Winter fun at Cedar Ridge centre

A small theatre group is bringing bigtime fun to Scarborough this winter.

The Jumblies Theatre Group is participating in the Winter Arts festival at the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre until March 1.

During the festival, children and adults have the chance to make masks, try their hand at pottery, watch puppet shows and participate in a variety of performances.

Jumblies helps with the festival every week.  While it is the theatre group’s 10th year holding Winter Arts, this is only the third year the festivities have come to Scarborough.

Jumblies artistic director Ruth Howard says exploring Scarborough is something working with the group has allowed her to do.

“I like meeting people who I’d never meet otherwise, and going to places, including parts of Toronto that I’ve never actually been to,” Howard said.

Participants create  various art projects, including clay pots to cloth lanterns.

Every individual project will be compiled into one larger piece of art by the Jumblies group.

“It’s all part of a big picture,” Howard said. “What I like best is how it all fits together. It’s all going to be part of one big story and one big performance in less than a year from now.”

Winter Arts is free for all participants and includes meals for everyone. Last week featured fava beans, rice and flatbread. While there is no charge for the meal, all participants must contribute to help serve food. Right before dinner, every member dresses up in costume, breaks out into a song with a guitar and head out into the cold. They sing a song they call “a dinner song” and trek to the kitchen to pick up their food.

Many first-time visitors become regulars.

“I love all the people and the different types of people and seeing them over and over again, says Katherine Fleitas, a Jumblies group member. “And the fact that they even come back is exciting.”

Parents are encouraged to stay with their young ones and participate in the adult activities. Adults can take movement classes and work on their dramatic skills.

This year the Jumblies group is putting on an adaption of Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale” but they have put their own spin on the story.

Participants created ghostly blue and white papier mache masks that the actors will wear on stage. They have been rehearsing mini-performances that will be added to the big finale.

Winter Arts runs every Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre.

Observer Radio News: Some Scarborough residents put their creative minds to work during the Winter Arts festival. And as the Toronto Observer’s Chantelle Henriques reports, winter can be fun again.

[audio:http://ondemand.centennialcollege.ca/CCradio/news/CH_Winterarts_02182011.mp3]