On Friday, June 15, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Cranbrook Community Theatre hosts its third annual Chautauqua. And it’s free!
What is a Chautauqua, you say? It’s a bygone type of variety show. In the late 19th/early 20th Century, academics, scientists and professional musicians travelled as a troupe across Canadian West bringing entertainment and edification (education, news and culture) to small towns, farming communities, mining towns, railroad camps and so forth. This followed a model begun in the Northeastern U.S. during the same period.
Here, they were called Dominion Chautauquas and they were most prevalent on the Canadian prairies. Eventually they gave way to burlesque and vaudeville shows. In contrast, while a Chautauqua included a wide variety of music, poetry, and even comedy skits, they strove to be tasteful and family0-friendly. This certainly holds true of Chautauqua at Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT).
Early Chautauquas always had a core team of entertainers or edifiers. Along their journey, they picked up local talent, who performed with them for at least the next town or two. After that, the miner, farmer, or local school teacher who’d joined them would head back home. In his/her place, newcomers always stepped in. It wasn’t unusual to have someone play the fiddle and spoons followed by a classical songstress or flutist! In this same tradition, CCT’s production Chautauqua offers an eclectic line up as well. We have songs, poetry, monologues, comedy sketches and more! Our performers range in ages from from children to seniors.
CCT’s Chautauqua is set in the early1900s. It’s live, acoustic and acapella. You may have seen some of us on the stage before, but many of the faces in Chautauqua may be quite new to you. This is their chance to shine! Come see them: come see us all and have some fun! And, we are all in costumes of the era.
Come for a short while or come for up to an hour. The choice is yours: it is a drop in show for audiences. Yes, free!
Some refreshments will be available on site and coupons offered for a discount at the Total Pets’ BBQ nearby.
Remember, Cranbrook Community Theatre’s Chautauqua is a revival of the old tradition. It is a heritage event held in a heritage building (The Studio) and occurring during a heritage festival, Sam Steele Days. We look forward to welcoming you all.
One evening only: Drop- in to the Studio on 11th Avenue downtown, Friday, June 15, anytime between 5:30 – 8:30 pm.