If you’re an extrovert with the habit of making friends in the grocery aisle, or a new in town introvert who needs a little push to try something new, Banff Theatre Collective wants to meet you and have some fun along the way.
The program is offered through BanffLIFE, and has been running since February.
The drop-in class runs Sundays, from 5-6:30 p.m. above the Banff Library (101 Bear St.) and is offered to community members 18 and over.
“Each week we do a lot of games and exercises that are acting- and improv-based,” said organizer Timothy Eckmier.
“A lot of the exercises are games people would play where you have to pay attention to get everybody involved. An example would be a one word story where you go around in a circle and each person says a word and we’re all telling a story together that is improv based and getting people’s brains working – basically, what we’re trying to do is raise awareness and let people know it’s out there.”
The theatre program is completely free; you can donate, but that’s entirely optional and not by any means expected. The group also takes part in improv scenes, writing, physical theatre, film and audition material.
“We’ve also done cold readings, which is where you’ve never read the script before,” Eckmier said. “Another thing we’re looking for is teachers – if there are people in the community who are writers and playwrights, choreographers, people who are interested in teaching or interested in having their work brought into the space to be shared with us.”
He added the group truly wants to be a collective, with everyone involved bringing different skillsets to the program, whether that be writing or performing, but obviously it is performance based.
“There might be writers and playwrights in town who might be looking for a group to share their work with. We want a collective that brings people together that has anything to do with the performing arts and allows them to have a springboard,” Eckmier said. “Plays are meant to be read out loud, you don’t really hear what the characters are saying until you do.”
The group has been busily networking with different parts of the local community, including Parks Canada, hotels and restaurants, to recognize it is a perfect group program to bring a variety of people together in the name of art.
“It’s a great chance to bring likeminded community members together to have fun. We’re trying to get involved with the community and we haven’t had performance projects yet, but it is something we want to look into doing as time goes on and we have our numbers grow,” Eckmier said.
“It’s something I love doing and now I have this opportunity and space to open up to the community. We have so many people here from all over the world with different backgrounds and it’s also a great opportunity to come out to work on your English skills.”