MELANIE MINTY: I’m over the moon about these community plays

Community theatre productions don’t get city help with promotion or space

Neil Minor in 'Red Rock Diner

SURREY — Did you see the eclipse of the super moon? It was a pretty spectacular example of special effects lighting done entirely by the universe’s laws of physics. No CGIs needed, no technicians, no lighting guy with a follow spot – just an act of nature that occurs every now and again. Kind of rare, and you may not see many in your lifetime.

It takes a lot of manpower, both creative and technical, to get a show on the stage. That is the beginning. At the end of it all, there has to be an audience. And how do you get an audience? For renters at the Surrey Civic Theatres (Surrey Arts Centre, Newton Cultural Centre, Centre Stage), the city used to print a hard-copy calendar of theatre events. This was mailed out to an extensive list. Alas, this calendar is no more, and now we must rely on digital advertising.

Of course, the city wants you to rent their theatre spaces, and they do offer some promotional support – it just no longer includes a hard-copy calendar. If you rent one of these theatres, your event will be posted on the event page on the City of Surrey/Surrey Civic Theatres website, listed on the digital screens in the lobby of the arts centre, and a few other things. So you will have to do more promotions yourself when renting space from the city, just like all the community theatre groups have to do without city help.

The next show up at the Surrey Arts Centre is “Red Rock Diner,” the story of Red Robinson and his rise to rock ‘n’ roll fame in Vancouver. Fun show. This is an Arts Club production. This is professional theatre and everyone gets paid for the job they do. Fantastic. “Red Rock Diner” is at Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage from Oct. 14 to 24, with a special performance on opening night. Arrive early for appetizers and perhaps schmooze with Red himself. Tickets are available at 604-501-5566.

But let me also give a leg up to some community theatre productions, as they don’t get city help with promotion or space.

Vagabond Players, who call the Bernie Legge theatre in New Westminster home, open their season with “Other Desert Cities.” Set in Palm Springs, this powerful drama of politics, passion and family secrets was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The show runs from Oct. 1 to 24; reserve tickets at 604 521-0412.

White Rock Players open their 71st season with “Death of a Salesman,” by Arthur Miller. This is one of the greats in theatre. Kudos to The White Rock Players for mounting this challenging classic at Coast Capital Playhouse from Oct. 7 to 24, reservations at 604-521-0412.

Langley Players – they also have their own non-civic-owned theatre space – opens their 46th season with “Dinner With Friends,” opening Oct. 22. This is also a Pulitzer Prize winner, and is about “the path you choose, the millions you don’t and the detours that make it worth the ride.”

Surrey Little Theatre’s season-opener is “Calendar Girls,” also opening Oct. 22. There will be six middle-aged ladies (almost) baring their breasts for this production – could be why there are already some sold-out nights. It’s really part of this powerful and meaningful story, not just for a promotion trick. Reserve tickets at 604-521-0412.

Dare I say it – super moon, move over. You are being eclipsed.

melminty@telus.net

 

 

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