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Searching For Our Modern Day Robin Hood

The story — or maybe even better, the idea — of Robin Hood is ingrained in our memories and history. The archer robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Simple. Robin Hood, a true icon, has been reinterpreted in so many different ways throughout history that these stories will always permeate our collective conscious, even though they always change with the passage of time.

“It’s conforming to know that Robin Hoods of yesteryear can inspire Robin Hoods of today to continue to stand up to Giants, be they Sheriffs, or corporations,” said Niagara playwright Lezlie Wade, of Yellow Door Theatre’s most recent production, Robin Hood: A New Musical Adaptation.

“It is my hope that this version of Robin Hood will give you pause for thought as we continue to fight Giants in our own lives.”

In this production, Robin, the heroine — played by Naomi Shad — leads “a band of youth who’ve been cast out onto the streets by an evil conglomerate bent on clear-cutting the beloved Sherwood Forest to make room for a new subdivision”, reads the Press Release for the production.
Sound familiar? Although this is a play that was written by Wade and composer John-Luke Addison (former music director with the Shaw Festival), who were supported by the financial assistance of Niagara Investment in Culture for their creation, Director Andorlie Hillstrom stated that the parallels between the protests over the 1.5 billion dollar development at the Thundering Waters wetlands were not intentional.

“It is interesting that much of this has transpired and there seem to be clear parallels,” she said.

“It is always exciting to be presented with new material. The characters are being are being created for the first time and we have the freedom to fully develop characters as well as re-define scripting and music to suit our casting.”

The not-for-profit youth arts organization Yellow Door Theatre Project has been in operation for the past four years after Hillstrom relocated to Niagara from Regina. Hillstrom had worked may years as an actress/singer/director and instructor and founded the youth performing companies of Do It With Class Young Peoples Theatre — who are celebrating 25 years in 2019 — The Golden Apple Theatre (a professional Theatre Company) and was founder and owner of Class Act Performing Arts Studios for 25 years.

The Theatre Project provides theatre skill training and performance opportunities for youth ages 8 to 18 within the Niagara Region. Robin Hood features 37 children working with two professionals from the Shaw Festival, William Vickers and Jenny Wright alongside other theatre professionals “who have been or are presently working at Shaw Festival,” said Hillstrom.

“The growth of the organization has been phenomenal. I am grateful for all the support from parents and members of the community. The smiles on the children’s faces as they gain confidence in their abilities as artists is what makes all the effort and investment of time and energy are so priceless.”

Robin Hood: A New Musical Adaptation runs from December 12-23 at the Robertson Theatre at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

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