Jill Tunbridge’s Flamenco del Mar Spanish Dance Studio plays host to a “Fairy of the Night and Still” dance show on Friday, Jan. 4. (Photo: facebook.com)

MINTY: Theatre community mourns another as panto show continues

Also: Flamenco dancers prep ‘Fairy of the Night and Still’ for White Rock stage

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

The end is near for the year 2018. For White Rock Players, it has been a heartbreaking and tough year with the loss of four longtime contributors to this community theatre club. Pat McClean, extraordinary costumer; Gord Mantle, technician and stage manager; Mike Busswood, actor and director, and now just recently Dave Carroll, board member and set builder – among many other jobs. You will be missed, all of you. Thank you for your dedication and talents given to the White Rock Players.

Charles Beuttner is filling in as stage manager for the Players’ current production, Robin Hood and the Skytrain of Doom. He is so good at keeping me posted on shows and the inner workings – like losses of some great people – and he is making this appeal to the community: “We need more volunteers.” There it is, your golden opportunity to be part of the proud tradition of community theatre. There are so many ways to be part of the production. Go to the White Rock Players website (whiterockplayers.ca) – they have a checklist. After 20 or 30 years of service, you too may become a legend and leave a legacy behind.

The theatre company relies on volunteers for almost every aspect of producing plays and managing their Coast Capital Playhouse. Many are reaching the burnout stage, so really do consider getting involved. It’s like being on a committee, but instead of meetings, you have rehearsals or set-building days. Lovely.

Speaking of committees, our new city council is working on “redeveloping” some of the advisory committees. Five current committees would be combined into a monster Super Committee and it would cover Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee. There are arts groups in the city that are not happy with the proposed demise of the separate Public Art Advisory and Cultural Development Advisory committees, among others.

• RELATED: Surrey council refers ‘super committee’ back to staff.

While committees can indeed be wonderful things to accomplish great good in our special area of interest, I have a word or two on that subject. The city government and city employees can only do so much. Whatever the committees look like in 2019, there will be a call – apparently – for volunteers to sit on these committees. There it is. Your opportunity to have your voice, and concerns, heard. A Super Recreation Committee does not necessarily mean more ice sheets, nor does it preclude the building of a new art gallery or medium-sized civic theatre. Things get done, or even not done, because enough people care – or don’t care. Please do not expect a solution from government funding. Each of us, an individuals, can make a difference. That is a lot of words to express one thought: Get involved.

You can start off the new year with a unique show at Coast Capital Playhouse – see above about joining. Jill Tunbridge presents “Fairy of the Night and Still.” Dancers from Flamenco del Mar Spanish Dance Studio (flamencodelmar.com) will perform this poetic story with guest artists from the B.C. dance community. Invited guests include Linda Hayes, Katherine Siemens, ballerina Erin Currie and her “Crystal Dream Flakes,” and more. The dance performance, set for Friday, Jan. 4, is a celebration of Jill’s fairy tale set to beautiful music and narrated by Alex Browne. “Fairy of the Night and Still” is out of this world, and suitable for the entire family. Show details are posted at whiterockplayers.ca, or call 604-536-7535. Tickets range from $15 (for kids) to $22 (adults).

Says Jill: “I actually wrote this fairy tale in Spain, whilst studying flamenco. It is now an ebook, a soft cover (at Amazon) and will soon be an audio book (available on Audible within the week). So people can purchase the fairy tale in many formats before the performance.” This is a story that almost didn’t get written because people told her that it wouldn’t be popular and no one would publish it. Years later, now, she has done it herself.

Tunbridge has been committed to the pure brand of Flamenco dancing, and has dedicated her talents to establishing Flamenco del Mar. Her studio used to be located in White Rock, but for the last two years, she has been renting space from Just 4 Kicks School of Dance, on 62nd Avenue in Surrey. That is just down the street from my business and I would love to learn flamenco. But I haven’t even mastered tap dancing yet. At least these dance forms are from the same family of dance.

Happy new year, everyone.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. She can be reached at melminty@telus.net.

CLICK HERE to read other columns by Melanie Minty.

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