Theatre troupe featuring Surrey pioneers adds its first South Asian character to cast (video)

Actor sought for Sarjit 'Mac' Singh portrayal in award-winning The Re-Enactors

Sarjit “Mac” Singh (left) and Bob Bose (right) receive agricultural awards from Alan Davidson at a Cloverdale Jay Cee Club meeting in 1950.

SURREY — The city’s award-winning Re-Enactors troupe will have a new face this summer.

The character of Sarjit “Mac” Singh will be added to the six-person cast for interactive performances at festivals and community events.

Singh’s character will become the first South Asian in the troupe, which brings to life some notable pioneers from Surrey’s past.

(Scroll down to see troupe’s promo video)

Singh was among the first South Asian residents of Surrey to own a commercial farming operation, Cloverdale Produce, on 168th Street, south of Nicomekl River.

This year, program co-ordinators with Surrey Heritage Services sought to add a South Asian character to the performance troupe, given the city’s large South Asian population.

“We started looking around, researching people, and Mac Singh’s name popped up immediately in the historical records,” Ryan Gallagher, Surrey’s manager of heritage admin and facilities, told the Now.

“We had a photograph of him in 1950 posing with Bob Bose, when they won an agriculture award together, and so that was interesting,” Gallagher continued. “He was 19 or 20 years old at the time, and of course Bob Bose went on to become Surrey’s mayor. And who was the other guy in the photo? So we dug a little deeper and found that Mac’s family had been in Surrey since the 1930s.”

Existing Re-Enactors characters are reeve (mayor) T.J. Sullivan, carpenter Eric Anderson, teacher Mary Jane Shannon, war veteran Zennosuke Inouye, store owner Elsie Ivy Marshall and physician Dr. Frederick Sinclair.

In 2015, the troupe won a program excellence award from the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association.

The search is on to find an actor to portray Singh, who died in 1978 at age 49.

An audition notice posted at Vancouveractorsguide.com says Singh was a “tall, strong and opinionated man” who, in addition to running Cloverdale Produce, was chair of the Surrey Damming and Dyking Commission and an advisor to the Minster of Agriculture in Victoria.

“He was a Surrey trailblazer, marrying a Caucasian woman in 1956 and challenging race barriers both personally and professionally,” reads the audition notice.

Singh’s wife, Gerrie, said she met her future husband in the early 1950s.

“I came from Holland and we, me and my family, started working on the farm,” Gerrie told the Now.

“I married my boss,” she added with a laugh.

Without Singh’s character yet cast, The Re-Enactors performed last weekend at Surrey International Children’s Festival, at Bear Creek Park.

Following rehearsals, Singh’s character will be added to the troupe for performances later this month, possibly during Surrey’s Doors Open event at Surrey Museum & Archives on June 18.

The rate of pay for the chosen actor is $205 per day, according to the audition notice. The application deadline is June 3.

“Having more characters that represent the cultural makeup of the city is important, so we’re really excited to launch this character,” Gallagher said.

For more details about the Re-Enactors, including a performance schedule and video, visit Surrey.ca/culture-recreation/11469.aspx.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

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