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The room at the Highwood Memorial Centre was full as the Windmill Theatre Players hosted their “Stroll Down Memory Lane Tea and Fashion Show” on Saturday, March 16.

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Fashions from the Windmill Theatre Players 50 years of productions were worn by the actors that played the role themselves and 94-year-old Francis Ferguson was there to witness it all.

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Since 1993, Ferguson has been a volunteer with the Windmill Theatre Players and created a number of the costumes worn on stage.

“The first costume I had to do was to make my daughter Laura’s costume fit better. She was in the King and I and came and said, ‘mom, will you fix this costume for me?’, so I fixed it for her and the next thing I knew, I was making costumes,” remembered Francis.

“It was the ball gown for The King and I,” Laura Ferguson confirmed.

“I used to make all the kid’s clothes when they were little so I know my way around my sewing machine. I’ve retired my sewing machine now and I just do cross stitch and I knit,” said Francis.

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Getting involved because Laura was a big part of Windmill Theatre Players was a labour of love for Francis.

“The story behind Laura joining this group was Laura took voice lessons and Laura took piano lessons for years and it cost me a lot of money. Then she wasn’t involved and I said, ‘Laura, you’ve got to get involved. I paid all that money and then she did. She got involved in this wonderful group,” said Francis with a smile.

Over the many years of Windmill Theatre Players Productions, Ferguson has found some costume challenges.

“I made all the girls’ dresses in My Fair Lady in 1999 and my other daughter came from Vancouver and made all the hats. It was a family affair all around. My favourite costume was Joseph’s coat in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2002. I made one coat for Shea Christie. It got wrecked in the 2013 Flood and I cried. I had taken all different colours and made it into patterns and the coat took a long time to put together. I lined it with gold. I was very upset when I heard it was destroyed in the flood. We lost a lot of costumes and memorabilia that year,” she said.

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At the Tea and Fashion Show, she was seated at a table and watched the Windmill actors walk amongst them.

“You know, there’s a couple outfits that have come out that they said I did but I can’t remember them, like the blue dress. I obviously made it but I just can’t remember it. I just loved to see some of these today because it was a fun job because all the casts were great to work with. This group is wonderful because they are kind of like a family. It’s great that they are celebrating 50 years in this community. I truly am proud of my family for being involved over the years,” said Francis.

The next production for Windmill Theatre Players is in April with their 99th production, the musical, “Grease”.

To buy tickets, go to www.windmilltheatreplayers.com and follow the link and if you have any questions, call Celia Penman at 403-652-7913, and please leave a message.

Dinner theatre is on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 and doors open at 5:45 p.m. with a buffet served from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m.

The ticket prices for Dinner Theatre are $70.00 for all tickets.

The Show Matinees are Sunday, April 21 and Saturday, April 27, with doors opening at 1:00 p.m. and curtain up at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 for adults and $22.00 for students.

The regular evening show will be on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27, with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. and curtain up at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 for adults and $22.00 for students.

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