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Okotoks performers promise a tall tale

Starting Aug. 13 and running for a week, Goodger-Pink Family Theatre will be holding a live performance of Jack & the Beanstalk in Drake Landing.
SCENE-Goodger-Pink Jack BWC 112941 web
The cast of Goodger-Pink Family Theatre's production of Jack and the Beanstock (left to right) Samantha Duff, Daniel Rose, Shandra McQueen, and Joe Fowler pose on July 31. The play starts Aug. 13.
Children's theatre troupe Goodger-Pink Family Theatre is taking a giant step forward with a live performance for its first time since the pandemic.

The troupe is presenting live performances of Jack & the Beanstalk in Drake Landing starting Aug. 13 and running for a week.

“The very first day we were all together, it was very exciting for us,” said Joe Fowler, starring as Jack in the production. “I think we’ve all really been itching to get on our feet and actually get to interact with one another."

Written for Goodger-Pink by Calgary playwright Charlotte Nixon, Fowler found the play and its characters a joy to act out.

“All the characters, they packed it full of so many interesting humans — and non-humans — the script is really, really easy to work with,” he said. “Everything feels very natural and very human.”

Fowler, who also created the show's set and props, tailored them to each of the actors.

“It’s so nice to be able to work with the actors and figure out how they want to use those pieces,” he said. “We can make them specifically for that person, or how it needs to be used.

“I always have a blast doing that.”

The esthetic for the play, he said, was intended to be reminiscent of a pop-up story book.

“My goal was I wanted to make it seem like this book was coming to life,” he said.

Also joining the cast to play Jack’s mother is Shandra McQueen who, while a newcomer to Goodger-Pink, comes with a wealth of experience, having studied theatre at Mount Royal University and worked in stage productions around western Canada.

“It’s been well over a year since I’ve done anything theatre-based,” McQueen said. “This is a brand new experience for me, so it’s great getting back into live theatre, working with a new company and new people.”

The child and family-oriented style of Goodger-Pink appeals to her as it enables bombastic expression of her character.

“I love doing children’s theatre in general, because everything is so heightened,” she said. “You get to do these big, bold characters that are maybe not quite as grounded in reality as other shows.

“In this one, I’m delighted to be able to play with different accents and really get to be big and over the top and dramatic.

“So that’s just been a treat.”

Okotoks arts and entertainment mainstay Katie Fournell is in the director’s seat for the production, and happy to be out from in front of a screen.

“We did decide late in the year we were going to do it (perform in front of a live audience) because we didn’t even know if we were allowed to,” Fournell said. “Then the fact that we were allowed to, we were like ‘Okay, we can do this, we can really do this show.’”

The shortened time frame to create a theatrical production was a challenge, Fournell added.

“We’ve had to make some adaptations because our timeline is so much shorter,” she said. “Normally we’d have three or four months to get the show together, but we’re doing it in a month and a half.

“That actually has been an amazing experience, it means we’re doing some pretty fun things with the show.”

Rising to that challenge has only made the product better.

“There’s something kind of nice about really focusing on just the show for this month and a half, so we get it to the same place that it would be if we had three months to work on it,” Fournell said, adding she expects the audience to enjoy it.

“This is a pretty fun, funny show. I laugh every time I’m watching it, so I know the audience will, and I’m excited.”

Jack & the Beanstalk will be performed at the northwest soccer field at 45 Drake Landing Drive in Okotoks. In the event of poor weather, performances will be moved to the Alberta Dance Academy at 4 Crystal Ridge Drive.

Admission is “pay what you can” with a suggested ticket price of $10 with show times at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21, and 2 p.m. on Aug. 14, 15, 21, and 22. For more information visit

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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