Camilla School cutting Footloose in Morinville

The majority of the 80-member cast for Camilla’s production of Footloose pose at the school on Wednesday, Apr. 10. The show will run for four performances on May 9 and 10. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

After a successful run with Rock of Ages in 2023, Camilla School is bringing the 1980s classic Footloose to the stage for four performances on Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10. There will be a 12:30 p.m. matinee and a 6:30 p.m. evening show each day at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. 

Camilla School teacher and director Chris Layton said choosing this year’s show was easy. “I’m a child of the ’80s. That’s a classic tale of your parents don’t like what you’re doing. I think we all went through that,” Layton said. 

“When Elvis came out, my dad’s parents were not happy. When I was listening to Iron Maiden and Metallica, and I still do, my parents weren’t happy. Every generation goes through it, and it’s a classic tale.”

Footloose was released cinematically on Feb. 17, 1984, and the cult classic is celebrating its 40th anniversary. A remake hit theatres in the fall of 2011. The version Camilla will perform is a theatrical production by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, based on Pitchford’s original 1984 screenplay.

Once again this year, Layton has assembled two casts for the four shows, again comprising 80 students from across a broad spectrum of ages and interests. 

“We started in September. Kids have been giving up after school, Saturdays, starting in March, lunchtime, recess, whenever we can fit in a spare anything,” Layton said. “They are the hardest working kids. I’m just so proud of them.”

The title song, well-known throughout the past 40 years, certainly helped with enthusiasm, as did previous theatrical efforts.

“Ninety percent of our cast of Rock of Ages came back, and for some of them, their schedules didn’t jive. Boy, there were some long faces when schedules didn’t jive,” he said.

The upcoming four-show run is a family-friendly production, and although Layton said there are a couple of scenes in the films that he would not want to put on stage, the youth-edition scripts are suitable for all audiences. 

A crew of seven backs the 80 actors each night. “I’ve given them more responsibility than I’ve ever given in the history of ever,” Layton said of the behind-the-scenes crew. “All I have to do is stand backstage. They’re doing it all.”

As was the case with Rock of Ages, the set and lighting play a significant role. Although he did not want to spoil the surprises, Layton said the set is all moving pieces built with the help of parents. “Parents built the whole thing, and we’ll have some kids doing some of the painting. The parents have been great. This community is awesome.”

Tickets are $10 and are available online at and at the door the day of the show.

“It’s a wholesome night out, and it’s going to be fun,” Layton said. “If you’ve ever had a song in your head that’s made you happy. If you’ve ever just needed a boost in life to feel there are still good things going on in the world. Here’s your chance to come and have that. If you are having a great day, it’s going to get better. If you are having a terrible day, it’s going to get better. We’re here to have fun and entertain.”

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