Kelly Mehrer as Inspector Bungler and Peter Wishlow as dinner theatre manager Nick Quartermaine in a rehearsal for Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine. (Photo by Brian Lawrence)

Kelly Mehrer as Inspector Bungler and Peter Wishlow as dinner theatre manager Nick Quartermaine in a rehearsal for Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine. (Photo by Brian Lawrence)

Creston’s Footlighters hosts first-ever membership drive

A performance of Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine will be in Millennium Park at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 and 28

Submitted by Footlighters Theatre Society

More than 25 years after its founding, Footlighters Theatre Society is hosting the first-ever membership drive called Showtime in the Park, running at Millennium Park at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 and 28.

The drive and performance are both a fundraiser and a chance for the troupe to exercise some performance skills that haven’t been used in nearly two years. Audiences are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to the Millennium Park performance, which will feature musical acts, Shakespeare scenes and a one-act comedy, Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine.

“A lot of our performers have been anxious to get back on stage,” said president Gary Atha. “With no performances, we had no income through the pandemic, so now seemed like an appropriate time to offer something exciting for audiences that haven’t seen live theatre for some time.”

Memberships are already available at $10 for individuals or $20 for families. Sign up by contacting membership secretary Simone Wiebe at 250-254-2716 or footlighterscreston@gmail.com. A suggested admission of $10 to Showtime in the Park will earn donors an individual membership, with the opportunity for early access to tickets and seating for shows in the theatre, as well as the right to vote at the annual general meeting.

“Tickets and seating have always been available on a first come, first served basis,” said Wiebe. “That’s still the case, but we want to give our strongest supporters the opportunity for some extra perks.”

Footlighters typically performs three times a year, but this will be the first production since White Christmas in November 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic halted production on Star Trak, a locally-written science fiction spoof, three weeks before the show was set to run.

“We had a really exciting lineup planned for that season — our 25th — but we missed out on the last two productions,” said Jason Smith, who directs Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine. “We’ve had a lot of fun working together again on this hilarious comedy.”

Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine has a cast of 11, and takes place around the head table of a banquet room where guests are expecting a dinner theatre show. After the guest of honour suddenly passes, hilarity ensues as the other guests each reveal their own murder plans — although all claim innocence, of course.

Prior to the play, the performance will feature musical entertainment by Wiebe, Dan Caverly, Tom Greentree, Brian Lawrence, and Peter Wishlow, and Shakespeare scenes by Greentree, Lawrence, and Tammy Bradford.

“These performances give just a hint at what we’re capable of,” said Smith. “And we’ve got some great performances in the works for the very near future.”

Creston Valley