Latest museum exhibit builds on Surrey’s history, brick by brick

Surrey Museum is not a stuffy space with static displays. Well, OK, they aren’t all interactive but one of the current displays sure is: “LEGO: A Fraser Valley Odyssey.” This is a work of art, with 20,000 years of Fraser Valley history depicted with a million pieces of LEGO brick. What a great family-friendly exhibit – and what a marvel of creation. The museum is located at 17710 56A Ave., in Cloverdale, and is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit runs to Sept. 19 – and you just might discover more at the museum than LEGO.

Operators of Surrey Museum are guardians of our history and cultural fabric. It’s terrific that the City of Surrey lends its support to the museum. Funding these facilities is not inexpensive, and we can occasionally acknowledge our appreciation to the city government for its financial support. It is up to us – all of us – to make the occasional visit to the museum to show our appreciation.

Fraser Valley Gilbert Sullivan is another Surrey institution that has historical significance. This amateur community theatre club has virtually knocked itself out for more than 30 years in bringing musical theatre to the Lower Mainland. The productions have included the GS operettas (or comic light opera for those who prefer that term), Broadway musicals, youth theatre and, of course, the ever-popular traditional English pantomime.

The last few years have been less than rewarding in revenue for this society. Declining ticket sales for productions and increased costs have hit hard. But president Mike Balser says, “We’re not dead yet,” and hopes to get a sense of rejuvenation at the upcoming AGM in August. Right now, it is full-steam ahead for the society, and its most immediate project is to build a float for White Rock Sea Festival’s 28th annual Torch Light Parade, on Sunday, Aug. 2 starting at 9 p.m. on Marine Drive.

The float will represent Jack and the Beanstalk – the group’s upcoming pantomime, scheduled to hit the stage at Surrey Arts Centre this fall; show auditions will be held at the end of August. Check the group’s website for more details, at Fvgssociety.wix.com/fvgss. Kids are more than welcome to audition and join in the joy of performing in musical theatre. Volunteers are needed – I am making giant leaves for the giant beanstalk, and I know I need help. If you’d like to be involved with the float, or get aboard the good ship Gilbert

Sullivan, email Mike at fvgssinformation@gmail.com. Just a warning: this involvement with theatre can be addictive.

Last week I took in both Theatre Under the Stars productions, “Hairspray” and “Oliver: The Musical.” Both are great productions and totally worth the traffic-jammed trip in to Stanley Park. If you decide to go see these productions, be prepared to leave plenty of driving time, use bug repellent, bring a jacket – and see many actors who started their careers with Fraser Valley Gilbert Sullivan Society and/or The Young People’s Opera Society.

It’s a sure sign we are doing something right in Surrey.

“Hairspray” involves Surrey talents Michelle Bardach, Brianna Clark and Emily Matchette, while “Oliver” features music director Kerry O’Donovan, choreographer Keri Minty and Adam Olgui.

It’s possible. Start in the children’s chorus of a GS production and make a career. Or just enjoy an amateur career in the performing arts. All good.

See you at the torchlight parade.

melminty@telus.net

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