There’s as much enthusiasm today as there was 50 shows ago for Many Hats Theatre Co.
Tickets are selling fast for the final two weekends of performances for the co-op theatre’s milestone marking performance of A Nice Family Gathering.
“It’s 10 years and 50 shows,” director Ed Schneider said in an interview prior to the opening of the show. “We haven’t lost a nickel on one of them in all those years and everyone is paid at the end. We’ve received amazing support from the community.”
Schneider said the theatre co-op started as an idea back in 2007 when 17 people came forward wanting to create a quality theatre experience in the South Okanagan.
The group decided to put on the Norm Foster play called Maggie’s Getting Married.
“We got enough money together to pay for the royalties. Rona basically gave us the materials to get started. We paid for the rights out of our own pockets. People came forward to help us with the costumes, printing. We hung our shingle out and thought oh my God will anyone show up and holy we sold out all 15 shows,” he remembered with a laugh.
The group never looked back.
Schneider said there’s been a few keys to success over the years. One of them being an incredible talent pool.
“There’s a lot of talented people in this area that have decades of theatre experience. Everybody has their job, and everybody has their hat to wear and we all know what we’re doing and it’s always fun,” he said.
Another is that actors are chosen carefully as to not over expose them.
“We try to use different people every show on stage. The audience doesn’t want to see the same actor on the stage all the time.”
Another is the great relationship the theatre has with the owner’s of the restaurant Nest and Nectar in the Cannery Trade Centre building, who also sells tickets for the theatre.
“It’s wonderful for our audiences. Many of them come early and have something to eat and then come over and watch the show. It isn’t quite dinner theatre because of course in dinner theatre you stay at the table but it’s still that intimate experience. It’s great for us and it’s great for them because they’re packed on show nights and it’s great for the audience because they get to enjoy a wonderful meal.”
To mark the 50th show a hilarious and very relatable play was chosen.
Although A Nice Family Gathering revolves around Thanksgiving the timing couldn’t be better with it being American Thanksgiving this weekend and Christmas on the horizon.
The play, written by Phil Olson, is set in the Lundeen home over Thanksgiving weekend, a short-time after the passing of the father (Jamie Eberle) of the family. Dad comes back from the grave as a ghost because he has some unfinished business — to tell his wife he loves her.
He first visits middle-child Carl (Andrew Knudsen) to ask if he’ll help get the message to his grief stricken widow (Eleanor Walker). The mission is made ever more complicated as mom has invited a potential new love interest (James Wood).
Things get funny as successful brother Michael (Rob McCaffery) and his snooty wife Jill (Anita Reimer) arrive. While little sister Stacy (Dianna Zumpano-Gin) the wallflower of the family brings some big news that brings down the house with laughter.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $22 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at The Nest and Nectar or by calling 250-493-7275. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.