For a decade, Theatre Outre, Lethbridge’s premier queer theatre company, has been transforming the city’s cultural tapestry. Now, Lethbridge’s Galt Museum and Archives is saluting this pioneering organization in an extraordinary way with a new temporary exhibit: Acting Out: Celebrating a Decade of Theatre Outre.
Boasting a proud legacy that began with its maiden performance in 2012, Theatre Outre has continually illuminated, represented, and explored the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Lethbridge. This has been achieved through the medium of thought-provoking productions and engaging social events.
Co-founder of Theatre Outre, Jay Whitehead, spoke fondly of the new incarnation of the company’s history, “To witness a decade worth of diligent work and breathtaking accomplishments showcased in this exceptional exhibit is indeed profoundly moving.”
The exhibition invites the public to delve into the history of Theatre Outre, tracing its journey from its humble, yet spirited beginnings above The Owl, right through to the final curtain call at Didi’s Playhaus, encapsulating the mesmerizing spectrum of the company’s life.
In addition to narrating the company’s history, the exhibit also offers an intimate glimpse into the theatre’s backstage dynamics by showcasing a selection of used costumes, set pieces, and props. Jason Ranaghan, the exhibit’s guest curator, particularly admires the company’s innovative spirit, “Theatre Outre’s knack for crafting powerful props and objects from scant resources is a cornerstone of the exhibition.”
Deonie Hudson, the company’s interim artistic director and resident designer, played a significant role in curating the exhibition. “Initially, I gathered 50 pieces to showcase, but reality demanded I carefully distill that selection down to the most representative items to be featured here.”
Theatre Outre has always made it a priority to encapsulate every facet of queer life, from familial dynamics to queer interpretations of well-known narratives.
Discussing the company’s remarkable journey, Whitehead said, “We started in a tiny room above The Owl that could only accommodate about 30 patrons. Fast forward a decade – we now host full-fledged seasons with up to four plays annually, tour nationally and internationally, the trajectory of our growth is truly magnificent.”
Theatre Outre will have to recalibrate when Didi’s Playhaus, the company’s chosen venue, shuts its doors. “For now, we’ll adapt and operate as most other theatre companies do, without a dedicated physical location. Instead, we’ll embrace the city’s diverse locations for staging our performances,” concludes Whitehead. This exhibit not only pays tribute to Theatre Outre’s past but foretells its vibrant and resilient future.