Experience the joy of theatre over the holidays by taking in Courtenay Little Theatre’s spectacular live production of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” at the Sid Williams Theatre! There are eight shows to choose from, including four matinées. It’s the thirtieth anniversary of the movie version so CLT’s director, Brian Mather, is offering a refreshing take on the story, with 31 local actors portraying over 70 characters in this endearing musical, based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale.

See all of your favourite characters live! Sienna Orbell plays the lovestruck little mermaid, Ariel, while Cedar Hilberry is the human object of her affection, Prince Eric. The evil sea witch, Ursula (Allyson Leet) takes on King Triton (Ian Langmann) by capturing Ariel’s voice but Ariel’s side kicks, Flounder (Celie Lacasse), Scuttle the seagull (Halle Weyler) and, of course, the red Jamaican crab, Sebastian (Adelie Simson) come to the rescue. Backing up the large ensemble cast with all of the show’s stirring music is a full 12 piece orchestra conducted by Musical Director, Denise Marquette, in the pit under the stage at the Sid. Choreographer Ashley Schmidt’s choreography adds to the lively action on stage.

One of the delights of seeing the show live is the excitement of seeing the Sid stage transformed into an underwater kingdom and then the deck of a ship, all of which is accomplished by the innovative set, designed by Jay Crowder, which has been built and painted by a small army of talented volunteers and artists. For every actor onstage, there are 3 – 4 technical people supporting the production.

The colourful costumes, numbering more than 90 for the show, have been designed by Marsha McGregor and are being sewn from scratch by a team of 16 plus costume helpers. Children 12 and under are also encouraged to wear their own favourite costumes (in any theme) to the theatre, where they can enter a draw for a mermaid tail blanket, which will be drawn at the special New Year’s Eve show.

I sat down for a cup of tea with Marsh, interested in what would attract an artist like her to the theatre. Before coming to the Valley with her partner, Al Kneeland, in 2012, Marsha published the Boundary Communicator paper in Grand Forks, BC. She has a background in architectural design and has had a lifelong interest in doing crafts, inspired by her mother, who taught her to sew at a young age. Marsha is a member of the Rebekah Lodge and has organized its craft fairs for several years. She had worked on costumes for one production a year in Grand Forks, so she was delighted to join Courtenay Little Theatre’s costume team when she arrived here. She has worked on several CLT shows but this is the first major show that she has designed. Her design meetings with the director, Brian Mather, began in March 2019 and then Marsha began compiling her designs into a massive costume book with ideas for fabrics. Finding the fabrics needed and adapting the designs to the different actors, who were cast in June, added to the challenge. Using her background in crafting, McGregor was able to attract some talented assistance to add to the CLT costume team. Drawing on the team’s contacts, she landed an offer from the Sewing Spool Centre in Courtenay to allow the team to use their space for group sessions. For the most part, however, the seamstresses work on projects independently under McGregor’s direction. It’s been a massive undertaking and McGregor is looking forward to seeing her creations hit the stage in December. Asked what she loves most, her eyes light up as she says, “The imagination! I love being able to create!”

Get immersed in this wonderful imaginative experience of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” over the holidays! Tickets are on sale now at the Sid Williams Ticket office: www.sidwilliamstheatre.com . Tickets are selling very well so do not hesitate to book online, phone (250) 338-2430 ext. 1, or visit the office at 442C Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay. Show times are: Evenings (Dec. 21, 27, 30 and New Year’s Dec. 31 at 7:30 pm, all seats $30) and Matinées (Dec. 22, 23, 28, and 29 @ $28). Group rates for 6 or more are available for $26 a seat for all shows. Enjoy this special Christmas present for all ages from CLT to the Valley!