Prime Stock Theatre’s Bard on Bower has concluded its 2021 run, but not without a complicated ending.
The final performance of Much Ado About Nothing was this past Saturday and the final performance of Comedy of Errors was the following Sunday.
A live performance had to be cancelled on Friday after sound equipment and tools were stolen from the lockup at Bower Ponds, where every Bard on Bower performance is held.
“It really is depressing,” said Thomas Usher, artistic director.
“Artists are probably the ones who are least able to replace things – we have little money to begin with. It’s just disheartening.”
In order to put on the final performances of the season, Prime Stock Theatre had to rent equipment from Parkland Audio.
“We managed to take our equipment home with us both nights after that, for obvious reasons. We lost an assortment of tools, our iPad, which we use to co-ordinate our event, and some miscellaneous backstage things,” he said.
Despite the “disheartening” end to the season, Usher said it was overall a successful year.
“We were so thrilled to have people come out and spend their evenings with us,” he said.
“The heat was a challenge for some of the first week, but otherwise most shows went ahead.”
This summer’s Shakespearean comedies were staged with a smaller than usual nine-actor ensemble. They were directed by Richard Beaune (Much Ado) and Jake Tkaczyk (Comedy of Errors).
The 2020 Bard on Bower season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With its return this year, Usher said Prime Stock Theatre decided to make it a more “collaborative arts festival” for other organizations in the area, including the Red Deer Players, Country Pride Dance Club and Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe.
“It was a much broader event for our audience this year and that was kind of exciting,” Usher said, adding he’s grateful for everyone who attended this year’s performances, as well as all of the partners who helped put on the shows.
“It’s heartwarming to share that kind of event with a variety of groups. If it goes ahead in the future, it’ll just grow. I’m personally (disheartened) by the break-in and I’m not sure if I’ll be involved in the future because it just takes the wind out of my sails. There’s so much effort put into this from so many people.”
Prime Stock Theatre is always accepting donations. For more information or to contact the group, visit www.primestocktheatre.com.