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It’s all about the yuletide season at the ECT Christmas Cabaret

Elora Community Theatre has pulled together talented folks from across the region for a variety show, with a holiday twist.

Christmas Cabaret comes to the Fergus Grand Theatre next weekend for two performances of music, drama, and a visit from the fat man in red.

“We realized that we’d had a rough year and we needed a few extra dollars in the bank and I had put on a variety show down in Guelph with the Guelph Wellington Seniors’ Association last year, so I kind of learned the ropes of putting on a variety show and I had some contacts in the community and I said I think we can do it,” said director Denise Gismondi.

In the spirit of the season, the Christmas Cabaret will also provide people an opportunity to give back to the community. Partnering with the Salvation Army, they’re hoping to have someone at both shows accepting donations of household gifts, coats, and winter clothing for Syrian refugees, along with donations to the food bank.

Belle Lemieux Chan is one of the performers at the Christmas Cabaret.
Belle Lemieux Chan is one of the performers at the Christmas Cabaret.

Peter Scott, who Gismondi describes as a poet, actor, and “bon vivant” came up with an original poem called Miriam, which is his story about a girl in some of the refugee camps of Jordan and what it would be like to be waiting for transfer to Canada.

Having spent the summer focused on local refugee efforts, the poem struck a chord with Gismondi, and will be featured in the show. But there will be plenty of singing and Christmas fun to be had too.

Some of the acts include Not So Grand Players, Victoria Seniors Drama, Kara Shaw, and a dance troupe from Kitchener.

“[Kara Shaw] has this amazing talent. She has an amazing piano capability. If you play a song for her she can play it right back. She’s utterly amazing. What this girl has been through and the hardship she’s had to put up with and she makes such beautiful music,” Gismondi said.

There’ll be an appearance from Elfis, an Elvis impersonator who’ll bring a Christmas spin to Elvis.

“The Gilvan Singers, they’re going to singing three pieces. I think one of them might be Gilbert and Sullivan, it’s kind of a rewritten Gilbert and Sullivan song with Christmas words to it,” Gismondi said.

A lady named Connie McTaggart will be giving a comedic reading of the 12 Days of Christmas. Andy Robillard and Adam Shaw are going to be doing a couple of songs. They’re often seen playing at pubs and open mics in the area.

“We have a couple of novelty acts. There’s something called Les Divas. Those ladies they like running around in tutus. It’s going to be funny. And we have one young lady, she can’t be more than about 12 years old. Her name is Belle Lemieux-Chan. She’s up from Guelph. She is currently appearing in Aladdin at Drayton Entertainment. She has a voice to die for, this girl,” Gismondi said.

The cast of children from ECT’s Anne and Gilbert show will be performing a medley of songs as ECT’s own offering of talent. The event will be hosted by Not So Grand and ECT actor Terry Wilson and ECT president, actor, and director Jim Monaghan.

As a volunteer-run organization, the funds raised from ticket sales will go to pay the rent of their rehearsal space.

“We had a murder mystery dinner theatre back in October. Every cent of it went to pay that month’s rent. And every cent of this is going to pay the rent. We are down to the wire and it’s really important that we get every seat filled. We have worked our tails off trying to put together a rundown of the program there that we hope people will find very entertaining and enjoyable. We’ve tried to appeal to literally everybody that we can,” Gismondi said.

The show is family friendly and they’re hoping to fill every seat in the house for a whirlwind of performances that are bound to get you in the Christmas spirit.

“It’s such a wonderful way for families and groups of people to come together during the season and it connects with a number of things that you want to do. If you want to relax you can just sit back and relax and just watch people entertain you. If you want to get yourself into the mood of Christmas and you want to hear really cool Christmas music you can do that as well,” Gismondi said.

The Christmas Cabaret runs on Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Fergus Grand Theatre. For tickets call Fergus Grand Theatre at 519-787-1981 or visit www.fergusgrandtheatre.ca.

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