MINTY: Circus show, dance on Surrey’s Culture Days calendar

The people at Surrey Arts Centre want us to participate in Culture Days weekend. "Culture – it’s not just for yogurt," states the catchy press release from SAC. Gotta love that. After all, cultured things are good for you. And Surrey citizens, take heart and be proud of your centre for arts and culture.

This is Canada’s fifth annual Culture Days weekend, and on Saturday, Sept. 27, the arts centre will host hands-on art-making, circus performers, quilting demonstrations, a break-dance battle, a book launch and a host of locallygrown performing artists. These free activities are sure to attract a large crowd.

Most of the scheduled activities are ongoing between 1 and 5 p.m., including the Just For Kicks school break-dance demo and crew battle and youth circus performers with Cirque Surrey. The lineup is subject to change, but check it out online at Surrey.ca/arts. For more information on Culture Days activities in and around Surrey, go to Bc.culturedays.ca/en. Surrey Arts Centre is nestled in the northeast corner of Bear Creek Park, at 88th Avenue and King George Boulevard – but you know that already, don’t you?

Don’t you think that a Canadian culture weekend is a perfect ending to the first week of public school in B.C.? Isn’t participating in arts and culture a learning experience in a social setting? Personal interaction is still the best method for learning about each other, our history and our cultural heritage. Celebrate it all this weekend.

One of my favourite methods of interacting in the arts is attending a live performance. Community theatre clubs put in huge amounts of time and effort to present for us great entertainment at an affordable price. Pick a play, go see it.

White Rock Players’ Club presents Noises Off!, by Michael Frayn, at Coast Capital Playhouse during October.

There is an art in writing a complete and informative press release and when you might be new to the job, it is a true learning experience. Rebekah MacEwan, new to the producer’s role says, "Can you believe I’m producing this show?!? We’ll see if I survive to opening! I am learning so many things I never knew as a performer." You see, it is all a learning experience.

Noises Off! is a hilarious play that presents the offstage antics of actors and what can go wrong with a play – things the audience never sees. Usually. This fun frolic stars Val Dearden, Krysle Hadlow, Vanessa Klein, Bryce Mills, Josh Fuller, Tom Gage, Sheila Greentree, Ken Fynn and Dan Tribe.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students, seniors and CCS members; all tickets are $10 for the preview shows on Oct. 8 and 9, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the box office at 604-536-7535 or visit Whiterockplayers.ca to buy tickets online.

Noises Off! kicks off the 70th season for the White Rock Players. They must have been doing something right all these years to have survived for so long. And since we are on an educational theme, the term "noises off" refers to noises that are not made onstage, but off. It could be a doorbell, thunder, a scream – whatever, just something for the stage manager to think about. Just think of what could happen if a siren wail is cued for noises off and the actor on stage is supposed to be answering a ringing phone.

Elsewhere, the New Westminster-based Vagabond Players open their new season with the comedy-thriller Murder by the Book. Surrey’s Harry Pering stars as the vitriolic thriller writer, Selwyn Piper, who delights in crossing swords with his venomous ex-wife, Imogen. Pering is a seasoned performer who has played in comedies, dramas and musicals with many Lower Mainland theatre groups. I know I have worked with him before, both onstage and off. All good.

Murder by the Book is directed by Jacqollyne Keath and stars Michelle Collier, Mike Parker, Alanna Winterly and Alex Ross. There are twists and turns to this black comedy, and lots of laughs – perfect for October. The show runs from Oct. 2 to 25 at Bernie Legge Theatre in Queens Park. Tickets range from $13 to $15, reservations via 604-521-0412 and Vagabondplayers.ca.

Metro Theatre, located in Vancouver, presents The 39 Steps until Oct. 11. This first show of Metro’s 52nd season is based on an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece. Four actors portray more than 150 characters in this spy-spoof production. It helps if you know the original Hitchcock but, just in case, here is the basic plot: A man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organization called The 39 Steps is hot on the man’s trail in a nationwide manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale. Tickets are $23 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. Every Wednesday, you can buy two tickets for $32, and every Thursday you can buy two tickets for $34. Tickets are available at 604-266-7191 or online at Tickets. metrotheatre.com.

melminty@telus.net

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