a creative outlet for actors and theatre lovers to embrace their passion and build a sense of community through theatre.
Since establishing itself, NCP has put on several successful productions, including recent iterations of Charlotte's Web, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and an original play called The Christmas Heist. The company's 2019 production of Frankenstein earned seven nominations for the Calgary Alliance of Community Theatres' Community Theatre Awards, which celebrate the best of community theatre in Calgary and area.
“I think we’re very fortunate that Airdrie is a community that embraces art,” said McKittrick. “We feel fortunate that through all this turmoil, and as we reestablish ourselves within the community, we know that there are a number of people that have been incredibly supportive of Nose Creek Players.”
He added that once it is safe to do so and restrictions have eased, the company would like to retake the stage and continue to provide an in-person creative outlet for members of Airdrie’s arts community.
“We’re very grateful to community to have shown us that support and we hope it will continue to do so,” he said.
Information about upcoming virtual productions, camps, and workshops can be found on NCP’s social media pages.
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