SURREY — September’s focus is getting back to school after summer break. Families are busy. Keeping kids occupied in a friendly, safe and educational environment is important – critically important – to the fabric of our society. If you are a parent with younger children, you know how much you “give up” on activities you might want to pursue that aren’t kid-friendly. Well, the clever folks at Surrey Arts Centre have found a very creative way to let parents participate in an adult activity while the kids get an art camp. Brilliant.
Paint at the Play is a new service for theatre lovers who also have young children and face the problem of finding a sitter for the kids so they can attend a play. Paint at the Play is – I say it again – a brilliant solution. Jerry Seinfeld is quoted for the quip, “There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family.” I knew there was a reason I have never enjoyed his comedy.
Paint at the Play combines a matinee show of the three plays that are part of the Arts Club on Tour series. Children aged six to 11 are invited to attend an art camp while their parents attend a matinee performance of “Red Rock Diner” (on Saturday, Oct. 24), “In a Blue Moon” (Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016) or “4000 Miles” (Saturday, Feb 27). Cost for the art camp is $24 for one child or $40 for two, and the matinee tickets start at $29.
Parents can relax and enjoy professional theatre knowing that their children are having quality time getting their hands dirty with creative art projects – so much better than sitting in front of the TV with a babysitter or playing video games or collecting “likes” on Facebook. Parents drop off their children in the classroom at 3:30 p.m. The concession will be open, so parents can relax, socialize and enjoy a coffee or adult beverage until the show begins at 4. At intermission, you can sneak a peek at what the kids are up to – the classroom windows open onto the lobby. At 6:30 p.m., everyone goes home happy.
Find out more about the shows at Surrey.ca/arts. Purchase tickets and register for Paint at the Play by calling the arts centre at 604-501-5566. Register early to avoid disappointment – each session has room for 12 children maximum. I am sure this concept will be popular, and the demand should go up.
Families can participate in creative things together, like making a Halloween costume, but sometimes you just need some guidance. Surrey Museum has a host of Halloween programs and events that will develop skills and maybe give a glimpse of our history and heritage.
A “Candlelight Cemetery Tour” on Saturday, Oct. 24 (7 to 8:30 p.m.) is for ages 12 and up. Candles light the way as author Warren Sommer reveals the fascinating stories that lie beneath the headstones of the 130-year-old Surrey Centre Cemetery and Christ Church Anglican Churchyard. Ghosts not guaranteed.
“Weaving Webs, Spinning Spiders” is a weaving workshop more suited for those who don’t do spooky candlelight stuff. Weave and spin delightfully spooky Halloween decorations and creatures, including a spider glove, to use while trick-or-treating. The session is on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Another museum-planned event, “Paranormal Encounters in Surrey,” is definitely for those who love the spooky and supernatural. Join the Vancouver Paranormal Society as they share supernatural findings in local buildings, then explore the stories behind the buildings with Surrey’s archivist. This event is set for Oct. 28.
On Halloween day from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., a “Pumpkin Power” event lets you design your own take-home jack-o’-lantern, go on a spooky scavenger hunt in the exhibit galleries and compete for best costume. Admission to this all-ages, costumes-encouraged event is by donation.
For all of the above sessions, attendees must pre-register by calling 604-592-6956.
So, Jerry, you say there is no such thing as family fun? Ha. Welcome to Surrey, where we do, and can, have it all.