Sloboda providing musical accompaniment for Rosebud performance

Sylvan Laker Kaitlyn Sloboda, a student of Rosebud School of the Arts (RSA), is performing during the school’s Christmas musical

Kaitlyn Sloboda

Kaitlyn Sloboda

Sylvan Laker Kaitlyn Sloboda, a student of Rosebud School of the Arts (RSA), is performing during the school’s Christmas musical ‘The Other Side of the Pole’.

She takes on the enormous — and originally daunting — role of playing musical accompaniment on the piano for the entire production.

“Being the kind of person who would take on anything, I agreed to look over the score,” said Sloboda. “As I was playing through it, my thoughts were ‘What am I thinking? I can’t do this!’ But I kept going. I powered through the difficult notes and complicated songs, and now I’m stunned that I can play through these songs with ease. God has given me a grand opportunity to be in a show that allows me to explore all that I love; singing, dancing, playing piano, and acting. It’s a rare thing and I’m truly grateful.”

With characters named Bauble, Sparkle and Marzipan and a set painted like a giant candy cane, this year’s Christmas musical promises to be a feast for all the senses. Accompanied by a wide variety of musical interludes ranging from ballads to rap songs, the play follows two friends, Sandy and Willie, as they unravel the mystery of why Christmas has been banned in their little town of Split Hoof — and what it might take to bring it back!

Rosebud School of the Arts is a post-secondary educational institution that offers conservatory training in theatre and music. Its unique relationship with Rosebud Theatre allows students the opportunity to apprentice in productions with Alberta’s largest rural professional theatre. As part of the curriculum at RSA, second-year students present a play and are involved in all aspects of production: acting, singing and dancing in a main role and also working in an area of technical theatre: props, costumes, sets or lights.

In the director’s chair is Deanne Bertsch, a well-known Rosebud Theatre actress and choreographer who has directed many student productions in the past.

“Deanne’s prowess as a storyteller and choreographer brings this story to life in a whole new way,” said Paul Muir, Education Director. “She has a visual language that is incredibly engaging to watch. And to top it off, Deanne is so good with the students. She expects a lot, but she is also a great encourager, and the students respond to that. Deanne creates a magical energy in the rehearsal hall.”

That magic will surely make its way on stage. “This is a wonderful show for everyone to see,” says Bertsch. “It is about Santa and the elves and Rudolph, but it is also about the true meaning of Christmas and how there is hope for reconciliation and forgiveness in all of our relationships.”

Said Sloboda, a 2011 graduate from H. J. Cody School, “I’m always struck, as I watch the action unfold from the piano, how much family means when the holidays roll around. I hope people take from this play a fun, vibrant reminder of how important our loved ones are. Add that amazing message to the fun, colourful, romping musical numbers and characters and it’s an over-the-moon (or pole) adventure!”

The Other Side of the Pole plays Nov. 29 to Dec. 21 Thursdays – Saturdays (excluding select dates) at 4:30 p.m. on the Rosebud Studio Stage.

For tickets call the Rosebud Theatre Box Office 1-800-267-7553 or visit for more information.