By Stan Ashbee
Alberta Newspaper Group
Senator Gershaw School’s Grade 11 class proudly presents this year’s spring production “No Place Like Nowhere” March 21-23.
“It’s about a rural prairie town selected by the federal government as a repository for toxic waste. The government is trying to secretly convince the citizens to move elsewhere, so they won’t find out about the toxic waste,” said Ali Vos, English teacher and one of two directors of this year’s production. But, don’t let the synopsis fool you — it’s mainly a comedy. The second director is fellow teacher Lana Johnson.
Gershaw provides core programming for over 180 students in Grades 4 through 12 from the surrounding area of Bow Island and Burdett and is a part of the Prairie Rose School Division.
Scripts come from a production company in the United States. The script is ordered, Vos said, and the school requests for the ability to tweak it and change it to a more local setting. “It usually helps to add some more local humour to it.”
On Mar. 21-22, the show starts at 7 p.m. On Mar. 23, there is a dinner theatre beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Bow Island Legion with the show following at 7 p.m. at the school. Tickets for the Thursday and Friday performances are $15 and Saturday dinner theatre performance tickets are $25.
New this year, Vos explained, is the auctioning off of front row seats — which will be replaced with sofas or “luxury seating.” “We are auctioning those through silent auction. The funds raised from that are going to go towards the community track project.”
Vos said the project includes resurfacing and improving the drainage around the school’s running track. “It’s located beside Senator Gershaw School, but we’re hoping to turn it into a community track open to all of the schools and any community members to use.”
Grade 11 students are the performers in the show and behind the scenes. The production has become an annual fundraiser to raise funds for Grade 12 graduation. “The parents of the Grade 11 students are the ones who are putting together the dinner, a few volunteer parents,” she noted.
According to Vos, there’s 20 students involved in the 2019 production and many parents help out with anything else that needs to be done.
This year, Vos said, the students have been very engaged and enthusiastic. “They’ve been able to take on a larger role of preparation because of the scheduling change we had in our timetable this year at school. That has definitely increased their enthusiasm, their engagement, and their ownership over the whole process.”
Usually around Christmas, Vos added, is when the theatre bug bites those affiliated with the yearly show with script writing and rehearsals. “It’s a pretty long, large project they work on.”
“This has been a tradition for many years. My husband grew up in this area and he put on a Grade 11 play when he was in high school,” she said.
Last year, the production was a murder mystery entitled, “A Family Reunion to Die For.”
Tickets can be purchased at the school. “We have students selling in the morning before school, at lunch time, and right after school. Or they can come in and talk to our secretary and she’ll help them anytime during the school day,” she said.