Summer Student Blog Post: Cross-County Travels

 We also have tablecards for Seussical! Have you seen any of these in one of your local restaurants?

We also have tablecards for Seussical! Have you seen any of these in one of your local restaurants?

Hello everyone!

What a busy week it has been! I have been going into many schools over the past week and a half talking to students about camp. Everyone is loving the game “Whoosh”; how could they not? The classrooms I visited have been filled with imagination, joy, laughter, and fun interactions with other kids when we play this game, and these things are what camp is all about!

I have also been travelling all around Hants County and Kings County putting up posters for our production of Seussical the Musical! The opening show on June 1st is just days away- it is so hard to believe that it has come so fast! I will be there for all of the performances, and I cannot wait to see everyone perform.

We are starting to get ready for our summer camps! We have narrowed down a list of possible  productions for the drama camp, and I have started contacting different companies to see which production will fit our camp the best. Who knows what our final decision will be for the drama production, or what pieces we will do at musical theatre camp! Stay tuned - more on this later on as we get closer to camp!

That’s all for now,

Holly

Spotlight on ... Ally Loiselle!

Today’s “Spotlight” is on one of our new QAAW board members: say hello to the bubbly Ally Loiselle!

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You may have crossed paths with Ally over the years as she has been involved with Quick As A Wink since the theatre’s very beginnings. “My first involvement with Quick As A Wink was all the way back in 2003 in their very first production,” Ally says. “As a child, I played one of the farmer’s children in Act One Scene One of Glory Days, which was performed outdoors in downtown Windsor. I remember wearing a white dress that felt extremely hot in the sun, but I was having so much fun that I didn’t even mind! After that, I lost touch with the theatre for many years. I became involved in other activities, and Quick As A Wink slipped off my radar until one of my good friends, Alex Hare, participated in 2008’s You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. The performance was so impressive that it rekindled my interest and inspired me to audition for 2010’s King Island Christmas, where I was cast as the Newlywed Wife. I then went on to work as a Quick As A Wink summer student for four consecutive years, which was so fulfilling and brought so much joy to my summers. I also had the opportunity to play Flotsam in 2016’s The Little Mermaid, worked backstage on both 2014’s The Secret Garden and 2018’s The Drowsy Chaperone, and am now on the Board of Directors!”

After so many years of QAAW involvement, Ally has accumulated numerous favorite memories of her time with us. “It would be impossible to pick just one favorite moment because I have enjoyed them all,” Ally says. “I loved goofing off with Amanda [Mullally] and Kerry [Lawrence] during Little Mermaid by nicknaming our evil trio [of Ursula and her eels] ‘The Squid Squad’. I loved playing improv games with the participants of our musical theatre camp and laughing so hard I struggled to breathe. I loved having the opportunity to work alongside such wonderful people, including my close friend Kelsey Van Blarcom. One of my most rewarding moments, however, has been chatting a previous camp participant who told me that she had had the opportunity to coach a friend on a monologue since I had last seen her and that she had tried her best to channel me when giving feedback. I have never felt more touched, and I sometimes tear up just thinking about it!”

Though there are many things about theatre that Ally enjoys, there is one particular moment that keeps calling her back to it. “My favorite thing about theatre is one oddly specific moment that sounds really weird when I try to explain it,” she says. “I love the ability to work and connect with my cast mates throughout the entire theatre process, but the moment I am constantly chasing is what happens backstage right before a show begins. The audience doesn’t see it, but the entire cast and stage crew is often ready and waiting in the wings right before the curtain goes up, and there is this magical sense of shared excitement between everyone back there. You are not allowed to talk, as your mic may be on and you don’t want the audience to hear you, so instead everyone is mouthing sentences to one another, making hand gestures, and doing silly dance moves along to the overture while trying not to giggle. It’s this great moment of connection and shared expectation of what is to come later in the evening, and I love it every single time.”

