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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the joys of my work is the chance to meet with all sorts of interesting people. And also never knowing what will be the outcome of one of those meetings.

One of my latest projects, a Christmas musical titled Meet You At the Manger began as a conversation with Audience of One Christian Theatre Company artistic director Kim Pottruff. She had come to the Faith FM studios to take part in an Arts Connection interview. In the conversation that followed, I found out the new Guelph-based amateur theatre company was looking for new material.

My interest in theatre goes back to high school where I was part of Ridge Players, a community theatre company that, by the time I landed in the chorus, were producing shows like Oklahoma, Carousel and Fiddler on the Roof. I was also involved in a number of church productions and when I started attending Lakeside Church, I became part of its now-defunct drama team and landed the role of Caiphas in Lakeside’s production of Dust of the Rabbi.

This production is a fresh look at the Christmas story


Along the way, I’d written a few unproduced sketches and even a full-length play – something I mentioned in the conversation with Kim. Whether I offered or she asked, copies were sent to her in the hopes that one would be produced.

She wasn’t interested in any of the ones I sent. Instead, she asked if I could write a Christmas musical. I knew I take a shot at writing the script (or “book” as commonly known in musical theatre circles). But it had been a while since I’d tried songwriting. Still, I said “yes.”

Skipping to the salient parts, I wrote the book and took a stab at the lyrics. Kim honed the lyrics and came up with the music. Et voila, a musical was born:

Ro’i never wanted to be shepherd. Sharar never wanted to be an innkeeper. When they were childhood friends, neither expected to become each other’s sworn enemy. Meet You At The Manger follows Ro’i’s and Sharar’s lives from their boyhood escapades and adult animosities to their reunion at the manger in Bethlehem. This production is a fresh look at the Christmas story and its impact on the lives of those who encounter the Babe of Bethlehem

The journey, to date, has been exhilarating and challenging. And we’re only at the halfway point. Kim and I will meet later this week to go over last minute details before next week’s pre-production meeting. Then, from September 10 to 12, auditions will take place before rehearsals start later that month.

What’s been going through my mind lately is: “this is really happening.” And a mixture of trepidation and triumph. I’m still anxious about what the audience reaction will be once the curtain goes up on opening night. But I’m excited that there will be an opening night.

I hope to see you there.

For more information about auditions, check http://www.audienceofoneguelph.ca/productions