Your McMurray Six On / Six Off
1. Off: Fort McMurray, Alberta – not exactly famous for the performing arts, is it?
On: Funny you should say that! While Fort McMurray might be better known for industry, the performing arts are alive and well in the community, as evidenced by the variety of groups and people involved in them.
2. Off: Whaddya mean “variety”? I know about Keyano Theatre, but what else is there?
On: It starts with the schools, from elementary right into junior high and high schools, all of which have robust theatrical performances on an annual basis. And there are even independent theatre groups exploring the performing arts in their own way. From the big stage at Keyano to the small stages in schools, theatre is alive in YMM!
3. Off: Yes but that all sounds like small stuff – second rate, b-string kind of efforts.
On: Clearly you didn’t see Hometown…The Musical, which was written by a local resident and involved a cast of dozens of other local residents. Or Les Mis. Or Cabaret. Or any of the other large-scale, almost gargantuan, and remarkably professional quality theatrical offerings that have occurred here in recent years.
4. Off: But isn’t this all “community theatre”? Amateur actors, not professionals? I mean, it’s hardly Broadway, is it?
On: It’s Broadway, our way! There is remarkable talent in this community, including in those “amateur actors”. And there is truly something magical about seeing a fellow community member on a stage. It makes us wonder if we have an actor inside us, too.
5. Off: Not everybody can act.
On: Maybe – although many people likely have some talent they have never tapped into. And there is more to theatre than acting – how about working behind the scenes with costuming, makeup, lighting or all the other supporting roles? Even if you aren’t interested in being on the stage you can be a critical component of bringing a performance to life.
6. Off: Sounds like a lot of work and investment of time.
On: Let’s be honest: it is. And given that many of the people involved in theatre locally are volunteers this is a labour of love, not a money making machine. They pour their sweat, work and tears into these productions, and even if you don’t want to be part of the production you can do another thing: be part of the audience. Support them through buying tickets to these productions and help ensure we keep theatre alive in our community. After all, wouldn’t life be boring without a little drama?