There any many roles that Ally hopes to have the opportunity to play in the future, though she doesn’t believe all of them are attainable. “Honestly, I feel grateful every time I am given a role, regardless of what it is, haha!” Ally says. “I would absolutely love to play Veronica in Heathers, though I don’t think that will ever happen since she and I are so drastically different, and I’m not sure that my vocal range would allow it. Regina from Rock of Ages is also a favorite, since she is just so silly and fun, as well as Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray. Oh! And Natalie from Next to Normal!”

When she’s not hard at work on projects for Quick As A Wink, Ally has a series of other hobbies and interests that keep her busy. “I am absolutely obsessed with board games,” Ally says. “Few things make me happier than sitting around with a group of friends for a friendly game of Carcasonne, Ticket to Ride, or Munchkin. I’m also passionate about social justice and am constantly trying to better myself and widen my mind through reading and attending training sessions on approaching differences and social issues. I like to practice self care as frequently as possible by colouring and meditating. Truthfully, though, I spend a lot of time my time engaging with pop culture. I love listening to the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and I watch a lot of Netflix. Like, a lot of Netflix. Just a whole lot of Netflix.”

If you want an opportunity to see Ally perform, you’re in luck; she is playing the role of Gertrude McFuzz in QAAW’s production of Seussical, which opens June 1st! “I am so excited to be playing Gertrude because she just radiates this positivity and optimism,” Ally says. “Even when she feels down, she smiles through it and picks herself back up so quickly. She’s such an innocent and genuine character, and I see a lot of myself in her, so she has been an absolute pleasure to play. I cannot wait to share her with an audience next weekend!”

Thanks so much for your contributions to QAAW, Ally! We are so happy to have you as part of our Quick As A Wink community!

Do you have someone you think deserves to be highlighted in our “Spotlight on …” feature? We are always looking for suggestions on who to feature! Send us an email or Facebook message with the name of your suggestion.

New “Spotlight on …” segments are posted every weekend. We hope you join us next week to celebrate another valued QAAW community member!

Summer Student Blog Post: Seussical and Summer Camp Presentations

Hello everyone! Holly here!

 A picture of Dwight Ross Elementary School in Greenwood. Just one school of many to present at!  Photo credit: Holly Lohnes

A picture of Dwight Ross Elementary School in Greenwood. Just one school of many to present at!

Photo credit: Holly Lohnes

Quick As A Wink has been super busy getting our upcoming production of Seussical the Musical ready! The whole cast has been working so hard, and it has shown when I have come in to see some of the rehearsals. In getting ready for this, I have been doing Spotlight interviews with some of the production members. I also have been going to local areas and putting up posters to help advertise for the show. I hope to see many people at the shows!

I have also been going to some of the local schools across the Valley region and giving presentations about what Quick As A Wink has to offer, especially our summer camps! I am so excited to start planning for these summer camps, but more on that later on. I have presentations with many schools over the next two weeks, which is great! During the presentations, I have played the game “Whoosh” with the students. A big thank you to Ally and some of the Seussical kids for teaching me this awesome game; if you want to learn the game too, come to camp this summer and we will teach you!

This week was also my first week at Pub Trivia Night, and it was a blast! Lots of laughs were had, as well some head scratching while thinking about the answers to some of the questions - some were real thinkers!

Thanks for listening!

Holly

Press Release - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Windsor’s Local Theatre Company takes on the fantastical wonders of Dr. Seuss in Seussical the Musical

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Windsor’s Local Theatre Company takes on the fantasical wonders of Dr. Seuss in Seussical The Musical.

Windsor, NS (May 10, 2018) - Quick As A Wink Theatre Society proudly presents Seussical The Musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, based on the works of Dr. Seuss.

The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many "thinks." Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Under the direction of Becca Guilderson , with musical direction by Graham Howes, and vocal direction by Thea Koeing, Seussical The Musical features local talent from over 50 performers, including Alan Slipp as Horton, and Jilly Richards as The Cat In The Hat. Supporting actors include Ally Loiselle, Joni Aube, Breagh MacLean, Joel Dauphinee, Kelly Richards, Marietta Laan, Cate Ratcliffe, Maddy Fitzgerald, Justin Brown, Sawyer Brown, and Gretchen Archibald.

