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Making a dream come to life

Hanna Fridhed
BY Hanna Fridhed
(1 Vote)

For many workers moving to Fort McMurray, this region is considered the land of opportunity and possibility. The same can be said for many artists moving to the region. Take for example theatre artists Helen Killorn and Justin Shaw.

Killorn and Shaw are both theatre artists originating from Prince Edward Island, but they did not meet each other until one evening at a cast party for Keyano Theatre’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone earlier in 2018. After an excited conversation, they agreed to combine their efforts to bring to life their favourite play: Salt-Water Moon by David French.

The story of Salt-Water Moon tells the story of a splendid, moon-filled night at Coley’s Point in August 1926. Eighteen-year-old Jacob Mercer has returned from Toronto to the tiny Newfoundland outport, hoping to win back his former sweetheart, Mary Snow. But Mary has become engaged to wealthy Jerome McKenzie, and she is still hurt and bewildered by Jacob’s abrupt departure a year earlier. She will not be easily wooed.

Rather than let Salt-Water Moon remain a fantasy production that lived and died the same evening as that cast party, Killorn and Shaw quickly strategized how to bring the show to life. Producing your own work can be a difficult and sometimes frustrating process, as you put your heart and soul into something, but in the end it can be incredibly rewarding. Acting, directing and producing a play (all at the same time) is not an easy feat, but it was something they knew how to do. When they didn’t, they contacted people who did, and they were prepared to learn. Friends and co-workers helped with marketing, organizing and finding a venue; the beautiful Fort McMurray Heritage Shipyard.

Combine this process with a few months of rehearsals taking place in backyards and in living rooms, some community buzz and support – and a theatre production was brought to life.

“I guess a big thing I want to achieve with this production was to not only share one of my favourite stories with the public, but to promote the idea that if there’s something you want to do – do it! No one is going to do it for you, and waiting for something to happen probably won’t get much accomplished,” says Shaw. “I will say though, that I count myself as incredibly lucky to have the support of such a dedicated arts community that was committed to seeing the project come to life.”

Through careful planning and utilizing a network of community support, Salt-Water Moon finds its audience on August 30-September 1st at 8:00pm. Tickets are $30.00 and can purchased online or paid for in cash at the door. This independent production is being presented as a fundraiser for Fort McMurray independent theatre company Theatre; Just Because – an organization dedicated to empowering artists to take ownership of their craft.

Salt-Water Moon would like to thank Turning Point LTD., Flett Manning Moore Law, and Sithara Fernando for their sponsorship of this event.