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Bowden-based theatre troupe stages first play after COVID restrictions

Bowden Town Theatre earlier this spring staged first post-pandemic restrictions play and dinner theatre at the Paterson Community Centre
MVT Drinking Habits-5
Director Mabel Hamilton watches as members of the cast of Drinking Habits rehearse in Bowden's Paterson Community Centre.

BOWDEN — Bowden Town Theatre staged its first play after COVID restrictions this spring. 

The play, called Drinking Habits, was a dinner theatre event, held May 6 and 7 at the Paterson Community Centre. The production drew out large crowds. 

During an interview, director Mabel Hamilton said numbers weren’t “quite what they were before we had our little hiatus,” but the prime rib dinner and dessert theatre was a big attraction. 

“We’re noted for two things. One is our wonderful meal," she said. “And we have a dessert bar and that’s all local people bringing their fancy desserts.” 

Hamilton said Drinking Habits, a farce by Tom Smith, was a challenge to stage, because it’s a three-act play. 

“It’s more than one act. Usually we’ve only done one-act farces and this is a farce as well, but it's actually three acts. So that’s quite a stretch for our people," she said.  

“There are a lot more lines, so there’s a lot more commitment for our actors.” 

Hamilton said they chose to stage Drinking Habits on the advice of a former member of the troupe. 

“We actually had an actor who was with us several plays ago who moved to Saskatchewan and did it there. He said ‘you guys have got to try this. It’s hilarious,’” she said. 

The troupe made the decision to stage the play last fall, then began learning lines and rehearsing before Christmas. 

Eight actors were involved in the play. 

That created a challenge, co-ordinating all the actors’ schedules. 

“These people are all volunteering, so they’ve got commitments here and commitments there. So then you have a night where you’ve only got half the actors, because people have lives," Hamilton said. 

Another challenge was the stage itself, which Hamilton said is smaller than most, so the set had to be “modified” to fit the space available. 

“It’s not huge, but it’s very good,” she said, adding that on the other hand, “the good thing is we’re really close to the audience.”  

Bowden Town Theatre began about 15 years ago, known then as the St. Andrew’s Players and based in the United Church. 

Hamilton said she’s been involved since the beginning. 

“I keep doing it because it’s a lot of fun and it’s gratifying to see such a small group pull it off. And it’s a fundraiser (for the Paterson Community Centre), so it’s good,” she said.