United Active Living’s partnership with Lunchbox Theatre brought the travelling production of Gutenberg! The Musical! into United’s Fish Creek community last week, complete with set pieces and costumes. The result was a light-hearted musical production that brought smiles and laughter from the appreciative residents who packed Fish Creek’s theatre.
“A big thumbs up from me!” said resident Bob Wharton “I really enjoyed it.”
“These were two very talented actors,” said Ross Campbell. “It was an amazing performance.”
The actors, Katharine Zaborsky and Daniel Fong played 19 characters during the hour-long performance, supported by stage manager Lisa Russell. “Getting out into the community brings live theatre to people who perhaps can’t always get out to watch our performances at our theatre downtown,” said Katharine.
“This is our 35th performance, and our 6th or 7th of the touring production,” added Daniel. “The feedback has been fantastic. It’s great to share our love of theatre. It’s a more personal touch than what we experience in the theatre. We talk to the residents during the show and get an immediate response, which is great!”
“Our residents were really looking forward to seeing this Lunchbox production. It’s always the best attended event we present,” said United’s music director Jill LaForty. “Teaming up with Lunchbox Theatre is a natural partnership for us given that some of our residents attend or used to attend their productions. Now we can bring professional theatre directly to those who find it more difficult to go out. United is a big fan of bringing a variety of musical and educational programming to residents so that residents have a wide variety of choices.”
Touring productions is a relatively new program for Lunchbox Theatre. It’s a collaboration with Toronto’s Smile Theatre that focuses on bringing live theatre into older adult communities and to community centres. Last year Lunchbox brought the play Miss Caledonia to United’s residents.
An in-house production isn’t the only way that aspects of the theatre are brought to United residents. “As part of the partnership, members of Lunchbox’s artistic team come into our communities to give residents back stories and added insight into current productions before some of them head out to see the shows,” said Jill. “This happened recently at our Garrison Green community. Residents then joined us last week at Fish Creek for the show’s complete performance.”
Lunchbox Theatre is located at the base of the Calgary Tower. It has been running noon-hour plays – usually one-act plays written by Calgary playwrights – for more than 40 years, and is considered to be one of the most successful and longest running noon-hour theatre companies in the world.
Photos and video by Sherana Productions.
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To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.