Starting tonight at the Pond Playhouse in Halifax, the Theatre Arts Guild presents the hilarious comic adventure Camelot, The Panto. Recently AE caught up with the show’s director Angela Butler.
How long have you been involved with theatre and in what capacity?I have been involved in theatre since 1996. It all started when a friend said asked me to be a part of a workshop that involved a play. I was hooked. I then became involved with community theatre groups, Dartmouth Players first then in 1998 I stepped across the pond and joined Theatre Arts Guild and been involved here ever since. I have tried my hand in almost every aspect of the theatre from acting, directing, props, to serving at a board level. I am the current President of the Board of Directors at TAG. One aspect I haven't tried yet is lighting but I am hoping it will be my next adventure.
Why the decision to direct Camelot, the Panto?My friend Bunny Shore (AKA- Musial Director extraordinaire) and I have collaborated together with Lorne Abramson these past few years with the pantomimes at TAG. This panto was actually chosen by the Artistic committee but was also one that Bunny and I both read prior to the committee's selection. Bunny and Lowell's (AKA More-Dread the Sorcerer) grandson Sabby also told his grandparents last year after we did Captain Hook that we should try a play with knights. We thought it was a great idea. I would like to think that it was fate.
What are the challenges involved with putting on this particular production?Like in all plays that require a large cast at TAG- blocking a musical with 21 in the cast has many challenges. Not a lot of places to go. Another challenge we faced this year was the location of the play. How do you put a kingdom like Camelot on a stage the size of Theatre Arts Guild's? Well, through all the brilliant minds of our talented crew, we accomplished what I believe to be an awesome set. Fit for KING if you ask me- or a PRINCE in our case!
What are the rewards?The rewards are easy. The first time I heard this cast sing as an ensemble, I had goose bumps! What an amazingly talented group they are. Working with such an incredible team is a huge reward for me. Watching all the pieces fall into place as we get close to opening the show is such an incredible feeling. It starts with a script on paper and becomes this unbelievably magical spectacle. But I'd have to say the biggest reward happens after we open and the audience gets to experience the magic too. The audience reactions are worth all the hard work.
What can audiences expect to experience during the run?For anyone that has been to pantomime will know what to expect but for those who have never been to one will be in for a huge treat. Pantomime is one of the few genres of theatre that asks for the audience to participate. Actually it is a prerequisite. This show is very interactive. Gentlemen, be prepared! A special lady may be on the hunt for a "Mr Right"!
What are your thoughts on the state of theatre in Halifax and Atlantic Canada?I'd say that theatre is thriving here. There are a number of small theatre groups around HRM that are building a audience. It is great to see the variety. As a community theatre group, Theatre Arts Guild is proud to offer our audiences an affordable night of entertainment while allowing our onstage and backstage members a theatrical experience.
Camelot, The Panto until December 15 at the Pond Playhouse in Halifaxwww.tagtheatre.com