When 15-year-old actress Sarah Almeida takes the stage, she becomes her character.
“When I get on stage I completely have embodied the entire character, so it’s like the effect of everything coming together with the costumes and the lights,” she said.
Almeida will portray Lydia Bennet in Brant Theatre Workshops’ summer production of Jane Austen’s classic story Pride and Prejudice.
The play follows Lydia’s sister, Elizabeth Bennet, as she navigates her way through love, manners, education, upbringing and marriage in 19th century England.
“It’s really exciting to perform a classic because you know you’re bringing something a lot of people grew up with to life,” Almeida said. “They are going to see it again right before their eyes and it’s going to be really interesting to see the reactions to the play.”
The play runs July 26 to July 28 and Aug. 2 to Aug. 4 at the Bell Homestead. Shows will be staged at 7:30 p.m.
Pride and Prejudice kicks off a summer full of theatre for Brant Theatre Workshops, which will hold its inaugural Bell Summer Theatre Festival from July 26 until Aug. 12 with pay-what-you-can performances at the Bell Homestead.
The festival features the premiere of a new one-act play, Waterskiing Sunday Weather Permitting, by local playwright Gerry Lafleur. The original comedy is based on Lafleur’s experience working at a summer resort in Muskoka during the 1970s. The play runs Aug. 6, Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Brant Theatre Workshops’ summer camp runs July 30 to Aug. 10 in the Homestead’s carriage house and includes workshops by professionals in comedy, film and television, as well as movement and dance. A camp performance will be held on Aug. 10 at 4 p.m.
The reading of a new comedy written by Sharyl Hudson about Jackie Gleason and The Honeymooners, called And Away We Go…, will take place Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. The reading features John Tench, who played Alexander Graham Bell in the Murdoch Mysteries.
“We’ve been at the Bell Homestead for four years, but we’ve been doing different things at different places throughout the summer,” Brant Theatre Workshops artistic director Peter Muir said of the company’s reason for starting a festival. “It was disjointed.
“We looked at our programs and said ‘we can pull this all together’ and now we’ve got a festival. I think people are in for a really fun summer.”
All performances take place outside the Bell Homestead, which enhances the theatre experience, Muir said.
“In Branford, we are stuck, we don’t have a theatre,” Muir said. “We’ve got the Sanderson Centre, which is great for large-scale productions when you can afford to rent it, but if you don’t have that, we are always stuck looking for places to perform.
“What we do get by not having a theatre and having to find our own theatre space is the charm of the setting…with the classic plays we do at the homestead, we would never be able to get as authentically detailed a set as we do there.”
Thanks to a grant from SC Johnson, Brant Theatre Workshops is working with the Children’s Aid Society to offer spots for disadvantaged children in its summer camp. Spaces are still available. Call 519-761-0781 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Visit www.branttheatre.com for more information about the Bell Summer Theatre Festival.