Skip to content

Winning plays from across B.C. come to Surrey theatre for Mainstage showcase July 11-15

Theatre BC festival involves Surrey’s Pivot Theatre with ‘Perfect Arrangment’
A scene from Powerhouse Theatre’s “Butterflies are Free,” a comedy about a young man leaving his overprotective mother to live in Greenwich Village. The play is among several being staged at Surrey Arts Centre during Theatre BC’s Mainstage event, July 11-16. (Photo:

Thespians from across B.C. will converge in Surrey for a provincial play showcase in mid-July.

Theatre BC’s Mainstage 2023 competition will welcome five theatre companies from different regions to Surrey Arts Centre for nightly stagings starting Tuesday, July 11, ending Saturday, July 15.

Among them is Surrey-based Pivot Theatre, to rep the Fraser Valley Zone with its production of “Perfect Arrangement,” a play about gay couples posing straight at a dinner party.

Also featured are plays by Stage North Theatre Society (“The Exquisite Hour,” Peace River Zone), Powerhouse Theatrical Society (“Butterflies Are Free,” Okanagan Zone), Nanaimo Theatre Group (“The Half-Life of Marie Curie,” North Island Zone) and North Vancouver Community Players (“Annapurna,” North Shore Zone).

“Worlds of Theatre” is the theme of the Mainstage event, which moves to different B.C. “zones” annually.

The event at the theatre at Bear Creek Park will be adjudicated by Kathryn Shaw, the recently-retired artistic director of Studio 58 training program at Langara College, where Shaw held the position from 1985 until 2020.

Mainstage details are posted on, including a link to tickets for the five shows. Info is also posted on the arts centre’s online box office,, or call 604-501-5566. Single-show and multi-day passes are available.

• RELATED: ‘Perfect Arrangement’ play about gay couples posing straight wins awards for Surrey’s Pivot Theatre.

• ALSO READ: ‘The Addams Family’ hits Surrey stage following dry runs at a funeral home.

Cast members of Pivot Theatre’s “Perfect Arrangement” are, clockwise from top left, Suksham Shan (Jim), Brittany Vesterback (Norma), Beck Marie (Millie), Kevin Ibbotson (Bob), Chuck Mayne (Theodore) and Amanda Smith-Weston (Kitty). Not pictured is Katarina Keča as Barbara. (Submitted photo)
Cast members of Pivot Theatre’s “Perfect Arrangement” are, clockwise from top left, Suksham Shan (Jim), Brittany Vesterback (Norma), Beck Marie (Millie), Kevin Ibbotson (Bob), Chuck Mayne (Theodore) and Amanda Smith-Weston (Kitty). Not pictured is Katarina Keča as Barbara. (Submitted photo)

Surrey’s Pivot company first staged its comedy-drama in April, and on May 27 it was named Outstanding Production at Theatre BC’s Fraser Valley Zone awards night in Chilliwack, leading to its inclusion at Theatre BC’s Mainstage festival.

Pivot’s production of “Perfect Arrangement” is the Canadian debut of Topher Payne’s play, set during the ‘Lavender Scare’ of the 1950s when there was a moral panic about homosexual people in the U.S. government, leading to mass dismissal.

At Surrey Arts Centre’s Main Stage, the play will be performed on Wednesday, July 12, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Mainstage event will kick off with Stage North’s “The Exquisite Hour” on Tuesday, July 11. Stewart Lemoine’s one-hour script is set on a summer evening. “A seemingly well-adjusted bachelor finds his life forever altered when an alluring stranger materializes in his backyard to ask the question, ‘Are you satisfied with what you know?’ It’s a romantic conversation piece, set in the age of the encyclopedia.”

Based in Vernon, Powerhouse Theatre hits the stage Thursday, July 13, with Leonard Gershe’s “Butterflies Are Free,” a full-length comedy about a young man leaving his over-protective mother to live in Greenwich Village. “When he starts to fall for his off-the-wall neighbour, his mother’s controlling instincts go into overdrive with hilariously touching results,” reads a synopsis on Theatre BC’s website. “A funny, touching and thought-provoking play that takes the audience on an emotional ride while confronting fears of self confidence, personal responsibility and the risks that go along with loving someone.”

The evening of Friday, July 14, is reserved for Nanaimo Theatre Group’s “The Half-Life of Marie Curie,” a 90-minute production. “Branded a home-wrecking harlot by the press, Marie flees to her best friend’s seaside cottage where the two commiserate about men, science, and life. Funny, illuminating, and inspiring.”

The play that caps Mainstage is North Vancouver Community Players’ “Annapurna,” written by Sharr White. “Annapurna is one of the world’s highest and most treacherous mountains to climb,” reads a synopsis. “The trails zig-zag perilously close to ice cliffs, deadly crevasses appear out of nowhere. So it’s fitting that Annapurna is also a metaphor for the marriage between reckless, reclusive cowboy-poet Ulysses and his orderly New England wife, Emma. Messy misunderstandings and long-held resentments blockade the summit they both seek: reconciliation. An unexpected reunion after a twenty-year separation provides the opportunity to scale the peak one slippery step at a time. A sharp, funny and gripping meditation on the longevity of love.”

Theatre BC, also known as British Columbia Drama Association, has served as the parent association for community theatre in the province since 1932.

• READ ALSO: ‘The Right Kind of House’ for Surrey’s DebuTheatre, for artists under 30.

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

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
Read more