Shows will take place at Fountain Performing Arts Centre of King’s-Edgehill School in Windsor, June 1, 2, 8, 9, at 7:00 p.m. with special matinees on June 2, 3, and 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at QAAW.ca or by visiting The Spoke and Note in Windsor and Box of Delights Book Shop in Wolfville.

Adding to the experience, a special story reading with crafts and treats with the characters before the show is available for children at a cost of $20, which includes admission to the show! Story readings will be held at 12 p.m. on June 2 and 3. Tickets for this event are available only through our website at QAAW.ca

Quick As A Wink Theatre Society is a non-profit, charitable, community theatre group entertaining West Hants, Nova Scotia and beyond. Quick As A Wink’s objectives and performances are conducted and achieved entirely by volunteers and non-profit means.

###

Mark Wainman
Communications Manager, Quick As A Wink Theatre Society
C: 902.690.7233
info@qaaw.ca

Spotlight on ... Shelby Marshall!

SPOTLIGHT shelbymarshall.png

Today’s “Spotlight” is on the lovely and talented Shelby Marshall!

Shelby has been a part of our Quick As A Wink community for roughly four years. “I first joined Quick As A Wink when I was asked to play violin in the pit for the 2014 Winkie Awards,” Shelby says. “I had a fantastic time, and I kept coming back for more! In 2015, I got to arrange a bit of music for Cinderella and play in the pit band for You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. In 2016, I got to play in [the pit for] The Little Mermaid, and then later I worked for Quick As A Wink as a summer student.”

While a lot of Shelby’s involvement with QAAW has been on the music side, her favorite memory is one associated with the social connections that come with the arts. “My favorite Quick As A Wink memory is when I got to walk in the Apple Blossom Festival Parade [in 2015] as a replacement Lucy Van Pelt with the rest of the You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown cast,” Shelby says. “I played in the pit band for that show, and it was nice having the opportunity to get to know the rest of the cast!”

The social aspect of theatre and the ability to connect is what keeps Shelby coming back time and time again. “What I love most about theatre is how collaborative it is and how it brings communities together,” she says. “You can’t put on a show all by yourself. Theatre requires collaborative effort to be successful, and when you create and perform with other people, you create stronger connections with them. You learn to work as part of a collective, and you feel part of something greater than yourself. I love the community that builds up around theatre productions and organizations. It creates a family that can work together on something that they love.”

Though every show allows Shelby to connect with her theatre family, she still has a few specific productions she would especially like to be part of! “I’m a big fan of Cole Porter, and I would love to work on Anything Goes; the dancing in that show is amazing!” Shelby says. “If I were to take a turn on stage, though, I think I could do justice to Samuel Seabury from Hamilton.”

Shelby has been away from Quick As A Wink for the last short while due to working on some other exciting projects. “At the moment I am still in school, studying to be an orchestral conductor,” she says. “Being part of pit bands with Quick As A Wink and other organizations made me want to work as a music director, either in opera or musical theatre. I’m going to be part of the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy this summer as an assistant conductor; we’re doing selections from Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park, and I’m really excited.”

Of course, Shelby has other interests outside of the arts. “When I’m not making music, I love to ride horses in Falmouth!” she says.

Thanks so much for all your contributions to Quick As A Wink Theatre Society, Shelby! We are so appreciative for all your work, and cannot wait to work with you again very soon!

Do you have someone you think deserves to be highlighted in our “Spotlight on …” feature? We are always looking for suggestions on who to feature! Send us an email or Facebook message with the name of your suggestion.

New “Spotlight on …” segments are posted every weekend. We hope you join us next week to celebrate another valued QAAW community member!

Summer Student Blog Post: Nice to Meet You!

