I overheard some derogatory comments recently regarding the lack of arts and culture in Surrey. Seriously. That notion is so outdated. Get over it. Just a few short years ago Surrey was one of the designated Cultural Capitals of Canada. With dedicated community groups, and the assistance of arts councils (Surrey and White Rock), the city officials, and programs in the schools, Surrey has a lot to offer in the arts department. So no more Surrey bashing, OK? If you think there is nothing on offer, and that delivery of the arts in Surrey is a problem (and, of course, it can always be better), then here is a thought for you: If you aren't part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem.
There were certainly several events, concerts, shows and exhibitions over the last month that lacked audience and/or participation. If this trend continues, then a vibrant arts and culture scene is just not possible. Check out Surrey Little Theatre, Surrey Arts Centre, Semiahmoo Arts, Arts Council of Surrey, the Bell Performing Arts Centre, the Wheelhouse Theatre at Earl Marriott Secondary, Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Peninsula Productions and Royal Canadian Theatre Company. And this is just the start of the list. I'll give you a little sample just to get started.
Songs on the Spot is a program beginning at Surrey Arts Centre on Jan. 28. The concept is to sing, laugh and feel joyful. I like it.
Very experienced program instructor Alan Marriott will coach you to create instant songs, three-part harmony and backup vocals. It may sound impossible, especially when singing experience is not required.
The program runs for six weeks, costs $100, and you need to register by Jan. 14. A free, introductory session is offered on Monday, Jan. 21 from 7 to 9: 15 p.m. Although the introductory session is free, participants must register by Jan. 14 to book their spot (www. surrey.ca/register or 604-501-5100).
So maybe you are not ready to sing, laugh and be joyful - but maybe you know a young actor wannabe who would greatly benefit from some acting classes being offered at Surrey Arts Centre. Preteen Acting Extreme will run for eight weeks beginning Jan. 22 (4: 30 to 6 p.m., $135). This program, led by instructor Lisa Bunting, is designed for children age eight to 12.
Bunting also has a program for teens (age 12 to 16) that includes theatre games and exercises, cold reads, monologues and scene study. Under her expert guidance, students will rehearse scenes and create compositions to be showcased in a final performance for family and friends. Much Ado About Acting will also run for eight weeks, beginning Jan.
22 (7 to 9 p.m., $175, info at www.surrey. ca/register or 604-501-5100). Advance registration is necessary as minimum class size must be reached one week prior to the start date. Take advantage of this excellent class.
So you made it this far in the column. Good. Or did I lose you when I mentioned Surrey was a designated Cultural Capital of Canada?
Elsewhere, the Irish Club Of White Rock, in association with Semiahmoo Arts, is hosting a series of Irish Poetry Nights, to be held the third Wednesday of each month at Slainte By the Pier Gastrobar, on Marine Drive. Proprietor Jack Sixsmith, who is also a devotee of Irish poetry, will kick off the series on Jan. 16 at 7: 30 p.m. by leading an evening dedicated to his favourite Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh. Volunteers from the Irish Club will assist with readings and also present their favourite poets in subsequent months. The readings are intended for anyone wishing to discover and enjoy Ireland's poets, delivered in Irish accents and in the comfortable ambience of an Irish pub. To get involved, contact Ray Fynes at 604-542-3667.