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New Beginnings star in Enderby Christmas play

Free performance by youth at Chapel shares story of immigrants coming to Canada
Part of the cast rehearsing A New Beginning at The Chapel, getting ready for their Dec. 3 and 4 performances: Georgia Rands (left), Ben Carey, Logan Carey; (center) Cheyanne Haak, Jacob Huntington, Amanda Aylard; (back) Nathan Bastiaansen, Sophie Carey, Adriana Bastiaansen, Lexi Derksen. (Gerry Shipmaker photo)

It has been three years since the stage at the Enderby Chapel has been alive with the sound of children and youth rehearsing for a Christmas play, but with COVID restrictions eased, 2022 is the year they are bringing it back.

There is a long-standing tradition at the Chapel of putting on a Christmas production featuring children and youth and this year is no different.

A New Beginning, a story of hope told through drama and music, and with some humour, takes the stage Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Performers will bring the audience on board an immigrant ship, one filled with dreams, hopes, and expectations.

They will portray the stories of war brides and immigrant couples as they wrestle with the impact of the Second World War on their lives as well as leaving everything they’d ever known behind them. The audience will be drawn in as they anticipate a new beginning in Canada, Christmas 1947.

Written and directed by Gerty Shipmaker, this year’s story is very close to her heart. Her own parents emigrated from the Netherlands in 1951 the day after they were married, and her father would tell stories of growing up in an occupied country as well as the struggles of starting over in a new country. She remembers her father often questioning his decision to leave his homeland.

This year’s production features 23 youth and children and one adult, a live band, and has taken many, many people to bring it to life. It includes 12 musical numbers, all sung by members of the cast.

“For a small community church, it’s a pretty big deal to put on a production like this,” said Shipmaker. “Every year when I see what these young people are capable of, I am astounded and so incredibly proud of them.”

Everyone is welcome and there is no charge to the show at the Chapel, 708 Mill Ave.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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