The return of props with an attitude 

Foote steps forward again for this year’s Performance Series

Who: Norman Foote

Where: MY (Millennium) Place

When: Friday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $2/$9.99/$14

The programming team behind the MY Place/Whistler Arts Council 2004/05 Performance Series made a concerted effort not to repeat performances from last year’s series. But popular demand called for one exception.

And so, almost a year to the day, Vancouver-based children’s entertainer Norman Foote is returning to Whistler.

Equal parts comedian, puppeteer (although he eschews the term "puppet" for the hipper "props with an attitude"), musician, actor and grandpa, Foote’s whimsical silliness and honest charm appeals as much to the adults in the audience as it does the charges that inspired them to attend the show.

For Foote the music came first. Raised in Squamish, he listened to Hendrix, the Beatles and the Stones in his youth and dreamt of becoming a folk singer. That is, until a puppetry gig led him down the path toward more kid-focused entertaining.

He need look no further than the multiple awards bestowed on his 2002 album One Thousand Pennies for reassurance that he made the right move.

But even more important than awards is Foote’s mission as a children’s entertainer.

Alt-rockers Cracker once sang so eloquently: "What the world needs now is another folk singer, Like I need a hole in my head." But even these surly musicians would agree that what the world does need now is an engaging theatrical presence to make the performing arts come alive for youth. It’s essential in today’s world where kids are becoming more and more detached, cocooning with all the computers, video games and DVDs that they could ever want and more.

"It’s about celebrating the joy of live performance," Foote has expressed, showing kids a world away from the TV and helping build a sense of community.

It helps that Foote often enlists kids’ singing groups to join him onstage. Next Friday’s show will feature the lovely voices of the Whistler Children’s Chorus, a change from last year’s Tuneful Toes ensemble.

Also different this year is that Foote will only be in town for one night.

As previously mentioned, the show is part of this year’s MY Place/Whistler Arts Council 2004/05 Performance Series, which makes it eligible for the series’ youth program. The first 10 youth tickets purchased receive a discounted rate of $2. Subsequent youth tickets purchased will cost $9.99 with adult tickets static at $14.

For more information call 604-935-8410.

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