This is the story of Grande Prairie Live Theatre. The story of how more than 4100 different actors, singers, dancers, directors, producers, stage managers, set designers, costume designers, seamstresses, makeup artists and many more behind-the-scenes contributors have entertained over 270,000 people over the past 58 years. Proudly we say “we’ve come a long way baby.”
Our theatre roots date back to 1932, with the formation of “The Good Companion Players.” Grande Prairie was a cultural hotspot in 1932 with a 50-voice male choir and a symphony orchestra. In 1935 the Little Theatre Group Orchestra was formed. Theater and music groups fell apart during the Second World War. During those years, St. Joseph’s Dramatic Society and United Church Players put on a few shows. In 1958 the Grande Prairie Players were formed. In 1962 the Grande Prairie Players and the Operatic Society joined forces to officially become the Grande Prairie Little Theatre Society on January 16, 1963. As a response to changing times, Grande Prairie Little Theatre became Grande Prairie Live Theatre in 2001.
We have done a wide selection of plays over many different genres; 318 productions over 56 years. Plus over 100 concerts! And festivals! We incubated the prestigious Reel Shorts Film Festival for it’s first 10 years and the Grande Prairie Children’s Festival for 2 years. That is an amazing body of artistic work for an ever-changing group of creative and enthusiastic volunteers. We have grown as our region has grown. We have grown from 2 shows a year with 35 volunteers in 1963 to 84 nights of entertainment and nearly 300 volunteers in 2021.
We are surviving Covid 19! Before Covid our 2019-20 season had 577 total bookings of space between our two theatres. The closure of all theatres on March 15 caused the cancellation of 130 bookings including 39 cancelled performances and events. We lost the final two productions of our Play season, Much Ado About Nothing and La Cage Aux Folles plus the ADFA Adult One Act Play Festival and 2 concerts, one of which was sold out. Over 60 volunteers dedicated thousands of hours to the Much Ado and La Cage productions. We thank them for their creativity and time. It was so disappointing to have to tell them these plays could not go on as planned.
Thinking positive thoughts and knowing that so many people were relying on GPLT for live theatre entertainment in 2020 we planned a full season of 6 plays with a delayed start to October. We successfully completed the October run of Every Brilliant Thing when live theatres were closed. We postponed 5 plays hoping to perform these at in a future season. We are excited that live theatres could open for September, 2021. Thankfully our 59th season has been able to entertain with all planned plays and musicals going ahead.