You could easily call it a royal celebration for Regina’s Globe Theatre to help it mark 50 years.
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie made a trip to the Queen City to pay special tribute to the theatre. His Royal Highness gave a royal address to those who attended a 50th anniversary gala at the Conexus Arts Centre Wednesday evening.
“As with all anniversaries, these are opportunities to reflect on that journey and on that path to how far the theatre has come over that period of time,” remarked Prince Edward.
The Earl of Wessex joked about how he couldn’t think of anyone left to thank for the theatre’s success, since previous speakers had already thanked everyone else.
“Unless there’s a theatre cat of course,” he joked.
After making the audience laugh, he served them with appreciation, insisting it was them who helped make theatre thrive in Regina. Aside from spectators, he added, the performers, staff, volunteers, sponsors and donors, really the entire city itself have all contributed to half a century of entertainment.
“You’re all to give yourselves a very large pat on the back and say well done.”
The royal pair touched down on the tarmac of the Aerocentre by the Regina International Airport earlier in the day. They were greeted by Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield as soon as they stepped off the plane. A young girl presented Sophie with a bouquet of flowers.
Earl and Countess of Wessex getting off plane pic.twitter.com/4ET6FxIBoL
— Kevin Martel (@KevinMartel) June 22, 2016
Prince Edward — the youngest son of the Queen — then proceeded to inspect the Quarter Guard, made up of members of Moose Jaw’s Saskatchewan Dragoons.
Shortly after that, the two made their way to the Conexus where they were greeted by a number of dignitaries.
Prince Edward and wife Sophie arrive at Conexus Arts Centre pic.twitter.com/EAB0sGLulK
— Kevin Martel (@KevinMartel) June 23, 2016
“He’s here often. I’m hoping it’s a sign that he kind of likes it here,” said Premier Brad Wall on Prince Edward, who greeted the royal couple as they pulled up to the red carpet leading into the Conexus.
His Royal Highness was last here in 2014. The visit to Regina marks the first for Sophie. The premier spoke of the significance of having royalty come to the province.
“I think it’s a chance for Canadians, Saskatchewan people in this case, to kind of connect with not just with our history, but our democracy,” said Wall. “I think we’re reminded when members of the royal family come for a visit just how important the ties that we have are to the Commonwealth because of the democracy that it represents.”
Having high profile guests travel here to help celebrate 50 years of live performances makes the milestone all the more special for Globe Theatre.
“It’s a sign of regard and respect and it enables us to raise this celebration to another level,” said Ruth Smillie, the theatre’s artistic director and CEO. “[Prince Edward’s] focus is on shining a bright white light on the work that Globe Theatre does.”
Besides attending the celebration gala, Prince Edward and Sophie also took in a performance of “A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline”.
“He has stayed connected to us. He has remained keenly interested in what we’re doing. He wants to do whatever he can to support Globe Theatre so that’s pretty special,” added Smillie.
Prince Edward closed out his address by urging the community to celebrate the achievements of the theatre, recognize who made it happen and how the same recipe for success could be duplicated into the future.
“You are also setting a fantastic inspiration for the next generation. Let’s keep live theatre alive and well.”
Activities will continue Thursday for the royal pair. Her Royal Highness will head to the RCMP Heritage Centre in the morning for photos with Mounties. The events then shift to Government House with a number of happenings on a busy itinerary.
The public has a chance to see the royal couple at 2 p.m. Thursday when they take part in a walkabout on Ceremonial Drive.