Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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TRAVELLING SHOWS

Probably the best remembered show to come to Brookdale was the Chautauqua. In the first years that it came, the performers played under the "Big Top", a huge brown tent set up in the area where Art Evans'' trailer home is now located. Due to wet weather and bad roads the crowds dwindled to the point that after three years, the Chautauqua discontinued coming. Although it met with disappointment in those first years of the 1920''s, it returned in the later years of the 20''s to perform in the auditorium of the new school. Again it failed financially; nevertheless some of us had never seen such superb programs so professionally presented during the three-day annual stay.

One night in the mid 1920''s we had a magician come to the LO.O.F. Hall.His act started with a loaf of bread that he had purchased from Mr. Barrett, the local baker. With a very large, sharp knife he sliced the loaf open lengthwise to reveal a gold watch belonging to one of the men in the audience, who was quite unaware that it was not in his pocket.

The last part of the performance was done on the stage between a suspended white cotton sheet and a light, with the rest of the room in darkness. With his hands, the magician made all kinds of amusing images which we could see on the cotton screen from the audience side.

In the mid 1920''s, a representative from the British and Foreign Bible Society would come and show lantern slides at the church. An interesting commentary was given as well.The one presentation that comes to mind was a condensed version of John Bunyan''s, "Pilgrim''s Progress".

Another troupe of approximately six players, presented the play, "Uncle Tom''s Cabin". For so few players to act out all the different characters was quite amazing.

Many years later two nights were arranged by the "Associated Commercial Travellers", in which the talent from the local and surrounding districts competed to raise money to help combat tuberculosis.

 

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