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Countdown 2 Christmas a virtual holiday cabaret

St. Albert Children's Theatre presents 60 alumni and current members

St. Albert Children’s Theatre celebrates 40 years as a flagship theatre for multi-generational audiences in the region. With a mix of theatrical productions, celebratory events, online film presentations and a continued commitment to raise the artistic bar, it ends the year with an online variety show. 

In the company’s second virtual holiday cabaret, titled Countdown 2 Christmas, it will stream original performances on its Facebook page featuring alumni and current members.  

For artistic director Janice Flower, guiding the troupe has been both a challenge and a responsibility. But it has also been a fulfilling joy to create innovative theatre for families. The 2021 cabaret amasses close to 60 artists as well as six masters of ceremonies, including celebrity alumni Carmen Leibel (CTV anchor), Lisa Evans (107.1 Radio), and Rob Murray (106.5 Mountain FM). 

“Artists really connect when they create art. This was our first time together since COVID started. We were all masked. But just to be in the same room singing was overwhelming,” said Flower, who also accompanies on piano.  

The cabaret format is seven episodes with seven different performers and numbers each night. Close to 60 artists are involved in mainly solo acts that involve music, songs, dance, and spoken word. Artists feature both Christmas music and non-holiday performances.  

“It’s a similar vibe to last year. The numbers are unique and different. And the quality of the stuff people sent in feels more ramped up. People definitely raised the bar,” Flower said. 

Local performances were filmed at the Arden Theatre while alumni living in various cosmopolitan cities across the world sent in videos from their home bases. Some alumni to watch for are John Kirkpatrick (Stratford), Emily Dykes (Los Angeles), Dave Friese (Montreal), Erik Grice (Toronto), Michelle Boudreau (Toronto), Arielle Ballance (Vancouver), Celina Dean (Los Angeles), and Katie Lovell (United Kingdom). 

“Last year people said how they loved the concept of sitting down with a glass of wine or hot chocolate and watching it. For me, we used to do that when we were kids. It became part of our routine and it was special.” 

She added that last year the shows attracted more than 10,000 views. By comparison, in a normal season, if all of SACT’s winter shows were sold out, there would have been 6,000 viewers. 

“This is nice family entertainment and a way to see some extraordinarily talented people and hopefully lift spirits in the days leading up to Christmas. It’s been very important to provide as many opportunities as possible to the cast and audience.” 

Countdown 2 Christmas runs daily from Dec. 17 to 23 at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook at "St. Albert Children's Theatre." Admission is free. 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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