MELANIE MINTY: Painters bring ‘peace’ to Newton; Dunbar back in Surrey for theatre ‘Intensive’

SURREY — People create visual art for many reasons. An artist may want to capture the encompassing environment, or maybe reinterpret what is seen by others. Art can be used in advertising and, of course, is always an avenue for expression and promoting a cause.

The Friends of the Grove, under the direction of Katheren Szabo, will be breaking out free art supplies for everyone on June 27 as part of the Surrey-wide Doors Open community event. Open Doors for Peace at the Grove – that stand of very large trees adjacent to the Newton Wave Pool – is a project open to all ages and artists. The idea is to come together and paint posters or other artwork that promotes peace. There will be music as well provided by the Music Therapists for Peace.

Friends of the Grove is something that grew out of a need to improve the Newton neighbourhood. Talk to your neighbour, be part of a project and learn to be part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.  OK, so you don’t do artwork, live or work in Newton, and would rather spend a sunny Saturday at the beach. Just wanted you to know that there are people out there who do care and put in lots of volunteer time and effort to make this part of the world a better place. Friends of the Grove, you make a difference. Thank you.

Getting young people involved in positive activities is a huge step in making better neighbourhoods. My favourite positive activity is musical theatre training. Great for any age, but the sooner in life you learn self- confidence, integrity and how to work on a team, the easier the road of life becomes. Trust me on this one.

Once again this summer, Surrey Arts Centre is offering The Arts Club Musical Theatre Intensive. There are still spots left, but you have to register before June 26. Commit. The cost is $499 for two weeks of intensive training.

Young performers (aged 12 to 16) who are at a beginner to intermediate level will spend two weeks learning voice, dance, and acting techniques from industry professionals. Led by program director Peter Jorgensen, the Surrey Intensive helps talented students increase their confidence and take their skills to the next level. The sessions take place from July 6 to 17 (Monday to Friday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a real boot camp. Kids will work hard. And long.

I know some parents like to send their young artists and dancers to somewhere more exotic, like Banff, for a summer session. Many more parents can’t afford this luxury. So yay! Here is a great program that has produced professional performers, like Kayla Dunbar, who not only grew up in Surrey but is back to “camp” this summer as choreographer. For more information (do it now) at Surrey.ca/theatre.

For summer entertainment, Peninsula Productions is presenting The 39 Steps, the absurdly enjoyable, gleefully theatrical riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film. Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre. More than 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an on-stage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers and some good old-fashioned romance is already a sure-fire hit.

The company has engaged Matthew Bissett to direct this outstanding cast. Cory Haas stars as the fatuously handsome Richard Hannay. Haas is an actor, director and the artistic director of Stages Theatre Co. Rounding out the rest of the cast are Laura Caswell (an award-nominated actor who has worked in theatres across the country), Ashley O’Connell (last seen in the Arts Club’s smash hit Spamalot) and Peninsula favourite Ben Odberg.

The 39 Steps previews on Wednesday, July 8 and runs through to Saturday, July 25 at White Rock’s Coast Capital Playhouse. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors (plus service charges), via 604 536-7535 or Peninsulaproductions.org. Once again, trust me. It may not be Shakespeare, but it is a brilliant piece of theatre – and fun.

melminty@telus.net

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