MELANIE MINTY: Old-school skills are still relevant in today’s world

Surrey Skills Share Fair set for Oct. 2 at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre

Artist Daniel Tibbits

SURREY — Well, we knew it had to happen sometime.  The PNE, end of summer, more rain and back to school. I hear that sending your child back to school is financially stressful. Gotta have the right backpack, lunchpack and clothing. And, apparently even the little kids “must have” seriously high-tech toys. Oh, sorry, not toys, make that high-tech digital devices. I saw a special notebook with a pen that translates printed word from notebook to typing on your iPad. Needs an app, of course. But seriously, can’t you just use a pencil and push it across a paper page? Don’t know how?

South Surrey’s Historic Stewart Farm is holding a heritage-themed, family-friendly event called “Back to School.” It’s happening this Saturday, Sept. 3, from noon to 3 p.m., and admission is free. Give your kids a taste of what “real” school was like without the virtual digital world. Imagine pioneer life at the turn of the 19th century with a visit to this 1894 farmhouse, at 13723 Crescent Rd. It’s always a good thing to remember how to do things the old-fashioned way.

Certainly we all need a certain skill set to survive in this modern age. Basic language, reading and writing skills are important basics. But beyond the basics, there is a whole big world of useful skills that we could use – even if we don’t know it yet.

The third annual Surrey Skill Share Fair takes place on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, 13458 107A Ave. I mentioned this event in last week’s column, but the organizers still seek more presenters. David Dalley asked me if I could show people how to tap dance. Ah, so flattering to be asked, but I am a student – still learning. I am willing to share this skill, but I know there are other folks out there with serious dance skills who could volunteer at this event.

The fair is an informal community-led event that provides a comfortable setting for people to share skills and learn from others. Presenters may choose from a variety of formats for sharing, including hosting an information table, running a workshop or being a wandering performer or teacher. Presenters will receive a free lunch for their volunteer time. Workshop proposal can be submitted online at Surreyskillshare.ca, or email info@surreyskillshare.ca.

Confirmed workshops and presenters for this year are George Zaklan (storytelling and working a butter urn), Daniel Tibbits (oil painting), Linda Prai (local medicinal plants), Leah Murray (making a “digital shoebox” for photos), Florence Chan (mindfulness meditation, walking and eating), Cristina Teixeira (turning video and audio cassettes into digital files), Myriam Dostert (knitting), Dr. Thomas Schmitz (beekeeping), Soundscape a cappella chorus (singing), Mike Mcmanus (using open-source Linux software), Tricia Keith (how to make a remembrance lantern), Lily Dalley (using recycled clothing and a hand-crank sewing machine to make things), Fraser Valley Makers (art, clothing, robots, aircraft, software and more) and Ana David (how to plan community events).

This personal contact and sharing is what builds strong communities and gives us all the opportunity to explore and discover new ideas. We should all take the time to learn a new skill that is actually an old-fashioned skill, in a sense. You know, living without electronics.

Naked Stage Productions Society is a new theatre company with an old skill: live theatre. Naked Stage is keeping costs down by eliminating sets and costumes. Rehearsal time is also reduced, as the actors read their scripts. This still requires some skill, but this could be a very enticing method of preserving live theatre.

The first production is “Any Wednesday,” at Newton Cultural Centre (13530 72nd Ave., Surrey) on Friday, Sept. 16 and Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee show also planned on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. The actors bring the story to life with just their voices.  The cast includes Deanna Gray, Mary Ellen Shimell, Croy Jenkins and George Stone.

RELATED STORY: Theatre/music lovers bring ‘Naked Stage’ to Newton Cultural Centre.

Show tickets are available through Brownpapertickets.com and at the door for $15. Parking at Newton Cultural Centre is limited, but it’s easy enough to park in the big parking area of Newton Crossing, to the east on 72nd Avenue, across King George Boulevard.

The society plans on a performance every two months and will consider local or other Canadian playwrights. The goal of the society is to establish scholarships for Surrey drama students in 2017. What a concept. Passing on the skills.

melminty@telus.net

 

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