Winter Wonderland sets mood for festive season

Tree House Youth Theatre actors will be working with elf-like devotion to put Central Albertans into the Christmas spirit.

Tree House Youth Theatre actors will be working with elf-like devotion to put Central Albertans into the Christmas spirit.

Winter Wonderland, the theatre troupe’s Christmas show, opens at the Scott Block in Red Deer on Friday, Nov. 30, with carnival games, seasonal sketches, poems and some carol singing.

Those attending the ho-ho-ho variety show, directed by Lucinda Sheardown, will also get to partake of some snacks, sweet treats and refreshments in a room that’s all decked out for the holidays.

“We’re very excited about it. It’s going to be an all-inclusive event,” said artistic director Matt Gould, who predicts Winter Wonderland will get everyone into the right mood for the approaching festive season.

The nine-actor show that also runs on Dec. 1, 7 and 8 has been promoted for office Christmas parties. And the idea has taken off to the extent that the Dec. 1 afternoon matinee is already sold out for a lawyer function.

But Gould said there are still some seats available at other performances for corporate guests, as well as anyone else who wants to attend. The seats are arranged around tables of 10, so it will mean extending some camaraderie to people you don’t necessarily know — but that’s part of the season, too.

Gould predicted a fun, interactive time will be had by all.

He noted the cast of 12-to-17-year-olds who will perform in Tree House’s upcoming Red Deer River Stories for the city’s centennial celebrations next year will make an appearance as carnival barkers.

“After the carnival, we’ll have snacks and play theatre games, with our kids leading the guests. And then we’ll have our show.”

Winter Wonderland consists of “mini sketches” along the Christmas theme, including the French folktale Piccola, about a poor fisherman and his daughter, and What the Toys Saw, about playthings coming alive.

There will be a comic poem about a Christmas dog, and a movement piece that features the Baby Jesus and Three Wise Men.

And there will be carol singing that will spill over to include audience sing-alongs.

Gould expects the whole she-bang to run about an hour and a half.

Since Tree House Youth Theatre was asked to provide the entertainment for the charitable Festival of Trees event, Mistletoe Magic, which sells out in mere minutes, those who missed out on tickets for that event can see a similar program at Winter Wonderland instead, he suggested.

“Perhaps this can become a Christmas time tradition.”

Winter Wonderland runs Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7 and 8. The show is at 7 p.m., with an extra 2 p.m. matinee still available on Dec. 8. Tickets are $20, or $200 for a table of 10. Book by calling 403-986-0631.

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