Serving as an appropriate kick-off to the Christmas season, Our Divas Do Christmas celebrates 13 years of festivities for the whole family.
The first snows have yet to fall (our fingers are crossed this hasn’t changed by the time you read this), and yet there are aisles of department stores adorned with coloured lights, decorative snowmen and candy by the boat-full. Yes, it is the unofficial countdown to Christmas, and whether yours begins with frost, or Frosty, we all know when the holiday and yuletide cheer is well underway.
For many here in Newfoundland and Labrador TaDa! Events’ Our Divas Do Christmas is the official call that kicks off the festivities – a welcomed and familiar institution that has been brightening hearts and setting off smiles for 13 years.
“It is remarkable,” says Terri Andrews of TaDa!. “We didn’t conceive that this would be such a long term fixture in the community. I think the fact that it changes up so much, and the performers change up (is a factor). There are key elements to it that remain the same because that’s what people want. It has become tradition for people – they kickstart their holiday season with Our Divas Do Christmas and they know they’re going to get that big show and the warm and fuzzy that they did before, but there’s going to be a lot of stuff that’s new besides. I think that’s a big thing.”
World Class Stage
From child to adolescence, many of the performers you see on the Our Divas stage across this decade-plus have been there from the start, and that legacy has surly done wonders for the staying power of the band.
“I’m getting a sense this year that some of it is from the legacy amongst the performers. This year in our dance company we have new dancers. Some of those dancers were in the children’s choir 10 years age,” Andrews says. “That’s one of the reasons this can live on as well, these new generation of performers getting up there and performing.”
While Our Divas Do Christmas is a hub of all things merry and festive, it is also a cornerstone that allows performers of all types, with particular respect to dancers, to ply their trade at an elite level.
“It was this whole concept that started 13 years ago saying there is not a place that dancers can showcase themselves, that that number of dancers can be showcased,” Andrews recalls. “That became something that was symbolic of divas.
“When we first conceived this we wanted to bring performers here and bring them home who were world class and show the audiences here that we have world class performers. We are willing to invest in having arrangements done, having lighting, the dance component and big costumes and having it be a world class stage and package around you so you as a performer can be seen in your best light. It’s not just you and a microphone. We try to keep it top in our minds that the people who perform on this stage deserve to have a show around them that’s worthy of their talent.”
Adding yet another layer to the sterling reputation of TaDa! and Our Divas is the companies willingness to give back to the community through numerous acts of charity. This year funds collected will go towards the Agnes Pratt Foundation, with sections of the show specifically designed as tribute to seniors.
Season Sneak Peek
“We do tend to work with charities that the public is not as aware of as some of the others that have the money for the big PR campaign,” says Andrews. “With the Agnes Pratt Foundation, people think it is Eastern Health but people don’t realize that with a lot of the services facilities that are in there it’s a charitable organization that put it there. It’s pretty near and dear to my heart, because we are all going there eventually, or somewhere like it.”
In a sneak peek, Andrews shares that TaDa! is in the midst of hammering out their cast for the debut installment of the acclaimed production Rent in the spring of 2018 (the company will return with their acclaimed rendition of We Will Rock You in 2019). The casting call attracted well over 400 applicants, proving demand and public favour towards the TaDa! brand is at an all-time high.
“This will be the full-on Rent in all its painful glory,” Andrews shares. “The themes of Rent are homelessness, HIV and a lot of very timely things. It’s an important show and we’re really proud to be doing it.”
Our Divas Do Christmas runs from December 7-10 at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s. For tickets visit artsandculturecentre.com and for more information on TaDa! Events visit them on Facebook and tadaevent.com