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The theatre community in southeastern Manitoba is well represented in the 2016 Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

Madi Friesen and Cora Fast are both taking part in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Madi Friesen is a Steinbach resident and the stage manager for the show. She says the show covers 37 plays in 98 minutes and one of the actors has 32 costume changes.

"This is definitely a comedy, also more of a parody. It is intense with all of the amounts of costumes and props that are thrown around on stage but it is super fun and it totally makes fun of Shakespeare. It is for everyone. If you want to have a really good laugh this is the play to come see."

Actor Cora Fast is from Grunthal. She says she fell in love with theatre and improv in high school and the fringe festival is a great way to keep on acting.

Local Actors and Writers Jeremy Plett and Kenton Dyck are bringing an original comedy to the festival called Merry Men. Plett notes there are eight characters in Merry Men and they are played by four actors.2016 07 fringeMerry Men cast rehearsing

"It is a totally different take on the classic Robin Hood story. We get to see the story through the eyes of the merry men, not through Robin Hood. Through their eyes, it is quite a different story and it has got a bunch of lovable characters in it. It has got some fun twists to a classic story."

He notes the play flips between Robin Hood and his Merry Men and Prince John and his cronies. Though this is the first full show Plett has written he says he has had some practice writing pieces for Steinbach audiences.

"I run the Backyard Theatre Company for the arts council teaching kids, so I do a lot of children's scripts. I write a lot of shorts for kids, so that is kind of my writing background, I would say I pull a little of that into this."

Merry Men opens July 14th at Venue #12 Asper Centre for Theatre and Film and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) opens July 14th at Venue #4 Onstage At Playhouse. Other notable shows with local connections include Phoebe's Fractured Fairy Tales at Venue #30 Kids Venue and One Piece Missing at Venue #12 Asper Centre for Theatre and Film.

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