Stage Notes: New improv home, virtual theatre and dinner date, a veteran retires

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Rapid Fire Theatre launches a new season of improv — in a new space — starting with a kick-off party tomorrow night.

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“It’s fantastic,” says artistic director Matt Schuurman.

He’s talking about the party, which costs a mere $15 and features snippets of fun from the upcoming season. But he’s also excited about the theatre’s new space at 8529 Gateway Blvd.

Matt Schuurman, artistic director of Rapid Fire Theatre.
Matt Schuurman, artistic director of Rapid Fire Theatre. Photo by Larry Wong /Postmedia

Now that the new Roxy Theatre is (almost) ready, Rapid Fire has moved into Theatre Network’s old digs in Old Strathcona. For about eight years, up to the beginning of the pandemic, Rapid Fire performed in the Citadel’s Zeidler Hall.

“Early on in the pandemic, we did some surveys and feasibility studies and there was an overwhelming demand and desire for Rapid Fire to go back to Old Strathcona,” says Schuurman, noting the troupe spent some 20 years on the south side before moving into the Citadel.

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Last week, Schuurman and crew were sprucing up the space for the new season, which starts this weekend with Chimprov, Theatresports, Kidding Around and Late Night Double Feature Improv Show.

Schuurman says the old Roxy on Gateway space is perfect for the company. It’s a black box with no fixed seating and can be reconfigured as necessary depending on factors including pandemic restrictions and audience comfort levels. It holds about 120 people, but Rapid Fire is planning on 75 seats. Rapid Fire will come up with a new name for the space.

For more information and tickets, visit rapidfiretheatre.com.

Thanks for the smiles, Shelley

Longtime artistic producer Shelley Switzer has resigned from her position at the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival .

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“Shelley has been an integral part of Edmonton StreetFest for most of the festival’s 37 years, starting 33 years ago as a volunteer,” says board chair Karen Dalman in a news release.

Switzer became artistic producer in 1999. During her tenure, she added features including Troupe Du Jour, Be Your Own Busker and Comedy Cares. StreetFest’s Marian Brant will oversee operations until both an executive director and a new artistic producer are in place.

Find more information about the festival at edmontonstreetfest.com .

COVID-19 cancels The Hunchback Variations

Northern Light Theatre’s production of The Hunchback Variations, set to kick off Thursday, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. T

here are no plans to remount the show, and ticket holders will be contacted about options of a refund or donation of the ticket price to the theatre.

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Learn more at northernlighttheatre.com .

Dinner and a concert comes to you

As live theatre and musical productions are cancelled on Edmonton stages, Catalyst Theatre is connecting audiences to an innovative show being produced out of Toronto.

Staged in the elegant Koerner Hall, UnCovered: The Music of Dolly Parton will stream Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. Created by Musical Stage Company as the company’s 15th Annual Concert, the show features “wildly inventive arrangements” of Dolly Parton tunes performed by award-winning Canadian artists including Jully Black, named one of Canada’s greatest singers ever by CBC Music. Tickets are $25, plus a $5 service fee per household.

Catalyst has partnered with the downtown Edmonton restaurant Dalla Tavola Zenari (10166 100A St.) to create a dining experience featuring a snack box inspired by Dolly Parton. Created to feed two, the box is $27 and can be delivered for an extra $10.

For more details and to purchase tickets for the show and meal, visit the Catalyst website at catalysttheatre.ca. If you have questions about the meal add-on, contact Catalyst via email at lana@catalysttheatre.ca.

yegarts@postmedia.com

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