Princess conquers queen in play

Join the royal court this week and see how an unconventional princess conquers a chatty, conspiring queen in the stage production of Once Upon a Mattress.

Join the royal court this week and see how an unconventional princess conquers a chatty, conspiring queen in the stage production of Once Upon a Mattress.

Red Deer’s St. Francis of Assisi Middle School annual stage production at the Memorial Centre kicks off on Friday and Saturday.

Once Upon a Mattress is based on the classic fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. It follows Lady Larken and her boyfriend Sir Harry on their quest to find a princess for Prince Dauntless.

King Sextimus has been cursed to a vow of silence by a witch and Queen Agravian has taken over, proclaiming no one in the land can marry until the prince ties the knot with a woman of the truest royal blood.

“When those curtains open, people are going to be blown away,” said Robert Ford, the play’s director and St. Francis’s drama teacher.

“We’re talking about sets 35 feet long of archways, multiple staircases. … And all built by the students.”

Over 100 students from Grades 6 to 9 are involved with the production and they, along with their parents, were responsible for all props, set designs and costumes.

Ford said that one of the great things about this play for him is the chance to work with some students he’s known since they were born.

A former student of his, Krystal Harvey, is also the assistant director along with education assistant Sherry Schultz.

“School can be competitive, especially in athletics, and that’s why I love theatre because it is very collaborative and kids from all grades and levels are becoming friends,” Ford said.

The annual play sparks one of the largest gatherings of Catholic students throughout the year in Red Deer, he added.

Tickets are available at the school and Memorial Centre for $7 per person or $20 per family.

All proceeds go towards supporting the St. Francis drama program.

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