Torchlight’s SPARK program takes on Robin Hood
Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 06:00 am
The medieval folklore of England’s most famous outlaw takes to the stage March 24 and 25 for Torchlight Theatre’s SPARK production of Dan Neidermyer’s Robin Hood.
This production marks the third production the theatre company has put on under its SPARK youth program, according to Torchlight artistic director Chelsea Restall.
While deciding what the next production should be, the play’s director Kim Cheel said the two were inspired by a bag of medieval-themed handmade costumes gifted to Torchlight.
“We looked at the costumes, looked at each other and said ‘Robin Hood!’,” she said. “Then it was just a matter of finding the right script.”
With some productions of Robin Hood calling for upwards of 30 characters, Cheel said they decided on Neidermyer’s rendition for its scope and size performed by 11 actors.
Maddie McKee, 14, takes on the role of the noble Lady Marion Fitzwalter, who spies for Robin Hood as Maid Marion within the Sheriff of Nottingham’s castle.
In Neidermyer’s rendition, Marion is very independent, McKee said, with a unique personality when compared to the way the character is usually portrayed on television or in movies.
“She has her own character,” she said.
In her second production with Torchlight Theatre, Chelsea Morrell embodies the sheriff’s menacing right-hand woman Lady Dunstan.
Working with Torchlight has been “an absolute dream,” she said, including working with people such as Restall, Cheel and the 10 other youth that make up the cast.
“They’re absolutely incredibly talented,” Morrell said. “They’re some of the best people to work with.”
With medieval folklore also comes swords and Morrell was one of the actors who got to delve into the art of stage combat choreography.
Combat has always been something she wanted to learn, she said, though she had dabbled in some self-defence in the past.
“It’s nowhere near as awesome as being able to pick up a fake sword and going for your friends’ necks,” Morrell said.
Though she never dreamed of teaching youth, Cheel said she marvels at the fact it has become her main purpose in life and the driving reason she advocates for the arts as much as she does.
An experience such as this can show young actors there is a completely accessible life in acting beyond community or school theatre, according to Cheel.
“I see the growth (in the youth),” she said. “I see how it brings them confidence and it excels their naturally born talent.”
Robin Hood hits the stage at the Airdrie Victory Church at 7 p.m. March 24 with a ticket price of $10 and 2 p.m. March 25 with a ticket price of $8.
Tickets can be purchased online at torchlighttheatre.ca or at the door.