Elora Community Theatre prepares for summer shows

ELORA – Elora Community Theatre (ECT) is running two summer outdoor shows this season.  A Red Plaid Shirt, on July 29 and 30 at 7pm, July 31, at 2 and 7pm, as well as Aug. 1 and 2 at 2pm at the Elora Centre for the arts. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will run on Aug. 20 and 27 weekends at Bissel park. Tickets for both productions will be available on the Elora Centre for the Arts website, https://eloracentreforthearts.ca/our-events/upcoming-events/.

These will be ECT’S first in-person productions since last summer, though this hasn’t stopped them from performing. They have hosted roughly 10 events online during the year, “way too many,” commented ECT president Deb Stanson.

The opportunity to practice in person theatre again has been exciting for all ECT members, “we had our first in person rehearsal [recently] … it was unbelievable,” said Stanson, adding that they hope people are as anxious to attend in-person theatre again as they are to perform it.

ECT started holding annual Shakespeare in the park performances in 2014 its estimated. Stanson commented that A Midsummers Night’s Dream was the first ever Shakespeare in the park production that was put on, and after the hiatus “we felt it was appropriate.”

While outdoor summer shows are something ECT has done for the past several years, they do come with their own unique set of challenges, “we’re praying for good weather,” Stanson commented, as these productions are very much at the mercy of the elements.

The shows are also, “definitely a fundraiser,” said Stanson, after months of not be able to hold in person shows, and therefore not gaining funds from ticket sales, ECT had to move out of their rehearsal space.

“We are currently looking for permanent rehearsal space,” Stanson pointed out.

Shari Roberts, producer of A Red Plaid Shirt for ECT, commented on the unique circumstances this year. In past years outdoor summer plays were mainly for Shakespeare in the Park, but with the pandemic affecting the normal productions held throughout the year, “we decided to expand for the summer season.”

Rehearsals have been a mix of online, outdoor meetings, and recently a few indoor, using a space in the Elora Centre for the Arts temporarily.

“Everybody’s been really good at adapting this year,” Roberts said of ever-changing circumstances due to the pandemic.

The 2021-2022 season is already being planned, with hopes of having the winter show in indoors.

The December show is Jane Eyre, February is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and May will be Little House on the Prairie the Musical.