Dufflebag Theatre performs Robin Hood at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. as part of the RE/MAX Revelstoke Family Series. (Submitted)

This isn’t your grandparents’ Robin Hood

Dufflebag Theatre brings kids on stage to play lead roles

By Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre

Get ready for lots of fun, laughter, audience participation and maybe even a surprise ending when Dufflebag Theatre presents their unique version of Robin Hood.

Dufflebag Theatre began in 1992 as a one-off audience participation performance of Cinderella at the London International Children’s Festival in London, Ont. The group performed in the park bringing along a dufflebag full of costumes they pulled out at random during their performance. Soon after, invitations to perform started coming in from schools and other cities and Dufflebag Theater was born.

Artistic director Marcus Lundgren says 26 years later performing shows is still fun for the actors. It’s the audience participation, says Lundgren, that keeps the shows interesting for the actors.

“We don’t get a rehearsal, whatever they do we have to make a part of the story,” said Lundgren.

In Robin Hood, Maid Marian is captured by the Sheriff and someone needs to come up with a way to rescue Robin. Lundgren said during a recent performance the young audience member playing Maid Marian came up with the idea to plead and beg for mercy. The ending is rarely the same, since the participants on stage contribute to the show.

“It’s fun for the actors. Our shows are never boring,” said Lundgren. “Parents love the shows just as much as the kids. Kids are getting a shared experience of laughter. It gives them an opportunity for a shared experience, they help shape the show with their responses.”

Dufflebag Theatre has previously been to Revelstoke, performing Snow White in 2016. Revelstoke Arts Council Executive Director Miriam Manley attended the show with her family and said for weeks after they’d sit around the dinner table cracking jokes about the performance.

“It’s one of my favourite kids’ theatre company’s. Their work is super energetic and fun for kids and parents. It makes you smile.” said Manley.

Lundgren said often when they end up coming back to a place they find there are more adults in the audience than there were the first time. Children have come home having seen the show and re-enact it.

“The parent who missed it thinks it’s a lot of fun,” said Lundgren, who noted the performances have varying levels of jokes. Some are directed at kids in the audience while others are jokes only adults will understand.

Dufflebag Theatre performs Robin Hood at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Sat., Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. as part of the RE/MAX Revelstoke Family Series. Tickets are $10/adults and $5/kids. Tickets can be purchased online at revelstokeartscouncil.com. Tickets are also available at the Revelstoke Visitor Centre at 301 Victoria Road.

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