The Sunshine Cafe – a Play about Chestermere’s History

Update August 22 2019

Thanks to everyone who attended The Sunshine Cafe play on Sunday August 18 2019 at the Chestermere Rec Centre Hall.  The count showed 121 for 2pm and 102 for 4pm.   Thanks to all the volunteers who helped put this on and make it a success.  Some of the people whose family were mentioned in the play attended.  In June the Chestermere Anchor featured an article about the play, read it here.

And here are some of the photos taken the day of the play.  

Get Your Tickets Now! 

After months of work, laughter, sweat and tears, the play is on!  Experience the history of Chestermere at the magical ‘Sunshine Cafe.”   This family event will be on Sunday August 18th; two performances 2pm and 4pm at the Chestermere Regional Recreation Centre ( Hall) 201 West Chestermere Drive in Chestermere. Get your FREE tickets here.  And meet the cast and all the others who have contributed Sunshine Cafe List of Contributors and Actors June 23 2019

Volunteers Needed for Aug 18

If you have a ticket for The Sunshine Cafe, and could help out before or after the play please see link below to and see what little or big jobs are available!  (also you can call or text 403 200 8046).  What is available? Ticket desk ( check off names), ushering, doing the lights, hand out programs, seating latecomers, etc.  Easy things to do that will help CHF make this play a real hit! All volunteers need to have a ticket for the play there are lots left!  Go here to help out. 

Out and About with Kitty and Mabel

Kitty and Mabel, puppet stars of The Sunshine Cafe,  having fun between performances with Janet at the Chestermere Library. They love staying there for the summer, so much to do! Summer Reading Program, and lots of Muppet movies in the evenings.

And they also went to WaterFest July 27th 2019  to be out and about with the 1952 Ford Fire Truck from the Cabin Owners Association back in the 60s and 70s.  

Mabel and Kitty visiting with WaterFesters alongside the original 1952 Ford Firetruck

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The cast singing the opening song. L to R back BEn Jones, Jeselle Lauren, Mary Chisholm, front, Jacob Lesiuk and Megan Matthies.

L to R Megan Matthies, Ben Jones, Haylee Thompson, Jacob Lesiuk, Jeselle Lauren.

Haylee Thompson and Jeselle Lauren

Update June 2019

Thank you to those who have donated items as props for the play in particular Yvonne Harris and Tommy Fleger.  Rehearsals are continuing and working towards the school performances June 17th at Prairie Waters and Rainbow Creek and June 24th at Our Lady of Wisdom Schools.  Parents, watch for special poster post cards coming home with the kids to let you about the August 18th performance and how to get FREE tickets online with EventBrite!  ( CHF has to do this to make sure that capacity and fire regulations are not breached at the venue.)  There will also be an activity sheet for the children to use after seeing the play about Chestermere’s history.  Watch for it HERE after the school performances have fiinished, June 24th. Thanks to Megan Matthies for a few photos of the action at rehearsals.

Update May 21 2019

It was exciting to hear about the six actors who will be playing the many parts in The Sunshine Cafe!  Welcome to ( in alphabetical order; Mary Elizabeth Chisholm, Bejamin Jones, Jesselle Lauren, Jacob Lesiuk, Megan Matthies, and Haylee Thompson.  And wonderful to have a local person in this company; Megan Matthies! CHF was able to attend the first rehearsal and reading of the play on May 7th at the Theatre Calgary Rehearsal Hall–thanks to Director Chris Stockton for obtaining this wonderful space for the troop. Costume Designer Yvonne Ustick was there to take measurements,  and Stage Manager Meg Thatcher to explain her role in the production of the play.  Set/Prop designer Skyler Desjardins showed a sketch of the set which will be portable and used on production day and also the previews at Prairie Waters, Rainbow Creek, and Our Lady of Wisdom in June.

Another change — the Chestermere Rec Centre hall became unavailable on Sunday August 25th so the play will be produced instead, two shows 2pm and 4pm, on Sunday August 18th 2019.  There will be ticketing, but tickets are FREE!

CHF will be engaging a poster designer for posters and post cards to be distributed locally as well as for social media.

A call went out to local citizens and CHF members this past week for loan of boxing gloves–a hint that there will be some real action in this play!

Update on the “Sunshine Cafe” April 2019

A lot has happened since December 2018! Melissa Dorsey and Trevor Matheson were hired as playwrights.  The CHF creative team met with Trevor and Melissa December 29th and set out how the history was to be woven into a narrative which would be appropriate for families.  Named “the Sunshine Cafe, ” the first draft was reviewed early March 2019, then on March 27th the second draft was read by actors, with CHF members in attendance.  Thanks to all the Chestermere history buff-members who were able to provide excellent input into the historical facts packed into this one hour play which spans 1902 to 2019.  And a big thank you to Trevor and Melissa for their creative talents, and reading ALL those history books! Melissa’s finger pads must be worn off adding in all of those valued history suggestions.

A change of venue due to the type of play, the set, and number of characters, so sadly it will not be performed in the John Peake Park pavilion, but happily there is space at the Chestermere Regional Recreation Centre hall for Sunday August 25th 2019  ( times TBA)

On April 13th, Savanna Harvey was hired as Producer, and Chris Stockton as Director.  As of April 19th the final play script will be ready.  Audition calls are out NOW, click here for the Audition Call. Sunshine Cafe Audition Notice  They will happen April 29th and 30th.  Stay tuned! We will post details here on this website and also at the CHF FB page  This c 1916 photo shows on the NE shore of Chestermere Lake, the Sunshine Cafe.  It really did exist!

Glenbow Archives NA 4042-6 Used with permission.

Update on the Play Dec 2018

At a meeting of the creative team on December 29th  it was decided that the play will be centered around the point of view  of a young person who will be encountering historical characters, or investigating these people and their stories/headlines  in a number of ways.  The first draft will be finished in March, and plans are underway to do the ‘World Premiere” at local schools in the late spring, in preparation for the BIG performance Sunday August 25th 2019  in the John Peake Park pavilion.

Play About Chestermere’s History 

Thanks to the hard work of volunteers last year at Century Casino, CHF has funds to have a play written about the history of Chestermere.  See also under Programs.  A playwright and dramaturg familiar with writing Alberta based historical plays have been engaged to provide drafts for CHF this fall.  One of these scenarios has been chosen and members are now working with the playwright to add historical content and ideas as the play emerges from the playwright’s pen! If you would like to be part of this project please ensure that you are a CHF member ( purchase a membership here) and be at the December 18th meeting 6:30pm at Chestermere Library Community Room for further discussion of this unique initiative.  The play will be performed the first time at a local school, pending permission, and then on Sunday August 25th 2019 in the John Peake Park Pavilion.

The play may feature “Headlines about Chestermere” — so if you have any ideas of headlines that were an important part of Chestermere’s history, send us YOUR ideas via our contact link.  It may not be a real headline, but one you think would highlight an important event or time in any of Chestermere area’s history.  “Peter Fidler Map of Chestermere Discovered in Attic, ”  or  “Lake Pathway Opens to Dissenting Crowd of Chestermerians,”  “Mayor Announces Chestermere is a City,”  “No Jail for Chestermere!,”  ” Community Argues; What to name Reservoir #1?”  You get the idea?  Let your memories and imagination free, send in your ideas, click here.

Chestermere Historical Foundation
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