hatlogo Great Stories Alive !
      "Performance with Passion & Purpose"

PO Box 11045 - Portland, OR 97211 - (503) 335-3876 - GreatStoriesAlive.com


FOR RELEASE ON:  Monday, December 1, 2008

Media Contacts:

Al LePage, Performer, Great Stories Alive! / 503-335-3876

Nette Plant, Performer, 604-327-266, netteplant@hotmail.com

A Christmas Carol "Duet" British Columbia 1858!

Time travel with two characters from the past, an "Englishman" and a "Learned Lady of Fort Langley,"
for a very dramatic reading of this holiday classic in the year British Columbia became a Crown Colony

bookA dramatic reading of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" will be presented in the style of the Victorian era to benefit local area food banks and heritage organizations.   Travel back in time with Nette Plant as “Learned Lady of Fort Langley Emmeline Newton” and Al LePage as "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian" as they perform complete with accents, clothing of the Victorian period and other accoutrements.   They will begin their passionate and dramatic performance by sharing their personal thoughts and feelings about the recent establishment of British Columbia -- and what "the future" might hold -- for the new crown colony.  Their performance includes the word-by-word script used by Dickens himself  for his public readings, and is sprinkled with period music, singing and a few surprises, too!  This unique BC 150 event will take place on Friday, December 19th at 7PM in Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Road in Fort Langley, BC.    Doors open at 6:30 PM and admission is $10 per person with all funds equally benefiting Friends in Need Food Bank, Langley Food Bank, Friends of Fort Langley and Fort Langley Community Hall.  The performance is 2 hours in length and best appreciated by adults and mature children age ten and older.  Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling 604-888-3943 or purchased at the door, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  This is also the official annual CBC Radio "A Christmas Carol" reading event for the local area.  

"Bringing great stories to life in the character of someone from the past," begins LePage, "is a very powerful way to engage people, and connect them with the history not only of a certain time period, but also where they actually live or visit. And great stories can make people more aware of the reality that surrounds them, and connect them with others and within themselves for greater understanding and compassion. Live drama can bring these great stories to life in a way that provides both entertainment and insight. So, given all this and the themes of personal transformation and charity in Dickens 'A Christmas Carol,' it simply makes a lot of sense to donate my time and talents to benefit others through dramatic readings of this particular story."

Nette Plant as Mrs NewtonPlant and LePage both share a mission of playing to and with audience members to bring history and great stories alive! This will quickly become evident when you first encounter them before the performance. Their love of improvisation combined with a highly interactive approach means there's sure to be lots of drama and fun combined with fast action and probably some real surprises!  Yes, since they're playful, like to experiment and believe in seizing the moment, even they don't always know what's going to happen.  As Shakespeare wrote, ". . . one man in his time plays many parts . . ." and their creative use of voice should shine through as they create all 26 characters – with an interesting twist here and there -- all within the span of about two hours.

"Lady Emmeline Newton is the perfect historic figure for me to portray," notes performer Nette Plant," because besides actually being the Chief Clerk's wife of nearby Fort Langley itself, she also adored the writings of Charles Dickens. We can all play a part in fact, both the audience and myself, by fighting hunger and preserving history in our community."

According to Food Banks Canada's ju
st released annual HungerCount 2008 report, Canada's only national survey of food banks and emergency food programs, more people assisted by food banks are working.  The problem is, many jobs just don’t payenough to heat their homes, cover the rent, clothe their families, and provide three square meals every day.  Employed food bank clients have grown from a low of 11.9% in 2002 to 14.5% of those assisted this year.  And children represented 37% of the total 704, 414 people assisted by food banks nationally during March 2008.  The rate for British Columbia is 31.2%, or nearly one in every three children of the 78,101 individuals assisted during the same month.

