ACT Presents The Wizard Of Oz

By Doreen Jung. As Dorothy and Toto are swept up in the cyclone that transports them from Kansas to the Land of Oz, we join them on a journey that includes adventure, new friendships, and exciting discoveries. Abbotsford Children’s Theatre (ACT) brings to life this beloved story that has entertained children and adults for over a century. ”The show involves a cast and crew of 30 and they range from ages 9 to 16 years old,” said director, Kerry Henselwood. “The production is one that challenges the actors to dig deep within themselves to develop their character.”

Photo: Keeva Arden as Dorothy, Taya Viger as Toto

Friday, April 5 @ 7 pm and Satuday, April 6 @ 1 pm
Matsqui Centennial Auditorium

Keeva Arden is enjoying playing the role of Dorothy. A character that combines purity and innocence with hidden strength, Dorothy leads the way through a spellbinding adventure. “At times it is really exciting,” said Arden. “At other times it’s a bit nerve racking, but in the end it is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever been through.” A grade 8 student at W.A. Fraser Middle School, she has been involved in ACT for four years. Arden has found that one of the highlights of being in ACT is that “eventually all the actors become part of your family instead of just people you work with.”

Taya Viger, a grade 6 student at Chief Dan George plays Dorothy’s beloved pet, Toto. She became interested in theatre in grade 5 when she successfully auditioned for the role of the Narrator in “A Christmas Story”. In the Wizard of Oz, Viger says, “It’s really fun learning to be a dog.”

Daylan Pritchard as Tin Woodman, Joshua Bilson as Lion, Josh Levesque as Scarecrow

Daylan Pritchard as Tin Woodman, Joshua Bilson as Lion, Josh Levesque as Scarecrow

As Dorothy and Toto travel down the yellow brick road, they meet a host of unusual characters. A Scarecrow is liberated from his perch in a cornfield by Dorothy and she invites him to join them on their quest to reach the Emerald City. Played by Josh Levesque, a grade 11 student from W.J. Mouat Secondary, Scarecrow is an animated character who leaps into his new-found freedom with great enthusiasm. “He is really light,” describes Levesque. “So I get to be really physical. I get to fly a lot and fall a lot. It is really fun and, because Scarecrow has no social filters, I get to be silly and happy, and just play the role as it goes.”

Further along the journey, a Tin Woodman, played by Daylan Pritchard, is mobilized by Dorothy who oils his rusty joints, allowing him to move again. A grade 10 student at Robert Bateman Secondary, Pritchard shared his experiences in the role of a character that is half robot, half human. “It has been a challenge to create the mechanical voice of the Tin Woodman and to stay consistent with the stiff movements of someone made of tin. But it has been fun to discover different emotions with him. He didn’t care about things at first but later he wants to help solve the problems they all encounter.”

A Cowardly Lion joins Dorothy and Toto on their journey to Oz. Played by Joshua Bilson, a grade 8 student at MEI Middle School, Lion offers a many challenges as a role. “I like how I have to change my character from being afraid to being courageous,” explains Bilson. “But that’s also the biggest challenge of the role.” An ACT veteran of almost four years, Bilson has enjoyed his experience with the group. “It’s great working with everyone here. They’re a really good group of actors and directors, and we’ve got a really great show.”

Tickets are $12/advance, $14/door; available at Tourism Abbotsford, The Reach Gallery Museum, and at Parks, Rec & Culture (on 3rd floor at City Hall). For more information check:

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