By Vivian Collings
The show will go on for Razzamataz with a whole new board of directors and five exciting shows for their new season, the first of which was nearly sold out.
After a two-year hiatus, the family entertainment series is back with five unique performances for families in the Highlands.
Nicole Stewart, a new resident to Haliburton County, was recently made the chair of the board of Razzamataz Kids’ Shows.
“[Razzamataz is] something that I think is very needed in our community. It’s an opportunity for kids to see theatre when really they wouldn’t otherwise be introduced to it. You get a lot of kids coming, and it’s their first time ever seeing a live theatre performance, and it brings a lot of joy,” she said.
The first show of the year was on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavillion in Haliburton.
“We had a great show today with an almost sold out house. The performance was surprising, fun and ended with an interactive element where children could go onstage and practice miming with the performers,” Stewart said.
Tara Luz Danse is a Francophone group from Ottawa performing a show called Les bâtons.
“It’s a very interesting mix of contemporary dance, music, and theatre. What they have are these batons or boomwhackers, and they basically do all sorts of surprising and unexpected things with them including making music. They have a drummer that comes along with them as well, and they just put on a really engaging and fun show,” Stewart said.
Following this performance, Razzamataz will have a ventriliquist show on Nov. 13, the Kif-Kif Sisters on Feb. 5, Nhapitapi from Zimbabwe on Mar. 19, 2023, and the Carousel Players to finish the season on Apr. 30, 2023.
Stewart’s background has proved to be a valuable asset to Razzamataz this season.
“I’m also a programmer, so I go and scout talent to bring back to the county. We attended different events and children’s festivals, usually in the summer time,” she said.
Razzamataz is part of an organization called Ontario Presents along with similar groups in Central/Northern Ontario.
“We put our heads together on who we would like to have, and then Ontario Presents helps us to organize a tour in order to get some really high-quality performers to come to the north and perform in our towns.”
This allows for a broad range of talent to come to the Highlands for this year’s Razzamataz shows.
“We’re very excited for the shows that we’re bringing in this year. We have some local people coming in from Ontario and we also have a musical group coming from Zimbabwe to do a show. It’s a nice variety of some contemporary dance, comedy, music, and musical theatre,” Stewart said.
They decided to include five shows instead of the usual four due to a two-year hiatus.
“This year, we’re making a comeback after a two-year COVID pause. We’re really excited to get back into the community and do a bunch of shows to engage young people,” she said.
The organization has been around for 30 years, making it an entertainment series that many Haliburton County children have grown up with.
“Because we had to stop for two years, there’s actually a number of [kids] who have aged out of the shows, and so we really want to come back and let the community know that we’re here, we’re doing more shows, and really engage a new, young audience.”
Razzamataz typically caters their shows to infants up to 12-year-old children.
Stewart has a young daughter herself and said many of the other board members have younger children.
“We have a great lineup of shows and a whole new, highly energized group that’s ready to get out and help put the shows on. I think it’s going to be a wonderful season.”
Tickets can be purchased at www.razzamataz.ca or at the door on show days.