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Yo ho, a pirate’s life for CTG

A fundrais‘arrr’ for friends of Canyon Theatre Guild

Posted: October 14, 2009 9:04 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Barbi Davis, wife of Bill Davis, CTG board vice president, was on the lookout for other approaching sailors while guarding her treasure on the silent auction table.

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It was a swashbuckling good time at the Canyon Theatre Guild’s “Taste of Adventure” gala fundraiser with the theme: “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” More than 150 CTG and community members put their best peglegs forward for an evening to raise funds to benefit youth through the arts.

The event transformed the theater’s outdoor courtyard into the whimsical arena of Cutthroat Grotto, where a pirate ship stage was docked and ready to set sail for a night of fanciful folly.

Guests arrived in their finest pirate attire to partake in a taste of adventure to keep theater alive in the community. All hands were on-deck as guild actors played sly scallywags and wanton wenches, inviting attendees to leave the real world behind and board the evening’s maiden voyage of the HMS Adventure.

“Tonight is so much fun,” said CTG member Carol Rock. “This is the kind of event where you can be a grown-up and act like a kid. Who doesn’t want to be a pirate?”

Wenches filtered through the crowd, serving jugs filled with specialized rum concoctions fit for any captain and a table of mates.

Guests bartered for flatware, napkins and other dining niceties to ensure that servers didn’t hornswaggle them out of a plentiful feast.

Sipping from goblets of grog and indulging in a hearty three-course meal, guests made merriment as actors regaled the crowd with a series of theatrical skits.

“It is wonderful to be able to support the theater in our community and also be surrounded by such talented people,” said Roberta Harris. “I love the atmosphere here. It’s just a great place to be.”

Harris wasn’t the only guest who let her imagination sail the seven seas. The courtyard full of buccaneers, captains, commodores, admirals and first mates swayed in unison while singing the familiar shanty, “A Pirate’s Life for Me.”

Guests didn’t have to fly to Neverland to find magical mischief when actors dressed as Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinker Bell frolicked onto the stage.

Taking their positions athwartship, the characters delighted the audience during the famous battle between good and evil. Playing the mutinous Captain James Hook was Bill Davis, CTG board vice president.

“Dressing up is just part of what is great about tonight,” said Davis. “It’s important to raise funds to keep theater going for the kids of our community. I like playing Captain Hook as well.”

Davis sprang to the stage to meet his youthful counterpart and perform the famous battle between sword and pocketknife.

Cowering to his knees as Captain Hook, Davis gasped out the distinctive line, “I am a codfish,” and sent the audience into fits of roaring laughter.

Acting as the captain of his own ship was CTG president Randy Aronson.

“It’s so great to be here surrounded by friends who believe in the importance of theater,” said Aronson. “We just want to keep making the world a better place through theater and tonight helps that happen. There is really no place I’d rather be.”

Support was shown throughout the galley as guests perused the silent auction table adorned with abundant baskets of treasures.

A live auction featured pirate booty such as a yacht cruise for 12 shipmates and a day of golf for three at the Valencia Country Club.
Guild lovers had their chance to bid on prizes such as a private CTG production for 280 of the winner’s first mates, a personalized 12-inch gold star on the CTG’s Wall of Stars and the chance to score a walk-on part in a future show.

Guests also used their doubloons for lip-licking vittles such as fresh cherry and berry pies that were offered to the highest bidders by saucy maidens.

Sailing through a good time, mateys voted for best costumes among those who shivered their timbers for the prize of season theater tickets.

Duane Harte, a CTG board member, won best-dressed pirate while best scantily-clad wench was awarded to CTG actress and supporter, Leslie Berra.

“Everyone is having a really good time and letting themselves be taken away by fantasy,” said CTG actor, Bryan Watts. “Sometimes people just need to take a break from reality and theater offers them a chance to escape and go wherever they want to. That’s why it is so valuable to who we are.”

Since its inception in 1970, the CTG has steered toward its mission to “make the world a better place by entertaining, educating, enlightening and enriching the community through quality live theatre.”

Providing 10 full-scale productions each season, the CTG continues to provide a variety of theatrical experiences to theater-lovers as well as those who cannot afford the tickets to attend.

“It is like giving a gift by providing free tickets to those who are unemployed and have financial strain,” said TimBen Boydston, CTG executive director. “Theater raises the spirits and we want to help do that however we can.”

The guild also promotes theater involvement among youth in the community with a variety of programs such as the Theatre for Youth season of performances, CTG Kids workshops, STARS workshop for teens, and Adventures in Theatre for home-schooled students.

“Youth benefits greatly from exposure to cultural arts,” said Boydston. “Theater is a valuable tool in helping at-risk students find a positive outlet for expressing themselves.”

The guild is in its eighth year of providing workshops for the community’s youth.

“Theater benefits all of our lives in many ways,” said Aronson. “It is something we must hold onto for ourselves and the future. We are so thankful for our friends who believe in this and help us make it possible.”

For more information about the Canyon Theatre Guild and upcoming productions visit


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