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Sunday July 30th, 2017

Posted at 12:35pm

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With many fundraisers doing the same old song and dance, one group is planning something different.

ACT Up: Cabaret For A Cause is set to provide a night of fun at the Capitol Theatre on Friday, September 15th, at 7:30pm.  The event, which is fairly self-explanatory, will also benefit the Arts Collective Theatre (ACT) — a group that provides services throughout the county.

“ACT is a not for profit organization committed to enhancing the well-being of the Windsor Essex community through theatre based practices,” said VP Moya McAlister. “ACT is committed to delivering educational theatre based practices to the Windsor – Essex Community and beyond. We look forward to developing new partnerships and through this active engagement, create further pathways of learning. Mentorship and learning opportunities are rooted in our artistic processes. Arts Collective Theatre is dedicated to enhancing the life of the community by bringing awareness to social justice issues at home and beyond Windsor.”

This is accomplished through several partnerships. Donating space for meetings along with rehearsals, help has come from the Greater Essex County District School Board, Windsor Youth Centre, Windsor Dance Experience, University of Windsor, new Comber Art Project, Film Camp For Kids and Old Walkerville Theatre. ACT also works with local school boards for their social justice theatre project, bringing awareness to major social issues through the performances.

It’s only a small part of their planned activities.

“We have three productions a year and next year we are adding two more,” said McAlister. “We have our social justice theatre project (which a girl like me is part of,) our Student Intensive (our biggest production of the year), our A Very Merry ACTmas (our holiday variety show), and next year — we’re announcing it soon — our new community theatre production and our seniors project.”

Given its role in the community, it’s necessary for the group to raise funds for these programs. With that being said however, Cabaret For A Cause isn’t strictly about cash. Recruiting some of the best talent in the area, those involved are excited to give everyone a memorable experience.

On top of that, this event has been in the planning stages for awhile now.

“Our cast has some of the most talented people I know,” said organizer and performer Toni Bruner. “I started by asking a few of my closest friends way back in April, before it was even decided that we would do this. From there, each of us thought of people we’ve performed with in the past who would be a great fit. Our cast includes Aaron Bergeron, Amber Thibert, Dalton Hickson, Lizz Beith, Matthew Dumouchel, Brian Yeomans, Nina Fasullo, Sean Humenny, Stephanie Allen Santos and myself. I thought of doing a cabaret because there is just such good material out right now that people want to perform. No one in the cast needed convincing at all.”

Every performer picked their own songs and is responsible for learning them — this includes both theatre and pop music. Meeting to practice weekly up until the event, a final run-through will take place with the show’s accompanist: All choreography is being managed by Lizz Beith and Dalton Hickson.

As the performance is already shaping up, sponsorship opportunities have also arisen.

“We have two great sponsors right now – Mix 96.7 and Artsy Lens Photography,” said Bruner. “We’re looking for sponsors to assist in covering the cost of the venue and if people are interested, they can head over to our Facebook event (ACT Up: Cabaret for a Cause) and leave a comment.”

Tickets are now available by donation and a minimum of $10-per-ticket is suggested. Reception has been positive so far with 20% sold and some being purchased for $20 each. People can purchase their tickets by commenting on the event’s facebook page or at the door that night if they aren’t sold out.

After it’s all done, everyone hopes to create a tradition and make it easier for the ACT to help others.

“ACT is really trying to develop their presence in the city and I know they work hard with their students,” said Bruner. “I’m really hoping people come out, see these awesome performances and not only get inspired to give back but also to perform in the future. We’re hoping to do a Cabaret for a Cause with a different non profit benefitting twice a year.”

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