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‘Mermaid’ to ‘Matilda’ – Theatre Project originator’s dream fulfilled

“That’s not right!” is the signature expression of the young and determined heroine of Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda The Musical Jr.

ELK POINT - “That’s not right!” is the signature expression of the young and determined heroine of Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda The Musical Jr.’, the heartwarming play that underlines her insistence that “Even if you’re little, you can do a lot.”

With four very successful performances now completed by the enthusiastic and talented group of youngsters and teens that make up the Elk Point Theatre Project, backed up by a dedicated production team and a band of tireless volunteers, it’s clear to see that this project not only share’s Matilda’s determination, but it carries on the determination of the Elk Point Theatre Project’s originator.

In 2015, Elk Point resident LoAnne Shiers, originally from Moose Jaw, where she was part of a high school theatre program, saw a need for a youth organization that was dedicated to the arts, a place where they could go besides athletics, and would fulfill her motto, ‘No child left behind.’ 

Taking the initiative to form the organization, she saw the success grow from the Theatre Project’s first endeavor, ‘The Little Mermaid’, followed by ‘Annie Jr.’ in 2016, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in 2017,and ‘Spamalot’ in 2018 to ‘Seussical Jr.’ in 2019. Practices and work on sets were both well underway for ‘Into the Woods’ in 2020 when COVID-19 called a halt to in-person entertainment along with everything from school classes to hockey provincials.

Her hopes to resume Theatre Project performances once the pandemic was over, and to someday fulfill her dream of producing ‘Matilda’ were cut short by being diagnosed with the cancer that claimed her life in 2022. The Theatre Project, however, has been brought back to life, with Lynda Young as the new director and her “incredible team” of volunteers stepping in to make sure that LoAnne’s dream was not forgotten.

A very special part of this year’s performances was a welcome message by Stephanie Earle, who told the audience’s LoAnne’s story, and also praised the memory of an enthusiastic and talented member of the cast in all five previous shows, Zxayven Pelech, who passed away in 2021.

Despite its pandemic shutdown and the subsequent tragedies, the Elk Point Theatre Project has followed through on that longstanding show business motto, ‘The show must go on.’

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