MINTY: In the name of theatre, Coast Capital steps up with cash in White Rock

Credit union bucks up for another naming-rights deal at Playhouse

Bryce Mills as the Walrus and Melanie Minty as the Queen of the Hearts in 'Alice in Wonderland

SURREY — Membership has its privileges, so they say. It also has responsibilities. Aww, that takes all the fun away. Who wants to be responsible anyway? Well, someone has to take on the responsibilities so we can play – or put on plays.

White Rock Players’ Club and Surrey-based Coast Capital Savings have renewed their naming agreement, meaning the theatre will remain the Coast Capital Playhouse for at least three more years.

“We are excited and pleased to continue our partnership with Coast Capital Savings,” WRPC president Josh Fuller says. “Their support is crucial in allowing us to continue to improve on our productions and our facility bringing great culture and entertainment to the Surrey community.”

Bottom line, I am quite happy to have a place to play – or be in a play. Operating the Coast Capital Playhouse (formerly known as the White Rock Playhouse) is a financially huge undertaking, and it takes the full White Rock Players’ Club membership to keep the facility running and viable. It’s all, or at least mostly, volunteer effort. The playhouse is not a civic theatre, so maintaining, renovating, operating and all those fun things fall to the members of WRPC.

The previous 10-year contract with Coast Capital expired last spring. This new partnership will also allow the White Rock Players to continue to provide the community with outstanding theatre productions in an elegant and functional space, but also to increase programming to engage local youth and future generations in the arts. White Rock Players have provided opportunities for young people to get involved in theatre. It is a real character-builder, for sure.

(Story continues below photo of Coast Capital Playhouse building exterior)

Wendy Lachance, director of community leadership at Coast Capital Savings, says when youth are involved in activities like community theatre, they are getting so much more than simply a bit of fun on stage. They are developing a great skill set that will help them succeed in their future endeavors. And most of that is not in developing acting skills. When you are in a play, it is important to work together as a team, be responsible for your time and be respectful of others. Those are important life lessons. Kids (and adults) do learn that at the theatre, you save the drama and energy for on stage. Backstage you help each other and work together.

Over the past decade, Coast Capital Playhouse has been home to many productions including the ever-popular Christmas pantomime. This year’s pantomime, “Alice in Wonderland,” opened on Nov. 29 and runs until Dec. 30. Lots of kids are in the show, and many are also attending the show. Me? I play the Queen of Hearts. It is a huge commitment of time and energy, especially when you know none of the actors are paid, most have “day jobs” or are in school full-time. Membership in the WRPC is our “ticket” to play. Go, see, do. Make cheery applause. Buy tickets today at Whiterockplayers.ca/alice. And thank you, Coast Capital, for supporting community theatre. I appreciate it.

Becoming a member of any community theatre club is a great start for anyone’s stage career – even as an amateur. Surrey’s Naked Stage Productions Society is a new group that wants more members and is posting a “help wanted” notice.

The group’s first two productions were critically-acclaimed successes and broke even financially. The fledgling society is on solid ground, but really needs more than the four core members to keep things running. This society does not put on traditional theatre, with full sets, costumes, and memorized lines. It is a reader’s theatre. Actors read the script from the stage. It is amazingly entertaining, and an economic way of presenting plays to the community and allowing local amateur actors to be involved without a huge time commitment.

But for now, Naked Stage urgently needs to get more people involved in its operations. If you are a person of some talent (and I am constantly told we all have talent of some type), the group needs some help in the areas of social media, fundraising, advertising, ticket sales, ushers, ticket takers and, the biggie, accounting – or someone who knows how to do the year-end statements. Not the glamour jobs, for sure, but membership does have its perks as well as responsibilities. Get on board, email the group at entertainment@nakedstage.net or CLICK HERE for details. The inaugural AGM will be held at Newton Cultural Centre on Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. The group’s next show is “Noel Coward In Two Keys,” on Feb. 24, 25 and 26 at Newton Cultural Centre. Make membership in an arts society your target for the new year. Yep, that’s coming up right around the corner, too.

melminty@telus.net

 

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