December 12th, 2017

Festival of art, music, drama set for Coutts Centre

By Mabell, Dave on July 20, 2017.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

It’s a one-day summer festival in a unique setting.

The Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage – near Nanton – will be the setting for festival of art, music and drama on Sunday.

It’s presented by the University of Lethbridge’s fine arts faculty and art gallery, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation.

The well-treed property, just east of Nanton, was donated to the U of L by the late Jim Coutts, an adviser to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. It’s become the site of a summer-long “En Plein Air” landscape art program, along with other events.

“We look forward to hosting this event each summer,” says fine arts dean Edward Jurkowski. “If you haven’t yet had a chance to see this stunning property, then I encourage you to take this opportunity.”

Visitors can stroll the gardens, watch artists at work, hear the music, enjoy lunch or a snack, and take in a Shakespeare comedy.

“It’s a great day for families and art enthusiasts of all ages.”

Fine arts students, alumni and faculty members will strike up the music at 11 a.m., beginning with a performance by the Southern Alberta Trombone Collective, with a mix of film music and more classical works. Then at noon, it’s the Groove Apostles with a fusion of jazz and funk.

Later, guitarist Dale Ketcheson and percussionist Joe Porter will team up for a set. And then members of the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society will take to the stage, for the fourth time at the Coutts Centre.

“We are now in our sixth season of Shakespeare in the Park,” says producer Kate Connolly. “As usual, our cast and production team are drawn from current U of L theatre students, alumni and community theatre members.

This year’s production, “A Comedy of Errors” is the bard’s shortest and fastest-paced work, she notes, with plenty of slapstick and physical humour. Ron Chambers is the director.

It’s a tale of mistaken identity – transposed, appropriately, to an 1880s cowboy town.

Says Jurkowski, “They put on a great show all summer long in Lethbridge, so it’s a great opportunity to let more of southern Alberta enjoy the show.”

To reach the Coutts Centre, motorists northbound on Highway 2 should turn east to Highway 533 – across from the Ranchland Motel at the north end of Nanton – and continue past the golf course to Range Road 280. There, they should turn left (north) for about four kilometres past Township Road 164.

The centre, with a number of rustic buildings, is on the left (west) side of the road.

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