Entertainment

Ready for an adventure with Willy Wonka at The ACT

Willy Wonka, played by Thomas Reed, 9, performs a scene with Alexis Kupidy, 9, who plays Violet, at the Maple Ridge library. - Colleen Flanagan
Willy Wonka, played by Thomas Reed, 9, performs a scene with Alexis Kupidy, 9, who plays Violet, at the Maple Ridge library.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan

Talented home schoolers from across Metro Vancouver are ready to wow audiences once again with Xtreme Theatre’s production of Willy Wonka Junior set to play the ACT next week.

Xtreme has been entertaining its audiences for the last 14 years with outstanding choreography, sets, costumes, singing and acting rivalling professional theatre companies. The company is comprised of home learners who travel from as far away as North Vancouver to Maple Ridge just to be a part of this tight-knit community.

Producer Wendy Holm says she’s astounded at how much Xtreme Theatre has grown since it’s humble beginnings with 18 children. She founded the company with the goal of providing her theatrical daughter with a wholesome creative outlet.

“There were no groups available for home school children, and those that did exist were too expensive. Also, I wanted to provide a positive theatre experience for the students where they didn’t have to compromise on their beliefs and values.”

Holm’s idea caught on. Today more than 130 home learners aged five to 17 are featured in four casts for junior and senior productions.

This year’s junior show is Willy Wonka Junior, based on Roald Dahl’s classic book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Holm says the production is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

“People like to be somewhat familiar with the characters in a show so they can route for the good guy and watch the bad guy get what’s coming to him. With Willy Wonka, the story is familiar because people have read it or seen a movie adaptation, and they also know many of the songs, so it’s fun for everyone.”

That is definitely a winning combination. Two school matinees are already sold out, with more than a hundred students on a waiting list.

“This year’s production will feature multi-media which is a new element we’ve never done before. We’re going to depict the more fantastic elements in the chocolate factory with a projector, which is a great opportunity to produce something really fun.”

Showtime

Willy Wonka Junior plays the ACT Wednesday, April 16 and Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 19 at 2 p.m. and  7 p.m. Tickets online at theactmapleridge.org or call  604-476-2787.

Xtreme Theatre’s senior production is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which runs May 14-17.   To learn more about the company, visit xtremetheatre.ca.

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