story by Patricia Merrick | photography by Jessi Gowan
Crossfield residents don’t have to go to a city like Calgary for a night at the theatre. Thanks to the Artists of Crossfield Theatre Society (ACTS), residents can attend a theatre production right in their own community once a year.
According to ACTS president Grant Budgeon, the society was formed in 2012 by a group of volunteers who had been involved in a dinner theatre group affiliated with W.G. Murdoch School for three years. The group decided to create ACTS after the drama teacher at the school wanted to take a break, but they wanted to continue what they had started.
The group, consisting of about 20 volunteers who act, write or do work behind the scenes year-round, has put on a show in March every year since.
“We write our own scripts so they’re all original shows,” Budgeon said. “I think it comes at a really good time of the year – having it in late March. People have either been away all winter – (like) some of our older residents – or just, (in) winter time, it’s nice to get out of the house. So we always feel that people are really looking forward to getting out and having a good time.”
The group’s writers begin writing a script each summer and the goal is to have it completed by Christmas so actors can start rehearsing in January, he said.
This year’s production, called That 70’s Party, ran at the Crossfield & District Community Centre March 23 and 24. According to Budgeon, the group used to run a single show but now run two due to popular demand.
“It’s basically a story about four people that went to high school and they bump into each other at the local tavern and they haven’t seen each other for quite a while, and they just reminisce about the last great high school party they were at,” he said. “They don’t agree on what they remember happened that night and there was one particular incident that kind of changed some peoples’ lives that happened and they all remember it a little bit differently.”
The production included scenes from the present and the past. It was set up on two stages, where those reminiscing were on a smaller stage off to the side, while their memories were played out on the main stage.
Tickets for the 18-plus show were $50, which included a meal. The money ACTS raises is spent on a variety of art initiatives in Crossfield, according to Budgeon.
Planning for next year’s show will kick off this summer. Budgeon encourages residents to attend for a great night of entertainment while also supporting the arts community in Crossfield.