A Sarnia tradition known as The Revue will be the first live production at the new Great Lakes Secondary School Auditorium next week.
This year’s student-driven variety show is built around a “Ready to Launch” theme, because it’s the first show on the new stage and also because it marks a return of regular student activities, says teacher and director April Brander.
“I feel a lot of responsibility to continue the tradition of the annual Revue, to not let it die on my watch, and also to give this experience to these kids,” said Brander. “The arts are healing. I really believe we need this right now.”
It’s an auspicious year for The Revue as it marks 100 years since it became a prized annual event at the former SCITS high school. The show is actually older than that because it originated at SCITS’ predecessor, Sarnia Collegiate Institute, which opened in 1890 where London Road School now stands.
Brander, her team of teachers, and about 100 students were hard at work preparing for The Revue in 2020 when COVID hit and all activities were suspended.
The show was cancelled again in 2021 and for a while its status this year was uncertain.
But when restrictions lifted in February, the first call out generated a huge response with least 100 students attending that initial lunch meeting, said Brander. Enthusiasm was high to begin writing sketches, auditioning musical acts, and rehearsing the girls’ kickline and the guy’s dance, two consistently popular Revue features.
“The kids are ready to live their lives and are excited to do things together again,” Brander said.
The final weeks before a show are not without challenges, especially in a new venue with new sound and lighting equipment that requires training.
This Revue is a lot of extra work for teachers and the many students involved, said Brander. Most haven’t been in a Revue before and lack past experience to draw on. But the opportunity to carry on the tradition and produce the most polished show possible is a big motivator. Besides, it’s a lot of fun.
“I was in The Revue when I was a student at SCITS and, bar none, it is my favourite high school memory,” said Brander.
The new auditorium has seating for 577, allowing 10 seats for the band. SCITS Auditorium accommodated 830.
Since The Revue generally sells about 2,000 tickets over three nights, Brander anticipates a sell-out and recommends advance purchase at the Great Lakes office.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Revue 2022 – student variety show.
WHEN: April 28, 29, 30 at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Great Lakes Auditorium, 340 Murphy Rd.
TICKETS: $10. Advance purchase in person at Great Lakes office from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Or call for details at 519-336-6131.