Alan Cedargreen played Frau Schackenbacken in Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s December 2016 pantomime, “Beauty and the Beast,” at Surrey Arts Centre. (file photo: Gord Goble)

Alan Cedargreen played Frau Schackenbacken in Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s December 2016 pantomime, “Beauty and the Beast,” at Surrey Arts Centre. (file photo: Gord Goble)

THEATRE

Surrey-made Christmas panto turns back clock to 2016, in video for by-donation viewing

The 90-minute version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was written and directed by Ellie King

December is typically a month when Ellie King is in a mad scramble to stage her latest panto for audiences in Surrey and elsewhere.

But not this year.

With the pandemic putting an end to such in-person gatherings, the managing artistic director of Surrey-based Royal Canadian Theatre Company is among many who have shifted to an online platform for performances.

In King’s case, she’s unearthed a 2016 production of the panto “Beauty and the Beast” for by-donation viewing on the company’s website, to be followed by the streaming of “Sleeping Beauty” in early January. Look for dates and more details at facebook.com/rctheatreco.

CLICK HERE to watch “Beauty and the Beast.”

(Story continues below)

The 90-minute version of “Beauty and the Beast,” written and directed by King, played Surrey Arts Centre four years ago, around the time RCTC was planning to move into its Whalley-area studio, at 10660 City Parkway. Rehearsals for the show, involving close to three dozen actors, took place in storefront space at Guildford Town Centre.

Fast-forward to 2020 and that panto represents the good ol’ days for Royal Canadian, which has been in limbo this year due to COVID-19.

Typically, the company’s free youth-mentorship program culminates in participants getting involved in its traditional British panto.

But again, not this year.

“RCTC has had to cancel just about all of our 2020/2021 season, although we are hoping to bring you our spring show in 2021,” King told fans of the theatre company. “We miss all our panto peeps, especially our Youth Mentorship participants, and sadly we aren’t able to present our annual Relaxed Performance for those with intellectual and other challenges.

“But don’t worry, live panto should be back in 2021 (Covid willing!) with ‘Alice in Wonderland,’” King added. “See you this time next year!”

A Langley resident, King recently celebrated 30 years of writing and directing panto shows in the Vancouver area, and has continued the tradition with Royal Canadian Theatre Company since it was established in 2006.

For those not in the know, a pantomime (or panto) is a type of musical comedy that puts a twist on an original fairytale or other story, and is usually performed around Christmastime. Goofy jokes and visual gags are part of the family-friendly fun.

“Nothing says ‘holiday season’ quite like a good, old-fashioned panto,” says King, who credits Crystal Weltzin for all the work to put the panto videos on the web. “She’s a wonderful young woman,” King added.

For viewing online, she suggests audiences eat mince pies and drink eggnog.

In the first of RCTC’s two video shows, will the lovely Beauty escape the clutches of the horrid Beast? Is the Beast really that bad? What about Herr Hanz and Herr Footz? And is Augustus Schwackenhammer really his name?

“Good and evil continue their never-ending battle and along the way we laugh, sing along, ooh and aah and have a whole lot of fun,” King says.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Live theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

teaser
Top-10 ‘Maxim’ magazine contest model got her start in Surrey

Kajal Kumar hopes to earn $25K cash prize and a cover photo shoot

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on B.C. highways – checkpoint at Manning Park

Four checkpoints are set up Thursday, May 6 around the province

A woman walks past a long lineup that snaked through the parking lot at the Cloverdale Rec. Centre April 27 after Fraser Health allowed people age 30 and over from “high-transmission neighbourhoods” to access the AstraZeneca shot. The temporary vaccination centre is located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale now considered a ‘high-transmission area’

Anyone 30 and over can now register for a vaccine

Ocean Athletics’ Roy Jiang – a senior at Southridge School – will study, run track and play clarinet at the California Institute of Technology beginning this fall. (Gordon Kalisch/Fast Track Sports Photography)
‘Triple-threat’ Southridge School student runs toward CalTech

Roy Jiang will compete on track team, play in the university’s symphony and study bioengineering

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Most Read