Sunday, March 24, 2019
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The Continuing Drama

Constable Joe Winkler, 1874 - 1968 Constable Joe Winkler, 1874 - 1968


During the 30s the Hanna Dramatic Society was performing and many plays were sponsored by local church ladies groups like "What Happened To Jones" sponsored by the Anglican Ladies Guild or "Miss Cherry Blossom" held in 1937 sponsored by the United Ladies Aid.

In 1952 the Friendship Club was organized and an operation holding dances and socials in the community.

In the 1960s the Hanna Players were in full swing and were very popular. The group first formed about 1958 - 59 when a group of interested people met to organize the Players. They met in the former United Church now the Community Services Building and held their performances in the Jr. High School. The group usually put on a major production per year and did some plays in Oyen and Drumheller. The cast varied depending on the production being put on but the group always had a membership of at least 25 or more. Earlier the group put on Gilbert and Sullivan productions, such as, "Pirates of Penzance","The Mikado", "H.M.S. Pinnafore", and "Gondoliers". The first director was a British import who taught in Hanna, Ralph Milner. Later directors were Dick West, and Frank Lee. John Morell also directed the plays, "Oklahoma" and "Man of LaMancha", put on by the group.

Mr. Morell was teaching in Hanna and since has become well-known as a director and playwright. The final production, "Sound of Music" was performed in 1974 as the group lost key members

As mentioned previously by the later 70s the Hanna Players were no longer active and the Masonic Temple Association was formed in 1979 due to concern for the lack of cultural organization in Hanna. This association was comprised of Joe and Marj Blair, Andy and Marj Duff, and Bill and Betty Cross. The association attended a program called "Showcase" in Edmonton which is designed to promote young Canadian artists. The association adopted a similar program of "Showcase," bringing cultural programming to Hanna in conjunction with Alberta culture. "Showcase" provided an incentive to support young Alberta and other Canadian artists allowing them opportunity to perform and be known to the public without playing the bar circuit. There were usually 3 or 4 productions put on per year including vocalists, instrumentalists, band, dancers, and several plays. The first production, the play "Paper Wheat", was put on June 1979 by the 25th St. Playhouse Theater from Saskatoon. The play depicted 1930s farm life and was received greatly by Hanna audiences.

Liona Boyd played in Hanna the year she only did one concert in Southern Alberta. Some other productions put on were; Lauren Vincent and her band, Telix Cossack, some orchestras from Edmonton and Calgary, and a magician. Showcase ran from 1979 until the spring of 1985 due to the associations other commitments.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald