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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spencer Theatre performers travel to Ireland for cultural exchange

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

The cultural exchange between Spencer Community Theatres, Children's Theatre and The Performing Arts School Galway, Ireland (PASG) continues. In the summer of 2001, PASG brought their Irish heritage, charm and culture to the SCT stage.

This summer 15 children's theatre alumni, directors Shaley Cullen and Julie Harder, and chaperone Barb Ambrosius will take their Midwestern heritage, charm and culture to the stages of Galway. Obviously, the troupe is very excited about the idea of performing in Ireland. But they are also excited to produce and perform a piece which is indicative of life in the upper Midwest, Iowa, and most importantly - northwest Iowa. The troupe wants their piece to contain music, dance and script that convey the essence of Midwestern life today and in the past. They hope to give residents of Galway a glimpse and feeling of life in the heartland of the United States.

According to PASG directors Anne Shumate and Paula McGurrell, most Irelanders are very familiar with the east and west coasts of the United States. It is life in the Midwest that is unfamiliar and, therefore, of much interest to them. Both Shumate and McGurrell strongly encouraged SCTs troupe to develop a performance piece that gives Irish theatre patrons a look at the Midwest. Putting this piece together is a challenge. The challenge is being met with great enthusiasm, however, by all involved with this project. Brainstorming meetings are held regularly where directors and troupe members offers suggestions for the material to be included in the piece. Although decisions regarding the material are still being made, one decision has been finalized - the name of the troupe.

Prairie Fire.

After much discussion, this is the name chosen by the troupe. Directors and troupe members wanted a name that would symbolize the Midwest, the pioneer spirit, our Native American heritage, and northwest Iowa. After much deliberation, Prairie Fire was chosen. Prairie fires, although destructive, were also looked upon favorably. Prairie fires would burn away old growth, encouraging new growth on the prairie.

Prairie Fire will depart for Galway on July 3, and return to the States on July 22. Between now and July 3, Prairie Fire will be compiling and cutting, rehearsing and performing, and yes, with help of their parents - fund-raising.

Parents of Prairie Fires members also meet regularly to plan various fund-raisers. Currently in place is a monthly can and bottle pick-up.