by Stephen Dafoe
The Morinville Community Cultural Centre will kick off its fifth LIVE at the CCC performance series Sept. 26. Half a decade into bringing entertainment to Morinville it is no surprise that Cultural Services Coordinator Laurie Stalker sees this season as a magical time. It is also no surprise that the first show of that magical season is a magician. Sheldon Casavant will open the season with his entertaining and interactive show Sept. 26 at 3:30 p.m. The event, sponsored by Morinville Sobeys, offers families an affordable afternoon of entertainment. Tickets are $10 per person or $30 per family (maximum four people).
Casavant is recognized as one of Canada’s most sought after performers, one who involves his audience with a highly interactive repertoire of magic.
“It’s a lot of audience participation; I get a lot of people up on stage to see the magic close up,” Casavant said. “There is a lot of comedic interaction, amazing magic. Things float in the air, appear, disappear, and a lot of mysteries unfold.”
Casavant began his interest in magic at the age of 11 and has been performing for the past 19 years.
“Most kids go through that magic phase. For me, it didn’t go away,” he said. “I really became curious about it and began performing publicly, and it kind of kept growing and expanding from there. I think why magic appeals to me — from actually doing it — is the dedication in spending time to learn it, the craft. You kind of do that by yourself, but then it’s the experience of actually performing it for an audience and getting that reaction. Giving that sense of mystery to others is a great payoff.”
The performer is based in Edmonton but is seldom home, having performed across Canada, the United States, Mexico, Panama, China, as well as more than 600 shows in Japan. Casavant’s Sept. 26 Morinville appearance is the first time he has been in the community in many years. He was last here in the fall of 2010 at a reading program fundraiser for École Notre Dame School.
Cultural Services Coordinator Laurie Stalker thinks a half decade is too long a gap for a magician as talented as Casavant.
“People have indicated through our audience surveys that they would like to see a magician on the CCC stage, and Sheldon Casavant is one of the best,” Stalker said. “He has been nominated twice as Entertainer of the Year by the Canadian Events Industry, and was selected to perform at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. We are thrilled he will be our feature performer during Alberta Culture Days weekend on Sept. 26.”
But Morinville will get more than Casavant’s show. The magician recently wrote an illustrated children’s book titled Morton the Magician and his Magnificent Magic Show. The character from that book will visit the Morinville Community Library prior to the afternoon show.
“It’s about a young boy who wants to become a magician, and throughout the book he discovers the courage and confidence he needs to put on his first magic show,” Casavant said of the children’s book, adding the book will be available for sale at the Sept. 26 show. “Morton, the live roving character will be experiencing and creating magic with the guests.”
Casavant said he is looking forward to returning to Morinville with his family-friendly, all-ages show. Tickets are $10 per person or $30 per family (maximum 4). They can be purchased at the cultural centre and tixonthesquare.ca.
Eleven shows planned this season
Casavant is the first of 10 performances to hit the stage during the centre’s fifth season. Stalker has four children’s shows, two family shows, and three main stage events planned, as well as a special 5th Anniversary show now in the planning stages.
“We are all very excited about the upcoming season,” she said. “We have several shows that are back by popular demand: Missoula Children’s Theatre will provide an opportunity for our local kids to perform two full productions of the Jungle Book, and Treehouse TV’s Splash N Boots are back with another fun, high energy show for all ages. Our fifth season offers another wide range of performances, from icon Sylvia Tyson to the drumming virtuosity and hilarity of BAM Percussion to Rainbow Dance Theatre, who’s show is performed in black light.”
Stalker is encouraging people to come out and “share the magic of live performance.” The generous support of our sponsors helps make it possible to bring in great shows and to keep ticket prices accessible right here in Morinville,” Stalker said, adding tickets for the season went on sale during last Thursday night’s open house at the cultural centre.
Editor’s Note: The original version of this story indicated the show takes place at 1:30. This was based on information provided to us at the time of writing. We have since found out the show is 3:30 p.m.