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The PSC Community Theatre

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Around 2005, Peggie Hopkins, a real estate agent in Point St. Charles, was offered an opportunity to act in a play at Westmount’s community theatre. She had no previous acting experience, but thought that the chance to act might be a new and interesting adventure.

Before long, she was infected with the “theatre bug” and was thinking about starting a local English-language community theatre in Point St. Charles. Of course, the big question was, “how do you start a community theatre?”

medium_Keyes Theatre 1_0.jpgWith sheer determination, Peggie Hopkins convinced a number of friends that they should be on stage, and was very lucky to find Pavla Uppal, who had theatre training in the Czech Republic, to volunteer as the first director for the new PSC Community Theatre. She also managed to convince another group of friends to volunteer to handle all the other needs of a theatre – reservations; posters; playbills, and so on. On June 2, 2006, the troupe made their first appearance in a play called The Good Doctor, with five actors (only one of whom had any formal acting training) and, as they say, the rest is history!

medium_Keyes Theatre 2.jpgIn the last four years or so, the Theatre has offered nine different plays by diverse playwrights, from Ayn Rand to David French. The audience now regularly reaches around 600 people over eight or nine performances. It also has more than thirty actors willing to perform and a behind-the-scenes support group of about another fifty. It has definitely become a fun, positive and exciting Point St. Charles community activity!

Peggie Hopkins then decided to team up with the local Point YMCA and provide basically free acting courses to young actors between the ages of 8 and 18 years old. Her objective was to offer young people a chance to learn acting skills, but also to provide them with a level of self-confidence that should last them a lifetime.

medium_Keyes Theatre 4.jpgShe found a terrific acting coach, Fabienne Le Panse, and the PSC Youth Theatre, Acting Out, was founded. These young actors have offered a number of performances over the last years, including Annie. The financial costs and the organization of the program are fully supported by the proceeds from, and donations to, the main adult theatre.

In March 2007, the Theatre got another lucky break, when Pieter Sipjkes, a resident of the Point and the owner of an old bank on Wellington & Ste. Madeline Streets, offered to allow the Theatre to hold their performances in his space. Although the Old Bank presents a number of challenges for a theatre performance, it also offers a unique venue that seems to be loved by the audiences. In this crowded, up-close space, the audience and the actors really share the live theatre experience. And, after each performance, the theatre offers free food and snacks (again, provided by volunteers) to the audience so that they can stay and mingle with the actors.

medium_Keyes Theatre 3.jpgThe next play for the PSC Community Theatre is scheduled for the end of April and early May of this year (2010) and is called The Man Who Came To Dinner, by Kaufman & Hart. The PSC Youth Theatre, Acting Out, is planning a performance of “Into the Woods” for late spring, 2010.

Neither the adult PSC Community Theatre, nor the Youth Theatre program are offered exclusively to Point St. Charles residents–both are open to any actors (young or old) or other volunteers that have an interest in community theatre, regardless of where they live.

For general information, or to subscribe to the Theatre’s mailing list, visit www.psccommunity.com.