Rising Sun Theatre throws a magic/music bash

magician Ron Pearson, photo supplied.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Magic and music: some of this theatre town’s top-drawer talent in both are featured in Rising Sun Theatre’s benefit bash at the Gateway Theatre Oct. 1.

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Ron Pearson, a virtuoso magician/illusionist with a theatrical bent (Minerva: Queen of the Handcuffs), is on the playbill. So is singer-songwriter/actor/playwright Dana Wylie, whose clever solo memoir Makings of a Voice was the headliner at the 2021 SkirtsAfire Festival.

Dreamer’s Cantata, Plain Jane Theatre. Photo supplied.

And the cast of Dreamer’s Cantata, the new Plain Jane Theatre revue that premiered at the Fringe this past summer — Larissa Poho, Bella King, Alanna McPherson, Steven Greenfield — will present songs from that show, dedicated to the witty challenges served up by contemporary musical theatre creators who are all women or gender-non-conforming.

singer-songwriter Dana Wylie. Photo suppied

Rising Sun, co-founded in 2004 by Gerry Potter, is a not-for-profit company with a distinguished history of providing opportunities for cognitively disabled people to practise the art of theatre.

Potter, the founding father of Workshop West Theatre, explains that the all-ages troupe collaborates in the creation and performance of original work. “Ideas, scenes, characters” are developed collectively through improv and discussion. And the ensemble, which numbers a dozen or more, is led by an assortment of Edmonton’s theatre professionals — directors, choreographers, designers, storytellers, composers.

“It’s fun work,” says Potter, who started by directing the Rising Sun shows and is now in the double-role of producer and board member. “There’s a lot of undiscovered talent among people labelled as intellectually disabled…. Very often they’re strong on imagination and emotional intelligence; they sense what’s going on” even when words aren’t their go-to mode of expression. “The professionals learn as much as the (casts).”

Some of Rising Sun’s usual granting sources, at both the city and provincial level, have alas disappeared; hence the need for a benefit. But the evening (which includes snacks and silent auction items) places a high priority on … fun.

Further information about the Oct. 1 event: risingsuntheatre.ca. Tickets: eventbrite.ca


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