Thursday, September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

Robyn Hood: Outlaw Princess set to thrill audiences

StageCoach Theatre School directors are pleased to be presenting a full production at ArtSpring next week after a pandemic hiatus, but that excitement is mixed with trepidation.

If the school doesn’t cover its costs through ticket sales, the non-profit organization that has provided a high-level performing arts experience for Salt Spring youth since 1999 could fold.

After 20 years of activity, said current artistic director Adina Hildebrandt, StageCoach had reached the point of being financially sustainable and offered three different programs. But as a result of COVID’s impacts, with only a small program offered last year, and none the year before, StageCoach lost the nest egg it had built up.

“We’re now teetering on the brink of failure, which, after so much work to get sustainable is really heartbreaking.”

One thing could easily shift that trajectory, however.

Having two solid houses at their upcoming Robyn Hood: Princess Outlaw show will bring the organization back to financial health and allow it to continue next year. The play runs at ArtSpring on Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m.

Hildebrandt and co-director Christina Penhale (of exitStageLeft Productions fame) are super excited to present this version of Robyn Hood, with 13 cast members and featuring an all-girl set of “merry men” who live in the forest.

“Robyn is a girl who was a princess and is fighting the Sheriff’s tyranny,” explains Hildebrandt.

It’s a “bold and cheeky” piece of fun musical theatre, which their students have embraced, including the hand combat aspects with training from Jeffrey Renn.

“They’re amazing,” said Hildebrandt of the cast. “They’re young, and incredibly talented and dedicated.”

Penhale observes that theatre arts “build so many different skills for you as a human other than just the art itself.” In the case of Robyn Hood, the actors are learning about tyranny and witnessing different kinds of characters.

“They have to learn empathy and compassion, and they step into the shoes of somebody who might not necessarily be very nice,” she said. “And then you start to see things from different perspectives, and it builds different tools that you might not necessarily get either at school or at home. Theatre is a very interesting medium for teamwork and compassion and listening.”

The school’s importance has been underscored for Hildebrandt by parents and young adults who have told her that Stagecoach was the best part of their schooling on the island, made them strong and confident and made a huge difference in their lives overall.

“I think the social kind of learning in theatre is so incredibly strong. We know this and we see it every day, but to have adults coming back in my life now and saying it is actually so gratifying.”

Hildebrandt and Penhale encourage everyone to come to the play next weekend, or if that’s not possible, to buy a ticket regardless, or otherwise donate to the school.

“If this doesn’t work, and we lose money on the show, we are in really big trouble,” said Hildebrandt.

Tickets are on sale through ArtSpring.


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