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Kitchen party. 1952. Newfie style

It's hard to predict what will happen next week at Impromptu: A Kitchen Party.

It's hard to predict what will happen next week at Impromptu: A Kitchen Party.

But one thing is for sure: You'll be greeted with a warm hug at the door to console the loss of your relative/friend/co-worker Joey McCann, a fictional character who likely drowned while fishing off the coast of Newfoundland in 1952.

In fact, anything can transpire during the three-hour "fake wake" - a fundraiser for Coquitlam's Place des Arts arts eduction programs that's sponsored in part by The Tri-City News.

Costumed attendees in flannel shirts, toques and plaid party dresses could be mingling or taking in the eulogies for poor Uncle Joey or "scuffing the floor" when a group of musicians burst into song.Or you could be suddenly surrounded by dancers kicking up their heels during a sea shanty or Celtic jig.

That's what Impromptu is all about: a performance-based spectacle that aims for elements of surprise.

Michael Fera, Place des Arts' program events co-ordinator and the brainchild of the Impromptu kitchen party theme, said they'll be lots of fun going on all night."It's going to be a kitchen party like nobody's seen it," he said. "And, the best part is, we're going to move you along with the story and make you feel like you're part of the family."

Joey's clan will be played by professional actors who will mourn - and roast - the poor fisherman. Place des Arts faculty and students are in the cast, too, as musicians and dancers.

Fera said much of the party will be concentrated in the centre's Atrium, which will be transformed into a giant kitchen, while the Leonore Peyton Salon will be a rec room where the eulogies will be delivered by actors and attendees brave enough to stand before a mic and make up a story about Joey."People can sit back and watch it all unfold, or they can get up and say a few words about how they knew him," Fera said.

To top it off, attendees can sample some catered Atlantic grub such as halibut cakes and can even join the screech-in. That's where "come-from-aways" are made honourary Newfies by taking a shot of screech (rum) and kiss a cod.

As well, there'll be a live and silent auction, and a raffle with prizes that include trips to Jasper and Haida Gwaii.

Fera said he wanted a kitchen party for the second annual Impromptu because it's "completely different from last year" when Place des Arts turned into a speak-easy with men donning 1920s threads and women sporting flapper dresses.

That event was sold-out and collected $15,000 for the centre's scholarships and bursaries program.

And to add to the kitchen party authenticity, Fera said he's consulting with one of the best-known Newfies in town: Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Diane Thorne. "She's helping us with the finer details," Fera said.

Meanwhile, this year's Impromptu also includes a special after-party for 30 guests who purchase a VIP ticket. They will enjoy entertainment from 10 p.m. to midnight with the cast and crew that includes fiddler Rosie Carver of Blackthorn, a Vancouver-based Celtic folk group.

Tickets for Impromptu: A Kitchen Party on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. are $50 or $80 for VIP, which includes reserved parking, a drink ticket, admission to the after-party and a late-night snack. For more information, visit Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave.), call 604-664-1636 or go online at

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