A new live theatre group is starting in Hillcrest Village with rehearsals for the Canadian classic musical Anne of Green Gables starting Oct. 19.
The Hillcrest Village Community Players founded by Krista Mihevc, daughter of former city councillor Joe Mihevc, will give their first performance in February.
“Many years ago I had this idea (for a theatre group) and then this year was like, ‘This is the year I’m going to do it,'” Mihevc told Streeter.
The company will be made up completely of volunteers, no paid positions.
Mihevc put out feelers on Facebook about her idea and was overwhelmed with the response. People called in offering to make props, costumes and sets, or take tickets.
Auditions for actors are over. But she can still use more help.
Fundraising, painting sets and publicity writers are roles that need filling, and musicians are needed for the orchestra.
“No volunteer will be turned away,” Mihevc says.
Mihevc works full-time in communications and is taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether there will be enough public interest to make the theatre group a permanent fixture in the community.
“I’m taking this one show at a time for now. I have a feeling it will be ongoing because the feedback I’ve gotten is just so incredible.”
It could be that down the road locally-written plays might be performed and maybe there’ll even be a board of directors, Mihevc mused.
As for the play Anne of Green Gables, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel of the same name, Mihevc says she’ll rewrite a few of the scenes that she says are “a bit out of date.”
But the show’s underlying theme of social justice will stick.
“The show speaks to belonging and inclusivity and feeling like you’re part of a community,” Mihevc says.
As for the character Anne, Mihevc says, “She’s such an incredible role model for young people.
“She is somebody who asks questions, who doesn’t fit the mould, who tries to break the mould as much as possible. She doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and that rebellious spirit is such a beautiful thing to look up to.”
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Mihevc has an amateur acting background.
Rehearsals are at St. Matthew’s United Church on St. Clair Avenue West at Christie Street. That’s where the play will be performed.
COVID protocols will be followed, those ordained by government and by St. Matthews. That means masks and distancing and perhaps, too, vaccine passports.
“I’ve done theatre my whole life, basically since I was six years old. Theatre is so much so a part of how I met people who I love in my life, how I became the person that I am today.”
You’re never alone onstage
There won’t be acting lessons, per se, but with her experience Mihevc is ready to coach amateurs in their acting techniques.
And as for stage fright, she has a sanguine way of looking at that.
“Part of overcoming stage fright is getting to know your fellow cast mates and feeling supported, and feeling like you belong, you’re part of a team. That way when you’re up on stage, it’s never you alone.”
Mihevc thinks Hillcrest, and even the broader community, is due for a bit of levity after one and a half years of COVID doldrums.
“We really need community now more than ever and what a better way than to do a shared art project together.”