Hello Everyone!

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My name is Holly Lohnes, and I am one of the summer students working with Quick As A Wink Theatre Society this summer! You will be hearing from me this summer as I will be posting blogs to keep you up to date on what I have been up to and what has been going on with Quick As A Wink. This is my first summer working with Quick As A Wink, and I am so excited to get started!

So, a little bit about me: I graduated from Acadia University in 2017 with an Undergrad in Music. I am now back at Acadia doing my Education degree, and I have just finished my first year. Outside of school, I am a passionate conductor; I have been the Music Director of the Kings County Concert Band since October of 2017, and I have been the assistant Music Director with the New Horizons band since September of 2017. I also teach beginner and intermediate music lessons to people of all ages. I have experience with singing in both solo, group, and choir performances and Musical Theatre performances. I have been a part of different drama and Musical productions such as Oliver, Annie, The Wizard Of Oz, and The Big Bad Musical.

Earlier this week, I got to meet a few lovely people who are on the board, including Ally, Karen, and Jennifer, and Artistic Director Toven. I am so excited to get started and to be working with this amazing community.

Another thing I have been working on this week is finding a drama production for one of our camps. I have found some good contenders, but stay tuned for what our final decision is going to be. And don’t forget, Seussical is coming up very shortly, the production opens June 1st!

That’s all for now, but I will be back soon.

Holly

Spotlight on ... Yvonne Van Blarcom!

Welcome to our newly revived written “Spotlight on …” segment! The work done at Quick As A Wink would not be possible without the time, energy, talent, and help of numerous QAAW community members. It’s time to celebrate some of the valued members of our team who are essential to our success!

Today’s “Spotlight” is on the wonderful and welcoming Yvonne Van Blarcom!

If you have attended a Quick As A Wink performance in recent years, you have likely met the lovely Yvonne; she has been an essential part of our Front of House team for some time now and currently serves as one of our Front of House co-managers!

Prior to becoming involved with QAAW herself, however, Yvonne was a fan of Quick As A Wink’s work and was a frequent audience member. “I first became involved [with Quick As A Wink] as a spectator [during] Glory Days in 2004,” Yvonne says. “I found out about the play though my children's music connections.  I was super impressed with the story and the music, all written and composed by local talent, [which] was very inspiring.  I then tried to catch all of the shows after that.”

It didn’t take long for Yvonne to become involved with Quick As A Wink herself. “Around 2010, I started playing a musical instrument myself,” she says. “I ended up joining a community concert band and sat next to Jan Gnemmi [QAAW’s other FOH co-manager]. She asked if I'd like to help out with working the table at Front of House at the Quick As A Wink shows. Jan is so sweet; you can't say no! In 2015, Jan was looking to move away from the position and asked if I would like to take it over. With my work commitments, I didn't want to commit to this totally, but I offered to co-manage with her. We're a good team!”

Front of House has proven to be a rewarding experience for Yvonne over the years. “I have a few favourite memories from Front of House,” Yvonne says. “[These include] the smile from a special guest after helping them to their seat, hugs and friendly greetings from folks that I see four times a year at the shows, and sharing a joke with others.”

Yvonne has been a long-time fan of theatre and enjoys all the different aspects that bring a show together. “I have always loved live performances,” she says. “I love watching the pit band as much as I enjoy what is happening on the stage. My daughter would say, 'Mum, you are supposed to be watching the play, not me!' It's [also] fun watching the actors recover from a faux pas; [it] makes it so much more entertaining to me!”

Could QAAW fans ever expect to see Yvonne take the stage herself if the right role arose? “Dream role?” says Yvonne. “No, my skills are best put to use out front!”

So what does Yvonne enjoy doing when she isn’t volunteering her time with QAAW? “Definitely following everything that my two girls do!” she says. This includes Kelsey Van Blarcom, another QAAW community member!

