Live theatre is preparing to return to the stage in parts of Manitoba next year.

Virden Theatre Productions is working on their next production, Matilda: The Musical. 

Michelle Chyzyk and Dean Munchinsky will be partnering together to co-direct the group's latest production.

Chyzyk says the cast has been rehearsing outside and through Zoom during the pandemic this summer. 

"We’ve had the scripts and scores for over a year, but we started auditioning in April and then did some rehearsals in June by Zoom, and now we’re back to doing a few Sundays before we hibernate for the winter," she says.

"At this current time, outside is the name of the game, as well as masks whenever you’re doing any sort of performing arts activities," Chyzyk says. "We’re hoping for some great weather to finish off a few more Sundays. Other than that, ventilation is a big deal, and of course, distancing. We’re trying not to do the intricate closer work. Right now we’re trying to learn the vocals, explore the scenes, and that kind of thing."  

Chyzyk says COVID-19 changed their traditional venue from the "Aud Theatre" in Virden to The Riverbank Discovery Centre’s ‘Festival Park’ in Brandon for next June’s production.

"We’ll be devising the stage to suit that venue to make it work for our show," she says.  

Virden Theatre Productions features a host of talent from every age group in each of their performances;  musicians to dancers to on-stage personalities from across the Westman region. 

“We have people from many diverse communities,” Chyzyk explains. "I believe we have up to 8 different communities involved in this show, but of course our core group, our committee, comes from Virden, and we organize these projects typically for our beautiful Aud Theatre.

"Right now indoor theatre is just too dangerous."

Chyzyk says there will be about 35 performers taking to the stage for the production of Matilda next June.

"It’s wonderful! It’s about a little girl who’s very clever and loves to read and her parents don’t appreciate her,” explains Chyzyk. “She tells wonderful stories and at the end she finds a loving home. It’s really heartwarming but it's really an adventuresome story. The music is very dramatic, the characters are larger than life!"

"We just really love the show and it gives a chance to feature some young people. There are 23 students ranging in age from 12 to 19 and they are absolutely some of the area’s most spectacular performers! Triple set performers," Chyzyk says.