Community Players looking for new talent

Jason Kerr
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The Prince Albert Community Players are hoping to find some new talent with their newest play Mixed Nuts.  The local theatre company has had a reliable stable of actors and actresses for some time, but they’re looking to change that, starting with auditions on Thursday and Friday.

“We would like to attract people in their twenties and thirties to come into the Community Players,” says co-director Morley Harrison.

Harrison is a long time member of the Players, and he estimates that 60 per cent of the group is over forty.  He thinks attracting younger performers would help improve the “community” aspect of Community Players.

“We picked this play because we do have a few people in their twenties and thirties and we’re trying to encourage that spectrum of actor,” he says.

Mixed Nuts is a two-act comedy about young actors trying to make it big in New York City.  It’s one of two plays the Players will stage this year and all but two of the parts are designed for young people.

Potential performers do not have to have a drama background either.  Harrison says they won’t turn anyone into Oscar-winning actors, but that isn’t the point.

“We can encourage the abilities that you have, whether you know you have them or not.”

The Players have had actors as young as 14 in the past.  They have done plays aimed at children, but Harrison says they haven’t tried to do any performances involving child actors.

Right now they’re sticking to young adults and high schools.  The group is even looking at donating the proceeds from one of their two plays this year to drama programs in local schools.

“We obviously aren’t going to have actors unless we encourage this,” Harrison says.

However, the primary goal of the company is to introduce all aspects of drama to people who would otherwise get involved.  There are openings for jobs in makeup, lighting, set design, and of course acting.

“The biggest benefit is probably to explore a different side of one’s self,” Harrison says.  “Lots of people will tell you ‘I can’t act’ when actually they can do it quite well once they realize what it’s all about.”

Harrison says the company gets actors from every background and all walks of life.  He says once people are exposed to drama they usually come back and try again. 

The problem is just getting people to try new things, and getting them to commit their time.  Performers are expected to attend rehearsals three times a week until the performance date.

There are other challenges as well.

“The biggest challenges are for (people) to be aware that we’re there and for people not to be afraid to try this,” he says.

Auditions for Mixed Nuts will take place Jan. 23-24 at Wesley United Church.  The play itself runs from April 11-13.

Organizations: Community Players, Wesley United Church

Geographic location: New York City

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