AMHERST – Twenty years later, Showcase Productions Society is about to make the final payment of $100,000 to complete a trust fund at the TD Bank to ensure the account for bursaries and scholarships to graduating students throughout Cumberland County.
The non-profit organization has spent the last 20 years helping students further their education.
“Five years ago, the society decided to extend their bursaries and scholarships to include students not necessarily furthering their education in the arts but to students who have dedicated themselves to volunteerism,” society co-chair Ed MacKay said.
“Students who volunteer are eligible for a bursary valued at up to $500. The society provides a $2,000 scholarship to a student at Amherst Regional High School who are furthering their studies in the performing arts and an additional $2,000 to a student within Cumberland County pursuing post-secondary studies in the performing arts,
“Providing access to theatre is the society’s mandate.”
In addition to bursaries and scholarships, the society also makes donations to schools for school theatrical productions.
Formed in May 1990, Showcase Productions Society is the only musical theatre organization in Cumberland County and is the oldest theatre group in Amherst.
“The society in meeting their objective of providing an avenue for the appreciation of theatre instituted an annual excursion to Broadway, New York,” MacKay said.
“For the past 20 years, the group has been organizing and escorting fall and spring tours to The Big Apple to see the very latest in theatrical entertainment. People come from all over the maritime provinces and as far away as Montreal to take part in the tours.
“While in New York, people can take in as many as six Broadway shows,” board chair Andrew Melanson said.
The society participates in a variety of community activities in Cumberland County, including the Four Fathers Festival.
In the summer of 1992, the group began a tradition of providing a summer dinner theatre at the Wandlyn Inn, now taken over by Live Bait Theatre at the request of members, who no longer corral summer students and gather necessary volunteers to make the event happen.
In 1999, the society decided to contribute directly to the new hospital building fund and staged a musical revue.
“Profits from this production went to the local hospital as well as to the IWK children’s hospital. In 2003 the society divided profits from their production of Smoke on the Mountain between the Cumberland Drug Awareness Program and the building fund for the new Anglican Parish Hall,” MacKay said, adding that the society’s commitment to the community is strong.
Shows produced by the society over the years include Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph and the Amazing Technical Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Secret Garden, L’il Abner, A Tribute to the Tonys, The Wonderful World of Music, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Smoke on the Mountain, War Time Radio Show, Hello Dolly, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and more.
For more information on Showcase Productions Society, visit www.showcaseproductions.ca.