It was the summer of 1981. I spent many hours in the local hockey arena (which would later be called the "Ducky Dome" after a mural featuring giant ducks was painted on the back but I digress). We sang, we danced, we practiced lines, we were measured for burlap sack costumes (and oh were those itchy). And when the time came a group of us waited in the bleachers for our cue. When it same we marched over the boards and down a ramp singing "13 Mighty Dwarves" in this show. And so St. Albert Children's Theatre was born. Tonight (in about 45 minutes as I write this) in a special presentation they celebrate 30 years. And if I were in St. Albert or somewhere else in metro Edmonton I would be there for the show and to see old friends.
In hte early years SACT was a summer program. But then it grew. First a spring show was added in 1984. Then the summer show became a full camp that same year. Not only did we prepare a show we took classes in music and dance and drama. ANd by that 1984 summer the program was so popular the show was double cast (starting the summer of 1985 there were two separate summer shows, divided by age).
All in all I participated in 10 of the shows on the production history on the SACT website (although one of those was actually done as an A.R.T.S show [ARTS was a parallel program with many of the same members that was started as a leadership development program in the fall of 1982] Black Bonspiel of Wullie Macrimmon with WO Mitchell coming to meet the cast and crew). SOmetimes I was in the cast, sometimes I was on the crew. But the shows, as enjoyable as they were, were only part of the benefit.
The real benefit is that those people with whom I shared many hours in rehearsal and preparation and in post-show parties were my best friends throughout those Junior and Senior High years. A few went on to do theatre as a career but most of us didn't. But we supported each other, laughed together, struggled together. And of all the people from those years they are among the ones I wish I had stayed in touch with -- although I have reconnected with some through FB. Yes I developed skillls that a
have served me well in ministry, but the friendships were the really important part. We were a group, sometimes cliquish, but we were a group.
Not bad for something my mom thought I might find enjoyable to fill the days of summer vacation.