The Magic of Theatre – Barb Henderson

When my family and I moved to Northumberland County from Toronto I had no experience with community theatre and no idea how it could change my life.

The very first experience I had was a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and what an introduction that was!  I was involved in sewing costumes, both my daughters were in the chorus and my husband Rodger had a part on stage as one of the brothers. It was a truly memorable experience. The run ended in late June and we helped put the show to bed and then set off on our annual sailing vacation.  We headed out to Main Duck Island which meant an overnight sail.  I had the first watch after dark and after ghosting along under sail for a while was amazed to hear the three of them singing a song from the show in three part harmony in their sleep. Talk about an immersive theatrical experience!

As I got drawn into more productions for The Players I learned about the incredible behind the scenes teamwork that goes on to put a show on stage.  I know that for many of these (mostly musical) shows I would have put in a hundred hours of sewing, fitting, shopping for fabrics and consulting with the designer.  And the same kind of commitment is required from the musicians, lighting, set and lighting designing and building. And that is just what is going on behind the curtains! There is magic there.

One of the greatest gifts I received through community theatre was being introduced to, working with, learning from and becoming friends with Suzanne Mess.  Her knowledge of the theatre world, from our community to Toronto, New York, Miami, Chicago and beyond was truly eye-opening.  Her attention to detail was sometimes scary for a newbie like me but forced me to be a better seamstress. Her stories of famous people that she designed for, priceless.

But for me the greatest magic of theatre is its ephemerality.  Most other arts can be revisited.  You can read a great book again, listen to a CD as often as you want or see a famous painting in many ways but once you walk out of a theatre that moment is gone. Poof! It only exists in our memory and there is something very poignant about that.  So when that wonderful evening happens when everything goes perfectly, the actors are all pumped and primed, there are no prop mix ups or costume failures and the band is in the zone there is nothing like it and then………………it’s gone.  

I have been privileged to have witnessed many of those memorable moments and I’m so grateful to have found The Northumberland Players.


A picture of Barb and Rodger Henderson
Barb and Rodger Henderson