Yvonne is also a passionate musician and enjoys spending her time playing. “I learned to play the clarinet at 46," she says. "See, you are never too old! I took private lessons for two years, playing the recitals alongside my daughters! I now play in two concert bands for fun, one with my husband who plays bass."

Looking to hear Yvonne play for yourself? You may be in luck! “New Horizons band will be playing the music festival at Acadia on April 30th,” Yvonne says, “and the Valley Community Concert band are in the middle of their Senior Homes spring tours.”

Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you do, Yvonne! It is always a pleasure to work with you, and we are so happy to have you are part of our team!

Do you have someone you think deserves to be highlighted in our “Spotlight on …” feature? We are always looking for suggestions on who to feature! Send us an email or Facebook message with the name of your suggestion.

New “Spotlight on …” segments are posted every weekend. We hope you join us next week to celebrate another valued QAAW community member!

Summer Student Blog Post: Drama Camp Continues ...

 Peek-a-boo! Having fun at the Blockhouse. Photo credit: Ally Loiselle

Peek-a-boo! Having fun at the Blockhouse.
Photo credit: Ally Loiselle

Hello again, everyone! It’s time for another Drama Camp update! Thank you to everyone who commented on my previous blog post and shared such kind words; it made me so happy to hear that your children are enjoying camp as much as we are!

Camp continues to be very busy, but also very fun. The last couple days have been spent hard at work rehearsing scenes from the show, making props, and singing our hearts out as we learn the camp song. Camp leader Olivia also taught our campers their choreography to the final song yesterday afternoon, so we can now add dancing to the list of activities as well!

The jokes and funny stories continue to pile up, as well. From ad-libbed lines to silly poses in drama games, there is rarely a moment where at least one of us isn’t laughing. Some notable funny instances from today included all our campers loudly clapping chanting “MANGO MANGO MANGO!” while circling the room during a game, the actors playing our gnome characters trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to to run and sing their gnome song at high speed, and a series of exaggerated and hilarious faces during a game of “Graveyard.” There is never a dull moment here at camp!

 Our full cast of campers at the end of our trip! Photo credit: Ally Loiselle

Our full cast of campers at the end of our trip!
Photo credit: Ally Loiselle

In addition to having fun, though, our campers have also been taking their roles very seriously and learning a lot about their characters. Yesterday involved a series of activities that encouraged our actors to think about, explore, and create their characters’ personalities and histories. A lot of wonderful and creative material came out of it; for example, two actresses determined that their characters must be estranged sisters, another girl learned how deeply her character valued magic, and another camper determined the reason her character eventually became evil. It’s been so rewarding to watch the campers learn, grow, and become excited about their roles; it’s just one of the many things I love about this job!

Everyone has been working very hard this week, so today we also travelled up to the Fort Edward Blockhouse to take a well-deserved break from rehearsing, spend some time outside, and learn about some local history! It was very warm outside, so we didn’t stay for too long, but it was nice to get out of the church for a little while and enjoy the sunshine! The trip was made even better when we returned and had some lovely frozen Freezies waiting for us. What a productive day!

Camp is truly picking up speed, now; with only two days of camp left already (where has the time gone??), tomorrow we will be doing two full run-throughs of the show and having our campers rehearse without the use of their scripts. It’s so exciting that the final performance is so close!

I likely won’t be able to post again until following the final performance – there is still a lot to prepare! – but you can expect an update from me sometime next week regarding show night. However, why wait for my blog post on the subject when you can some see the show for yourself? Our Drama Camp performance of Holka Polka is open to the public by free will donation and happens this Friday at 7:30pm at KES. These kids have been working hard and deserve a huge audience to see all they have accomplished!

In non-camp related news, last night was also the Pub Trivia Season Finale! Congratulations to the Meeples on their well-deserved win; what an amazing season you played! A huge thank you to all our regular teams who repeatedly come out to play and support us; we hope to see you all for the next Trivia season, which starts THIS TUESDAY (August 1st)!

I’m off for now; lots to do before Friday!

Cheers until next time!

Ally