(From left) Laura Ruth, Steven Simpson, Larry Hamm and Cassie Unger perform in Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe. (Photo by Dianna Lewis Photography)

Gallery 7 Theatre presents Tempting Providence

Play opening Friday, Jan. 24 based on true story of Myra Bennett

Gallery 7 Theatre presents its next production, Tempting Providence by Canadian playwright Robert Chafe, starting on Friday, Jan. 24 at the Abbotsford Community Arts Addition (2329 Crescent Way).

Based on a true story, Tempting Providence tells the story of how the tenacious Myra Bennett leaves her life in England in the early 20th century and journeys to the remote village of Daniel’s Harbour in Newfoundland to be the region’s medical practitioner.

Despite the cold, harsh winters and the townspeople’s initial skepticism about her abilities, Bennet is determined to confound expectations through her down-to-earth courage and fortitude. Can she earn the community’s respect?

An inspiring and highly theatrical tale of heroism, sprinkled with generous doses of humour and romance, this play asks big questions about whether life happens simply by chance or by the hand of a larger force unseen.

“This story of community, friendship, and love in the midst of challenges and hardships has been on my list of shows to do for awhile. I’m glad to be finally staging it for Fraser Valley audiences,” said Ken Hildebrandt, Gallery 7’s executive/artistic director.

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Making her Gallery 7 Theatre stage debut in the role of lead character Myrna Bennet is Cassie Unger, while Steven Simpson, who is also making his Gallery 7 Theatre stage debut following graduating from the TWU theatre program, is playing the role of Angus.

Taking on the challenge of playing multiple characters throughout the play are ensemble members Larry Hamm and Laura Ruth.

The show will be directed by former TWU theatre professor Dr. Lloyd Arnett, who has directed other shows for Gallery 7 Theatre, including Cotton Patch Gospel and Shadowlands.

“How long and in what circumstances are people able to feel that they are truly here, truly at home in Canada?” Arnett asks.

“This is one of the things Robert Chafe explores in the life of Myra Grimsley Bennett, an immigrant to Newfoundland, in 1921. Along the way, Myra is forced to face questions of how much her personal development as a nurse, as a Christian, and as a woman have been impacted by her experiences in World War I.

“Most people I run into have never heard of this remarkable woman. After this play, that will not be true for audiences who attend the show.”

Props design and production photography is by Dianna Lewis, costume design is by Emily Krak, lighting design is by Phil Miguel, and makeup design is by Danielle Milette. The stage manager is Des Hale.

Tempting Providence runs Jan. 24 and 25, Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, and Feb. 4-8 at 7:30 p.m. with additional matinees on Jan. 25 and Feb. 1 and 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets and further information can be found at gallery7theatre.com.


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