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Posted: July 25, 2019

Old Canadian culture show returns

A Chautauqua is a traveling show and/or local assembly that was popular in North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The shows provided education combined with entertainment to the towns of the West, the Wild West, the Gold Rush and various other burgeoning small towns and villages.  Primarily they brought news of politics, science and discovery, new inventions and they brought an element of culture to the people scattered across the country.

Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT) is delighted to present their fourth Chautauqua free to the community, Friday, August 16 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in association with the Cranbrook Multicultural Festival.

“Reflecting early Canadian culture of the 1900s, our old-style variety show well complements the theme of the Multicultural Festival that weekend,” said Melodie Hull, Director of Chautauqua. Hull is at the core of all CCT’s Chautauqua as ‘Miss Melodie’ – Mistress of Ceremonies, edifier and entertainer and well known by audiences.

Bring the family for a short time or stay for as long as you like. Attendees can expect to be whisked back in time to enjoy performances of songs, yodelling, guitar, comedy, poetry, monologues, acrobatics, storytelling, historical vignettes and more. All performers are dressed as closely as possible to the fashion trend a century ago. This event promises to be a fun opportunity for the public to experience uniquely delivered entertainment in a family-friendly environment within the Studio space of one of Cranbrook’s most cherished heritage buildings.

Chautauqua is live, acoustic and a capella with no admission fee. You may have seen some of the performers like ‘Miss Grizelda’ on the stage before, but some of the faces are new. Clementine Hoffert, a songstress well known in the Kootenays for her talented yodelling, along with Mark Casey, Elly Buck and Kevin Higgins are just a few of the performers who will contribute to the show’s exceptional line up.

CCT is active year ‘round, not only during their core production season. They strive to mentor and contribute to the development of local performing arts through “theatre for the community, by the community” and are stewards of the Studio/Stage Door Heritage Building, 11 11th Avenue South, downtown Cranbrook.

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Lead image: Melodie Hull, centre, with Kevin Higgins and Michael Prestwich during Chautauqua 2017. Photo submitted

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