"It is with no joy that we have to report that food bank usage in B.C. is on the increase once again," notes HungerCount 2008 BC Provincial Coordinator Dave Murray, director of Abbotsford Community Services Food Bank.  "Although the increase is minimal (2.1%) it is still staggering to know that 78,101 people visit a food bank at least once a month in British Columbia.  What is most disturbing is that 24,368 B.C. children find themselves caught in the fallout of families trying to provide enough food to feed themselves on a daily basis. These figures parallel the fact that B.C. has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in children living below the poverty line for the fifth year in a row, at 21.9%.  Canada’s most unacceptable problem is that we have far too many poor children – by any measure."

Nette at Fort Steele"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” notes LePage. “So come and play along with us! Yes, join us for lots of laughter, and hopefully some tears, during our dramatic reading duet of Charles Dickens classic 'A Christmas Carol'.

The Friends In Need Food Bank is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide for the hungry in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, to inform and refer when needed and to raise awareness concerning hunger issues. Founded in 1989, it has grown from a basement operation to a 3200sq ft warehouse in Maple Ridge with a secondary distribution depot in Pitt Meadows.  It distributes to over 600 families and singles each month and assists 7 community agencies to provide food and nourishment to those who are hungry.  They depend solely on the generosity of the community and its members, receiving over 105,000 kilograms of donated food each year from local groceries, bakeries, retailers and community members.  The food bank is also a member of the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB) and abides by its Code of Ethics.  For futher information, assitance, to make donations or volunteer visit their website at www.friendsneedfood.com or phone 604-466-3663.

The Langley Food Bank is a program of Langley District Help Network, an incorporated society, registered with Revenue Canada as a non-profit organization.  In keeping with its slogan of "Neighbors Helping Neighbors it is entirely funded through the support of local churches, organizations and individuals, and does not receive any support from any government bodies.  It was first opened in Sept 1989 and has always had many enthusiastic volunteers who help in a variety of tasks including distribution, cleaning, food packaging, paperwork, and sorting.   Besides providing food, objectives include developing relational bridges with clients both to discover and find a way to their needs, whether physical, social, or spiritual in nature.  There are currently about 400 client families registered at the Langley Food Bank.   Including dependents, we are helping over 700 people with their food requirements each week.  In 2007, over 11,000 hampers were provided.  For further information visit www.langleyfoodbank.com or phone 604-533-0671.

The Friends of Fort Langley is a non-profit society whose purpose is to stimulate appreciation and enjoyment of Fort Langley National Historic Site through encouraging research, restoration and recreation of the site and activities consistent with the Sites themes and objectives.  Their Gift Shop, open daily from 11AM to 4:30PM, is located in the Visitor's Centre of Parks Canada's Fort Langley National Historic Site, and is the perfect place to pick up something to remember your day at the fort, or come on by to pick up locally made, locally themed gifts for your friends and family around the world.  For further information email fotf@uniserve.com or phone 604-888-3943.

Fort Langley Community Hall, completed in 1931, is a designated Municipal Heritage Site maintained and supported by a volunteer board of directors.  This large, gracious, 2 storey building has a grand ballroom upstairs which boasts an horsehair sprung dance floor, a stage with lighting, sound and balcony plus a kitchen, and serves the community as both the focal and social center of Fort Langley.  Downstairs there is a meeting room, an office and the Fort Langley Branch of the Fraser Valley Regional Library.  The hall is popular for parties, meetings, movies and weddings, and can accomodate up to 250 people.  It's charming outdoor gardens make the hall the perfect setting for special occasions.  In spring, there are cherry blossoms and colorful shrubs, geraniums and annuals; and in the winter, beautiful lights and decorations.  For further information or to make reservations to rent the facility phone 604-888-1759.






Suggested CAPTIONS for IMAGES:

"Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian" as portrayed by Al LePage, is sure to bring you laughter, hopefully some tears, and a dance! (Photo credit: David Krapes)

"Lady Emmeline Newton" as portrayed by Nette Plant will not only perform but also entertain you with music, a song and a surprise!  (Photo credit: Parks Canada)

Nette Plant, as travelling performer "E. Pauline Johnson-Tekahionwake, Mohawk Princess-Poet," on tour in "1898"at Fort Steele Heritage Town.

 CBC Radio Official "A Christmas Carol" Readings Website
Offcial BC 150 Event Website