Magnolias in full bloom in Chemainus

Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias brings to the stage some of the best written conversational scenes depicting female relationships of modern theatre, and this year’s production of the famous screenplay at the Chemainus Theatre Festival will delight audiences.Performed by Susan Coodin (Shelby), Erin Ormond (M’Lynn), Dolores Drake (Truvy), Anna Hagan (Ouiser), Norma Bowen (Clairee) and Sarah Carle (Annelle) and directed by Nicola Cavendish, Steel Magnolias is a play that will tug at the hearts of audiences, but only towards the end. It may be surprising to some, but  the majority of this play is actually a feast of comedic verbal exchanges that had the audience laughing out loud and applauding between scenes on its opening night April 21. Steel Magnolias tells of the friendship between six women, which in this production, gets played out in the setting of a beauty shop. We are introduced to the character of Shelby as she arrives to get ready for her wedding, joined by the ladies of the shop, her mother and a couple of “regulars”. As the story continues the audience is introduced to Shelby’s condition (Type 1 diabetes), her dreams of becoming a mother, and the tribulations of what pursuing that dream brings upon the family. While it is not the full-length screen version some may be familiar with, the CTF productions remains true to the messages of that screenplay and audiences will still be able to relate to the characters, and in particular to the relationship between Shelby and her mother. The story is beautifully acted by the all-female cast and Phillip Clarkson did a terrific job on costume design that made this audience member dream about purple suede shoes and other great 80-style hits. Catch this production from now until June 4. For more information visit or call 1-800-565-7738.

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