SURREY — It’s rare for a local theatre group to stage a series of productions here in a given season, but that’s what Royal Canadian Theatre Company is doing.
RCTC is prepping three plays for the stage at Surrey Arts Centre for its 2015-16 season, starting with a version of “Dracula” in mid-October. The other productions are the holiday panto “Puss in Boots” and “Love, Sex and the I.R.S.,” which will hit the boards at the Bear Creek Park venue next March.
Royal Canadian Theatre saw a jump in show attendance of 11 per cent from 2014 to 2015, giving the company confidence to expand its programming.
“(We have become) known for providing affordable, entertaining work at a very high standard – working with both local talent and theatre artists from all over the Greater Vancouver region,” said Ellie King, the company’s artistic director.
Previously, Royal Canadian has enjoyed successes with shows such as “Cinderella,” “No Sex Please, We’re British” and “Shirley Valentine.”
This fall, King will direct the company’s take on “Dracula” for its run from Oct. 8 to 10 at Surrey Arts Centre, using the 1929 script that was a Broadway hit and made a star of Bela Lugosi. King is giving this gothic classic thriller an update by setting it in a “steampunk” universe. Here, Count Dracula’s arch nemesis, Professor Van Helsing, is cast as a strong, wise and mysterious woman (Kathryn Stewart), giving a whole new dimension to their conflict.
“The good professor is not up against any ‘Twilight’ teen-angst vampire here: This is a truly evil being, and the outcome of the battle is never certain,” King told the Now.
Elyse Maloway, who plays heroine Lucy Seward, is a Cloverdale resident who comes to “Dracula” straight from Theatre Under the Stars, as does Adam Olgui, another Surrey resident, playing her fiancée Jonathan Harker. Jamie O’Neill, a Langley resident, is Butterworth the attendant, and Renfield, the crazed servant of Dracula, is played by Aaron Stewart of North Delta, last seen as Sgt. Trotter in Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s production of “The Mousetrap” last March.
The evil Count himself is played by Kurtis Maguire from New Westminster. Rounding out the cast are Hannah Williams as the flirty Miss Wells and Paul Fisher as Lucy’s father, Dr. Seward.
With “Puss in Boots,” the company promises to bring back “all Surrey’s panto favourites,” King says. “This time, our hero must battle an ogre to win a castle and the hand of his princess.”
Later, “Love, Sex and the I.R.S.” will show audiences what can happen when you cheat on your tax returns.
For more show details and ticket information, call 604-501-5566 or visit Rctheatreco.com.