Last week I mentioned how difficult it could be to make a living as an actor. Joseph Kwan read the article and commented, "Knowing more about the challenges faced by members of the arts and culture community, the public will become more appreciative and supportive. You and the Now newspaper are doing a great service to the community. Keep up the good work." Thanks for the comments, Joseph. We try.
Although recent announcements from the government indicate gaming funds are about to be reinstated to the arts, there is still a financial challenge of putting on theatrical productions. Patronage - private or government - really helps. Gosh, that didn't sound very forceful, did it? Patronage to the arts is as old as civilization. The people with power and money certainly do direct the outcome. Take a quick peek at some art history, you'll get the idea. It's not the topic for this week. So moving along, let's look at some more success stories in the performing arts. Everybody loves a winner.
Peninsula Productions has been shortlisted for the Best New Business award by South Surrey/White Rock Chamber of Commerce.
The other nominees are Blue Frog Studios and Vanilla Clothing. Nice endorsement.
Peninsula Productions has presented Cushion Concerts for Kids at First United Church in White Rock. These kid-friendly concerts are both entertaining and educational. The next one is Explorer Idol on Saturday morning (Feb. 18, info at tickets.surrey.ca). Bring a cushion for this 45-minute show.
Planned for this summer at Coast Capital Playhouse is Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie. This is one of the longest running plays in the history of theatre - I guess that means it is popular. It's another event staged by Peninula Productions, which is run by Wendy Bollard and Geoff Giffin. Auditions for Mousetrap are held soon for the July run; for info, email info@ peninsulaproductions.org.
Surrey Youth Theatre Company (SYTCO) is in its 15th season. The company consists of young musical theatre people, ages nine to 16. This year the company's production is A Little Princess, at Surrey Arts Centre on March 2 and 3 (at 7: 30 p.m.) and March 4 (2: 30 p.m.). The play is based on the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Secret Garden. The appealing story revolves around Sara Crewe, who is forced to submit to a difficult headmistress. Things get worse for Sara when her father's bankruptcy and death leave her impoverished and at the mercy of the jealous headmistress, until the family fortune is restored.
SYTCO is directed by Susan Pendleton; we were both at the same university, although not at the same time. Seems almost like family, though. Tickets are $16.75; phone 604-501-5566 or visit tickets.surrey.ca.
New Westminster's Royal City Musical Theatre Company has an outstanding record of presenting lavish musical theatre fare. This is not professional theatre, although some of the leading stars are Equity professional working actors just trying to make a living (see paragraph one). Most of the cast and crew are volunteers. Now in its 23rd year, Royal City Musical Theatre is one of the most popular musical theatre producers in Canada. This is its third year offering musical theatre workshops leading up to its spring production. Past workshops have included a cheerleading session in conjunction with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and a "roping" workshop in conjunction with last year's The Will Rogers Follies.
This year's show is Hello Dolly, and the workshop is "ballroom dancing" with So You Think You Can Dance dance instructor Michel Guimond. Oh, wow! The workshop is Sunday, Feb. 19 from 4: 30 to 6 p.m. at Massey Theatre. On the expansive stage there, participants will learn the tricks of the ballroom trade from this Canadian dance treasure. It's open to RCMT members and the general public, 13 years and up - to participate or to watch! Registration is free if you are a member of RCMT, and $35 for non-members. The place will be packed.
Save some money and join RCMT for only $20. Gee, what a ploy to get new members.
But you do get the free ballroom workshop and also discounts on tickets to Hello Dolly, plus other perks. I think it entitles you to call yourself a patron of the arts as well. Lovely. For info and registration, call 604-521-5050.