MELANIE MINTY: Big boost needed for Culture Days

Also: Costume sale, theatre gala at White Rock's playhouse this month

Costumes from White Rock Players’ Club shows (such as its 2012 panto “Pinocchio

SURREY — What a rush. Summer suddenly ended, school is back in session and we can barely catch a breath before there are even more important decisions to be made – like selecting a new federal government. Oh, of course there are other events before the election that should not escape our attention, like Culture Days at the end of September.

Culture Days is a collaborative, Canada-wide volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

This year’s Culture Days weekend will take place on Sept. 25, 26 and 27. Surrey’s team of cultural curators do have several events planned but, at this time, I am finding it difficult to find out quick info for you.

Last year, Surrey was host to the provincial grand opening for Culture Days, and I was disappointed at the turnout for the ceremonies. It was a big deal, well executed, and yet there seemed to be minimal interest. Seriously. It was a fantastic event at the new city hall, which should have been packed. Maybe the message just didn’t get out there somehow.

I see glitzy TV ads for Culture Days being broadcast, so it is being advertised. It almost outdoes the political campaigns. Almost. And here I am going to question the amount of dollars spent on this advertising.

With many cultural organizations literally dying due to lack of funding, perhaps the ad-campaign dollars could be better spent. Culture Days are, after all, touted as a volunteer movement, so put touting individual events back to the volunteers. Perhaps some jigging can be done to better assist these volunteer, community-based arts groups. Don’t get hostile on me; Culture Days is a great idea. Maybe it just needs some rethought on how the package is funded, and whether we really do see the benefit of having “cultural ambassadors.” Just asking the question.

Meanwhile, our community theatre groups are making the most of their assets by putting them up for sale. White Rock Players’ Club is having a huge sale of theatre props, costumes and more on Sunday, Sept. 13 at its Coast Capital Playhouse, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be costumes from pantos past – great for Halloween – plus seasonal decorations, set-building items and set decorations. This is a mother lode!  White Rock has one of the finest costume collections you are likely to find.

This is also an opportunity for other community or school theatre groups to get in on the sale. Theatre groups are being given the opportunity to shop early (starting at 9 a.m.) to glean the goodies they may need for their season. Contact Andrea Olund at to arrange this “early bird” shopping. This is more than a yard sale. I have seen backstage at the playhouse.  If you can’t find what you are looking for at this sale, you have arrived too late.

Most of the community theatre clubs participate in the Community Theatre Coalition, a volunteer society founded to recognize and honour the excellence in community theatre. The one event of the year is the gala when awards are handed out. What can I say, it is a party – food, drink, entertainment and trophies. It’s a great event, and an opportunity to connect and network with other like-minded individuals.

This year, the CTC gala night is on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Coast Capital Playhouse – same place as the big sale the previous weekend. Last year, we were treated to “The Full Mountie” as entertainment. Yep, full – Mountie hats and all. Tickets are $30 online at



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