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Rogue Players returns after three-year pandemic hiatus

“People can expect two hours of madcap fun. It is such good family fun. The kids have a good time, and it appeals to adults. It is just fun.”
Cassidy Behm and Ben Murphy during a Rogue Players rehearsal, Monday (Nov. 28)
Cassidy Behm and Ben Murphy during a Rogue Players rehearsal in a previous year.

CANMORE – For 18 years, The Rogue Players have brought their make-believe theatre and British pantomime to Canmore to the delight of children and adults alike.

After three years away from the stage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Rogue Players are back and ready to begin performing again.

“I started the group in 2004, so we have been doing plays just about every year since then,” Mike Vlessides said. “The last time we did a play was 2019. This is the first play in three years so we are shaking off the rust and putting the show back on.”

Since beginning, The Rogue Players has morphed into performing slapstick versions of classic fairy tales.

“At this point, they are almost pantomime,” Vlessides said. “British pantomime is a kind of theatre that is very heavily audience influenced. There is a ton of audience involvement, where they boo the bad guy and there is lots of interactions back and forth with the audience.”

This year, the production will be a version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

“It is a classic tale with some unexpected and bizarre rogue twists along the way,” said Vlessides.

The theatre group is completely run by volunteers, and supported by local businesses who help keep the productions coming.

“It is kind of the same core group of volunteers who have been doing this for a long time,” Vlessides said. “Everyone has a great time. It feels really good to do it again. It is good to be back.”

With such a long hiatus between performances, there was a worry among the organizers that they wouldn’t have many people interested in auditioning. Thankfully, that proved to not be the case.

“For years, we had this core group of kids who worked with us and then we were always bringing on new kids. When we hadn’t done one for three years, we were concerned no one would show up to auditions,” Vlessides said. “We were so happy. There were tons of kids who came out for the show, to the point where we couldn’t involve everyone and it is already a cast of 35.”

As for those who attend, they can expect to be whisked away to a world of fun, with plenty of audience involvement in the show.

“People can expect two hours of madcap fun,” Vlessides said. “It is such good family fun. The kids have a good time, and it appeals to adults. It is just fun.”

The performances will run on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 3 and 4 at 2 p.m. at the Canmore Collegiate High School theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7.50 for kids and can be purchased at Mountain Mercantile or at the door.