MINTY: Honouring heroes, both the obvious and unsung kinds

Melanie Minty' s arts column is published every week in the Now. She can be reached at

Melanie Minty' s arts column is published every week in the Now. She can be reached at

We are looking for heroes, people we can admire, emulate or take inspiration from. There are obvious heroes and unsung heroes. We know about the obvious ones. They make the news, and are often awarded some type of honour, medal or other public recognition.

My obvious hero is Ballet BC artistic director Emily Molnar. She was just appointed to the Order of Canada for her creative contributions to dance and for her exemplary leadership of Ballet BC. The appointment recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement and contributions to Canada

Director of Ballet BC since 2009, she has advanced contemporary ballet as a living, breathing art form that speaks to today’s audiences and has grown Ballet BC’s reputation as one of the most important contemporary ballet companies in the world.

Ballet BC has had some rocky times since 2009 and the company was nearly dissolved. Vancouver is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world. It deserves a world-class ballet company.

PICTURED: Emily Molnar, Ballet BC’s artistic director.

I am very glad Ballet BC has not only survived but thrived. Congratulations to Emily and Ballet BC.

Unsung heroes are more difficult to discover. There are so many people deserving of public recognition for their work and efforts – especially in the arts community. Some receive awards, for sure. Some just go unsung. I want to address that situation.

I have a hero in mind.

Ellie Parento. Ellie devotes her heart and soul to Surrey Little Theatre. She has served as president, producer and newsletter generator. That doesn’t even cover the jobs she does. Others stand on the stage, take the trophies, and accept awards. Ellie is the lady behind the curtain most people never see. Yes, there are many at SLT who also make valuable contributions. But Ellie is my hero.

This week, the cast and crew of SLT’s last production, The Last Lifeboat, are at Theatre BC Mainstage competition. Theatre BC has been a parent organization for community theatre across the province since 1932.

It annually hosts “Destination Mainstage,” a competition amongst community theatre companies, each July. It is the largest provincial theatre festival of its kind in Canada.

This year, the competition is in Chilliwack. Workshops are part of the week long experience, as well as adjudications.

The object is to improve the product, and make amateur theatre a rewarding experience for everyone.

I expect The Last Lifeboat will do quite well in this province-wide competition.  On the local scene, it garnered nine nominations in the Community Theatre Coalition awards. So those people involved with the production will get their shout out and recognition.

Smile Ellie. Well done. And thanks for being one of my heroes.

Do you have some unsung heroes? Want to get them some recognition?  There is the Canadian Walk of Fame Unsung Hero Award (nominations can be made on line), or visit and nominate your unsung hero.

Or at the very least, give them a shout out. We all need heroes.

Melanie Minty’ s arts column is published every week in the Now. She can be reached at

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