Lethbridge performing arts group ends bumpy year on a high note

Click to play video: 'Performing arts groups facing financial difficulties in southern Alberta'
Performing arts groups facing financial difficulties in southern Alberta
It’s been a tricky few years for performing arts groups in Lethbridge. After a longstanding community theatre group launched an urgent fundraising campaign earlier this month, others said they’re also feeling the pinch. Eloise Therien has more. – Nov 29, 2022

After launching an urgent fundraising campaign to help save its operations in southern Alberta, New West Theatre has ended 2022 with a well-attended production.

According to artistic director Kelly Reay, the music comedy revue “Blockbuster” was a hit with local audiences.

Running from Dec. 14 to 31, 2022, at the Yates Memorial Theatre, “Blockbuster” featured pieces from musicals like Hairspray and Grease, as well as music by artists such as Johnny Cash and Miley Cyrus.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton’s Theatre Network celebrates return to the stage'
Edmonton’s Theatre Network celebrates return to the stage

“I stood on the stage every single night of the show expressing how humbled that I was, that New West Theatre was, because the community really stepped up and I guess in a way declared that (we are) very important to the community,” he said.

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While the company is still tallying the box office numbers, Reay told Global News Monday their sales revenue targets were exceeded by “a fair amount.”

This comes after the company put out a plea for financial support in November, having overestimated community appetite for a couple of its previous productions and dealing with a variety of financial hardships such as stoppages from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In mid-December, the company just exceeded its first fundraising benchmark by bringing in around $37,000.

The second phase began in the new year and will run through to the end of June as the company looks to ensure its future.

Reay hopes they can continue this recent upward trajectory as they map out the next few months.

“We have a number of initiatives planned for the next six months. There will be at least one fundraiser event which will be a cabaret-style performance featuring the New West Theatre ensemble,” Reay explained.

“Our (fundraising initiatives) notice will be out in the next three to four weeks — you’ll have a better sense of what we’re up to.”

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Phase three will follow in July, with the company’s total goal set at $150,000.

-With files from Erik Bay, Global News

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