Holiday favourites including Santa, the Grinch and characters from the Muppets Christmas will join SD62 students in Keeping PACE With Christmas, which hits the stage this weekend. (Photo contributed)

Christmas characters past and present keep the PACE

Theatre academy a West Shore staple

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

After all these years, keeping pace with the theatre company she launched hasn’t gotten old for Sandy Webster-Worthy.

“I love it more with each passing year,” Webster-Worthy said regarding her role as director of the PACE (Program for Academic and Creative Enrichment) Musical Theatre Academy. She started PACE more than 30 years ago as part of her work with the Sooke School District.

The aim was to creative an environment where children could get involved in theatre, song and dance, and take part in every production. “The focus has always been to empower kids to perform so they learn what it takes to be part of a team and develop the confidence and gain the experience being on stage develops,” she said. “It really takes a community to do this [and] a complex team of about 50 parent volunteers. We’ve been fortunate to have parents that have stayed involved for more than 20 years. It’s their way to give back to the community.”

While the host of productions has drawn a loyal following that flocks to many of PACE’s productions, Webster-Worthy said the fact that so many of the students involved stay with the program through all of their school years, no matter what grade they started, is gratifying.

The present incarnation of the group has been hard at work preparing for Keeping PACE With Christmas, which Webster-Worthy promises is “Christmas from top to bottom.”

In addition to Santa Claus, other favourites like the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman and characters from the Muppets Christmas, take part in the show that includes classic Christmas carols, modern favourites and comedic moments.

“It’s very fast-paced,” she noted. “There’s something for everyone and it should appeal to all ages. I really like the group of kindergarten kids singing “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.’”

Keeping PACE With Christmas runs Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., Dec. 3 at 2 p.m., Dec. 7 and 9 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m., with all shows at the Isabelle Reader Theatre in Spencer Middle School at 1026 Goldstream Ave. Tickets can be purchased at the Westshore Centre for Learning and Training at 101-814 Goldstream Ave., or by calling 250-391-9002.

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