May 30th, 2024

New theatre group mounting first play

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on April 20, 2024.

Herald photo by Steffanie Costigan Jesse Thibert Bear Child, Jess Syratt and Carson Rafuse act a scene from their upcoming production "I Hear Abel Singin' in the Fields" opening Sunday at Casa.

Local new theatre group “Experience Theatre” is taking the spotlight with their upcoming production of “I Hear Abel Singin’ in the Fields.”

Experience Theatre owner Jesse Thibert Bear Child said in an interview this week the group of artists goal is to produce original Canadian content within the community

“I’ve watched about approximately 90 per cent of the people leave Lethbridge and go to Calgary, or Edmonton, or Toronto, or Vancouver.

“And the answer was always the same. There’s nothing really here established for us other than in New West Theatre, which is not enough to house this many artists. And so, I was like, why doesn’t anybody build something? So, I did,” said Bear Child.

The play “I Hear Abel Singin’ in the Fields” will be running from Sunday until Thursday, April 25 at Casa Community Room. Tickets can be purchased online at

Local playwright Jess Syratt who wrote “I Hear Abel Singin’ in the Fields” said her story was inspired by the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

“From my background of faith, the story of Cain and Abel, farmers, and knowing farmers growing up here and stuff, came together to tell the story about these two brothers, their connection to each other, their connection to the land, and just division between people,” said Syratt.

Experience Theatre noted there are content warnings such as violence, suicidal ideations, and prop gun along with gunshots. The recommended rating is PG. Experience Theatre director Carson Rafuse shared a sneak peek of what the audience can expect.

“The audience can expect a really intimate theatrical experience, you’re gonna see a beautiful development of this relationship of these two brothers, and how marriage and the death of their parents and all those sorts of things affect how they feel about each other. And it’s got some great folk music elements and some elements of hymns,” said Rafuse.

This will be Experience Theatre’s first play but it plans to put on even more productions within the year.

Bear Child said he hopes their theatre group will have an impact on the community.

“Inspiration to not only other artists, but just the individual people in general who have stories that they want to tell, that they want to share, that they want to get across.

“We’re very art focused. And it’s not just theatre, every single art form is very respected by us, and we love them all. And so, the idea is just to give people in this community, an outsource to express themselves and to grow a culture and expand the city because it’s rapidly growing,” he said.

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