Musical theatre enthusiasts in the Moose Jaw area can look forward to the Briercrest College’s Performing Arts department ‘Summer Stage’ festival making its return for the 10th year. 

The event kicks off on Friday, May 10 and 11, with a rendition of one of the festivals more popular performances, Meridith Wilson’s ‘The Music Man’.  

Daniel McElroy, Performing and Worship Arts Administrative Assistant for Briercrest College provides some details on the show: 

“The Music Man tells the story of a con artist in 1910’s Indiana, who has no musical talent whatsoever, but he swindled a small town into buying marching band equipment,”  

“Over the course of the story he kind of turns from the ... antihero into something of a loveable character as the townspeople start to worm their way into his heart.” 

The theatre troupe is hard at work getting everything ready for the show, McElroy notes that the final preparations, including the building of sets, take place in the final two weeks leading up to the performance. 

“In the two weeks we have in between Music Man opening and Pirates of Penzance opening, we do just have two weeks there for the students to learn a whole brand-new show to get ready for Pirates of Penzance,” said McElroy. “It’s a really intensive timeline for the students, but it really reflects what happens in general in the performing arts industry.” 

The performance of Pirates of Penzance opens on May 24. 

McElroy says that the Summer Stage Festival is special because it is not just a musical theatre festival, but also a free and intensive training program for students. With the seven-week program offering the opportunity to hone their skills in the performing arts. 

“They really get to hone the craft of working in all aspects of theatre. The students help out on the production side of things, building sets, learning how to design and craft the show from the ground up,” said McElroy. “Learning new skills and learning new roles that they can put on their performance resumes down the road. It’s a really incredible opportunity.” 

The Summer Stage program is not just for students, however, the cast and crew is made up of teachers and professors, as well as being open to members of the community who wish to take part in the program. 

“We’ve got kids as young as six and seven taking part, and people in their 50’s who are taking part as well. It’s something that we’re proud of that anyone can participate in for free.” said McElroy. 

Summer Stage works on a non-profit model, with funds raised reinvested back into the students and productions, with ticket sales directly funding scholarships and updating equipment such as instruments and securing venues to perform at. 

Tickets for the shows are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Office at Briercrest College or by calling (306) 801-4899.