Not-for-profit hopes Edmonton Fringe performance will help rebuild crumbling theatre

Unique challenges behind Fringe theatre play
WATCH ABOVE: One play at this year's Fringe has faced some unique challenges. Cowbirds is being put on by the Leduc Drama Society- but finding rehearsal space has been difficult. Quinn Ohler explains why.

For the past 13 years, the Leduc Drama Society playhouse has served as a cultural hub for the community.

Nearly one year ago, though, while moving costumes, one of the board members fell through the floor, and a nightmare began for the community group.

“We found out that basically the entire outside of the building is rotting out and isn’t structurally sound anymore,” Cyndi Wagner, president of the Leduc Drama Society, said.

Wagner, who has been involved with the group in one way or another since its inception in 1980, is now on a mission to get the building fixed.

“I came on as president specifically with the mandate to get the building fixed,” she said.

To make the building structurally sound again, it could cost upwards of $120,000, a heartbreaking realization for the not-for-profit.

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“It’s unbelievable that just a simple building can build a community,” said Wagner, who is afraid that a piece of the community could be lost.

The group has been doing several fundraisers but is well short of its goal.

“We’re close to about $3,000,” Lyndon Anderson, artistic director of the society, said.”Every little bit helps to help us get closer to our goal.”

Now they’re using their talents to help them with that fundraising goal. Their production of “Cowbirds” will be shown at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival.

“You use what you’ve got!” smiled Anderson.

The play centres around family, secrets and how those secrets end up out in the open.

Watch: Edmonton Fringe Festival hoping for record crowds in 2016

The play’s director, Cliff Smith, said the performance has allowed the troupe to show they are more than just a stereotypical community theatre group.

“The fringe is an opportunity to go outside our normal genre perhaps a little darker and more interesting when it comes to the world stage,” Smith said.

Wagner plays a stripper, one of her many roles that she’s taken on since she started with the group 36 years ago.

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READ MORE: Edmonton International Fringe Festival reveals 2016 theme, ‘That was Then, This is Fringe’

For her, the fight to rebuild is personal.  She lost her dad, one of the Leduc Drama Society’s founding members, five years ago.

“Because the legacy of my dad is so strong in this building, I needed to come back and help,” Wagner teared up.

Cowbirds is playing at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre on the following dates:

  • Aug. 12 – 2:15 p.m.
  • Aug. 13 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 15 – 12:15 p.m.
  • Aug. 17 – 6:15 p.m.
  • Aug. 18 – 4:45 p.m.
  • Aug. 19 – 10:30 p.m.

For tickets, visit the festival’s website.