Theatregoers are off to see the wizard

Theatre fans will soon be off to see the wizard in Port Dover.The curtain rises Friday for Lighthouse Festival Theatre’s community show production of the musical The Wizard of Oz.Once a year local amateur actors have the opportunity to perform on the Lighthouse stage, backed by the same tech crew that works on the professional shows in the summer season.Lighthouse’s artistic director, Derek Ritschel, brought back the community show in 2011. There has been an annual show ever since.The community show gives actors that have always wanted to be in a show the opportunity to work closely with the crew to put on a professional-grade performance.“These people came out to auditions, they have a love to perform, a passion to perform. They dedicate maybe hundreds of hours in rehearsals, preparation, and execution of the show,” said director George Araujo.Araujo has directed multiple shows in his past.“I’ve acted in a lot of musical theatre, as well as non-musical theatre. Eventually I saw directing as a way to express myself a little bigger. It encompasses not just one role, but everybody’s role,” said Araujo.None of the actors are considered professional, but some of the performers have done professional shows before.One of the actors that has been in professional shows before is Libby Adams, who will be starring in the lead role as Dorothy Gale.“My cousin is big into theatre, and she asked me to go audition with her. I’ve wanted to audition for a production at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre for a really long time. I told her I’d go with her and I ended up with the role of Dorothy,” said Adams.Adams started acting when she was five after her mom got her an agent in Toronto.She has appeared in commercials, movies, and a production of The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.When she was 18 she decided to take a break from acting, but recently realized she was missing it. That is when she decided to audition for the community show.“I’m just excited for everyone to see the show. It’s going to be amazing, everything is really coming together. I’m excited to be there and to show everyone what we’ve worked so hard on,” said Adams.The production of The Wizard of Oz opens on April 19 and runs until May 5.  Evening performances are Fridays and Saturdays. Matinees are Sundays. Tickets are available on the Lighthouse Festival Theatre website. astaylor@postmedia.com read more

UN human rights office urges restraint as death toll in Sudan fuel

“We are deeply concerned about reports that a significant number of people have been killed during the demonstrations taking place across Sudan since Monday,” Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.Media reports say at least 30 people have been killed during the demonstrations, which began in Sudan’s central state of Gezira and then spread to other parts of the country, including the capital, Khartoum. Ms. Pouilly said that in Khartoum, violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and police forces, resulting in an unknown number of casualties.“Security forces are reported to have used excessive force in suppressing the protests, with security agents allegedly firing live ammunition at some protesters and beating others,” she stated. “Witnesses speak of bodies of dead demonstrators with gunshot wounds in the upper torso and head. There have also been reports of destruction of property by demonstrators.” OHCHR reminded the authorities that under international law, intentional lethal use of firearms can only be justified when strictly unavoidable and only in order to protect life.“We therefore call on law enforcement officials to show utmost restraint and make sure that they comply at all times with international human rights obligations and international standards on policing,” said Ms. Pouilly.“We call on all parties to refrain from resorting to violence and on protesters to maintain the peaceful nature of their demonstrations,” she added. “We also urge the authorities to respect the civil liberties of those protesting and, in particular, their right to assemble peacefully and express their views.” read more