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SCITS alumni staging what could be final curtain call

Published on

Cathy Dobson 

Dozens of former students are returning to Sarnia Collegiate’s 94-year-old auditorium this week for just the third SCITS Alumni Revue in school history.

“To a large degree, the driving force behind this is the threat of SCITS closing,” said long-time drama teacher and Revue director Dan White.

“A lot of people want to be on that stage one last time.”

The SCITS Revue has been a school tradition for more than 100 years. It started before Sarnia Collegiate moved to its current Wellington Street location in 1922.

The first SCITS Alumni Revue was produced to mark the school’s 75th anniversary and it was repeated 15 years later for the 90th.

Now, White has rallied alumni from all over Ontario to participate in one more on Saturday, April 23. So many former students have responded that two shows will be staged that night with almost entirely different material.

The early show at 6:30 p.m. will be family-friendly while the 9 p.m. show will be more “edgy,” White said.

He and a core group of alumni in their late 20s and early 30s are relying on a concept based on 24-hour theatre to get this Revue together.

Rehearsals will begin the Friday evening prior to the show, continue on Saturday morning, with finishing touches made to sets, props and costumes just hours before the curtain opens.

“It will be crazy,” White predicted. “And a lot of fun.”

When he put the call out to launch an alumni variety show, original scripts poured in, former high school bands decided to reunite and a few grads offered to produce videos and work backstage.

“There will be a lot of remounting of sketches that they did years ago for the Revue, as well as new stuff,” said White. “Musically, it’s almost all new.”

Siblings who attended SCITS at varying times are coming back to perform together, as is former teacher George Alexander and his sons who will do the ham bone, a tradition Alexander started about 50 years ago.

White said the SCITS Alumni Revue is intentionally being staged just prior to May 10, when Lambton Kent District School board trustees will decide whether SCITS or St. Clair Secondary School closes.

The two south-end high schools are each half empty and will be merged. Board administrators recommend SCITS for closure. Regardless of where the students amalgamate, the school will be renamed, relegating the SCITS and St. Clair names to the history books.

“You can imagine there are some subtle innuendos related to the merger in our show,” White said.

This winter’s annual SCITS Revue with current students sold out with standing room only.

White hopes the two SCITS Alumni Revue shows will also sell well, raising as much as $25,000 for Sarnia’s Empower Play and teen mental health initiatives.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: The third SCITS Alumni Revue

WHERE: SCITS Auditorium

WHEN: Saturday April 23. Shows at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

TICKETS: On sale now at Blackwater Coffee Co., The Refined Fool and Stokes Bay. $20 each, $30 for both shows.

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