Practices underway for NKEC’s June performance of Beauty and the Beast

Published on April 16, 2017

Gabe Skaling, left, and Breagha Hawley, right, preparing for their musical of the Beauty and the Beast. Both playing lead roles, Skaling will be portraying the Beast while Hawley will be playing Belle.

©Keegan Arenburg

CANNING, NS - School pride will be displayed on the stage this June, as the students of Northeast Kings Education Center (NKEC) and several community members will be putting on a musical of the Beauty and the Beast.

With hard work and preparations dating back to October, the members of the production will be filled with excitement and determination to put all their hard work into a fantastic performance. This year’s cast will also have a new look to it with many more male cast members participating. That helped influence in the decision to choose the Beauty and the Beast for this year’s production, explained co-director Carrie Rand.

Community involvement played a huge part in the development of the musical as it fell victim to the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union work to rule job action that was put into effect in early December. Since teachers were no longer able to run the show, parents and volunteers stepped up to the plate with directing, costumes, sets, props, vocals and choreography. A few of these people include Aaron Peerless, Jamie Corbin, Julie Skaling, Jennifer Saklofske, Kate Corrigan, Mike Butler and countless more volunteers.

Gabe Skaling a Grade 12 student at NKEC and lead actor portraying the role of the Beast, turned his house into the headquarters for the musical while work to rule was running.

“The biggest challenge was the work to rule because having to put a complete change in who was running everything and where we were, how things went, but we kinda just worked through it with a lot of support from the community and just everyone involved being really cool and committed to it,” he explained.

After work to rule ended, teacher and volunteers shared responsibilities in their respective roles making it a collaborative effort by everyone.

When asked why people should attend the performance, NKEC teacher and pit director for the musical Maggie Helms said that the visuals should have a large impact.

“You’ve gotta go for the costumes and the makeup and the sets, they are gonna be incredible this year. It's gonna be Wizard of Oz times ten,” she said.

Fellow teacher Katrina Salmon has also played a huge part in the production, making sure the cast members do not forget their choreography by holding run throughs during lunch. Students have a great time doing it and find it as a way to stay productive and ready for opening curtain.

The show is set to debut on June 9 at the Atlantic Theatre Festival building in Wolfville, with the curtain rising at 7 p.m. Performances will also be held June 10 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and June 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from cast members, at the main office of NKEC, or at the box office before the show. It is $10 a ticket for children under 10 and $14 for the rest of the public.