New theatre group stages Christmas pantomime

Company performs Mother Goose and the Enchanted Forest at Hope Legion this weekend

Sarah Steberl sings Tommorrow from the musical Annie at a recent rehearsal for Mother Goose and the Enchanted Forest.

Cheryl Lynne Lacey has brought community theatre back to Hope.

Drawing on her past experience with the Millennium Players in Maple Ridge, Lacey decided to fill the local void by starting her own company in August called Hope Performing Arts Community Theatre in August.

“Theatre is so important,” she said.

“Theatre presents information to people, it raises awareness around social issues, it’s fun and it’s not expensive. The people that participate learn so much. It’s confidence and self-esteem building. It’s quite a risk to put yourself out on stage, but it’s fun once you get past the terror.”

The company’s first production is the pantomime Mother Goose and the Enchanted Forest, which is written and directed by Lacey. It features 29 local performers, ranging in age from six to 60.

Mother Goose and the Enchanted Forest is set in the town of Hopeful and contains several local references. Baron Peep is trying to foreclose on Mother Goose’s house so he can build a big box store. Mother Goose, who has taken in many orphaned children, doesn’t have the money to pay.

When Mr. Blue, the chimney sweep who is secretly in love her, suggests that she needs some magic, she sets off with her pet goose Gus to journey through the enchanted forest in search of the Green Genie. Good and evil meet head on in this pantomime which is full of fairy tale characters like Bo Peep and Boy Blue. It also features evil henchmen, gnomes and Santa Claus.

“It has something for everyone,” said Lacey.

“It’s sort of every Broadway musical you’ve ever seen put together. The message is don’t give up, good will always prevail, and ask for help. It’s about people coming together to help one of their own.”

Mother Goose and the Enchanted Forest runs this weekend at the Hope Legion. The play is part of the Hope Arts Council’s Winterfest, which is sponsored by Envision Credit Union. Door prizes will be handed out during intermission.

Show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 17, and 2 p.m. on Dec. 18. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children/youth.

Tickets are available at The Art Machine, Hope Arts Gallery, or by emailing hopepact@gmail.com.