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New Calgary show pays tribute to Canadian women’s rights pioneer

There’s an interesting new show hitting the stage as Calgary’s Heritage Park opens for its 2024 season.

The historical park is shining a spotlight on a woman who helped change the course of Canada’s history.

Actors are recreating an old-fashioned radio play set in 1929, depicting events in the life of women’s rights pioneer Nellie McClung.

“It’s an honour to play Nellie McClung,” actor Danielle Baker said. “I grew up learning, from elementary school to high school, about Nellie McClung and her impact on the lives of women here in Canada.”

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McClung was one of the Famous Five, a group of women campaigning to get Canadian women the right to vote and to be considered as persons.

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“It was a hard fight for women to gain both of those rights,” actor Levi Lewko said. “Nellie McClung helped blaze that trail.”

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The actors create live sound effects during the performance, adding a bit of fun to the show’s serious messages about fighting for and preserving women’s rights.

“It’s important to remember because we need to keep on doing that in the future,” actor Shengyun Lin said.

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The performers hope their production adds to the educational experience for people visiting the park.

“We’re trying to layer in history, but also make it a little bit spectacular,” playwright/director Trevor Matheson said. “There’s always that historical thread, so that people can walk away feeling that they picked up some history of the time.”

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The performance will happen daily at 12:30 p.m. in the Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women at Heritage Park.

The centre is housed in a replica of Nellie McClung’s Calgary home.

“Nellie’s story is always relevant,” Baker said. “And I think remembering her and remembering the work she’s done is always important.”

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