Carol Fast, among performers in Surrey Centennial Arts Centre’s opening-night show in 1968, holds a copy of the “anniversary pages” featured in the arts centre’s current brochure. (submitted photo)

Carol Fast, among performers in Surrey Centennial Arts Centre’s opening-night show in 1968, holds a copy of the “anniversary pages” featured in the arts centre’s current brochure. (submitted photo)

Golden memories of Surrey Arts Centre for opening-night performer

50 years ago this week, Surrey’s new theatre featured Carol Fast in ‘Brigadoon’

Fifty years ago this week, Carol Fast was tuning her voice among the first performers to hit Surrey’s newest stage.

On Feb. 29, 1968, Surrey Centennial Arts Centre – now known as Surrey Arts Centre – was officially opened at Bear Creek Park with a production of Brigadoon by Surrey Musical Productions, and Fast was cast as flirtatious dairymaid Meg Brockie.

Fast, then known as Carol Molnar, sang “Love of My Life,” “My Mother’s Wedding Day” and other songs written by Alan Jay Lerner and Fredrick Loewe.

“It was a big production, a lot of fun, with wonderful music to sing and dance to,” Fast recalled when contacted by the Now-Leader on Monday.

“We had an orchestra – 30 people in it,” she continued. “The current theatre doesn’t have an orchestra pit but that first theatre did, but it didn’t get used later. We in the cast called it the bear pit, and it was a cement square, right in front of the older stage there. The new stage just covers (the area) where that pit was.”

The new theatre’s seating wasn’t what Fast and the other Brigadoon performers expected, she said.

“I didn’t really watch it being built, but I thought it (the theatre) was lovely,” Fast recalled. “We were all sort of taken aback, though, because the seating was a few theatre seats at the back and then at the front they had chairs and benches, for people to sit on. But it was a nice stage.”

Today, Fast lives in the Boundary Park area of Surrey and still regularly attends events at Surrey Arts Centre.

“Oh yes, I still go there all the time,” said Fast, 81. “I belong to the Classical Coffee Concerts series in the mornings, and of course the Arts Club shows, the touring shows, and anything else that tickles my fancy. I’m there all the time. I’m a fixture,” she added with a laugh.

• READ MORE: Surrey Arts Centre’s 50th anniversary celebrated at March 14 gala/concert, from Jan. 31.

On March 14, Fast plans to attend the arts centre’s golden-anniversary gala event and concert, to include a performance by BC World Music Collective and an opportunity for guests to “mingle, reminisce and enjoy some finger food,” followed by the group’s performance.

“Gather with friends and family for a grand golden gala,” reads a post on the web page where tickets can be purchased (tickets.surrey.ca). “Wax nostalgic and celebrate the legacy and inspiration that Surrey Civic Theatres has brought to the community and the artists that have graced its stages through its 50 years.”

The municipality of Surrey budgeted $200,000 to build its new cultural centre, which expanded and evolved over the years to include a black-box Studio Theatre and the creation of Surrey Art Gallery in the facility’s north wing.

Photos and history of the facility are included in “anniversary pages” of its 2017-18 season brochure.

Longtime event presenters at the arts centre include Surrey Festival of Dance (from the very start), Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Arts Club Theatre Company, Royal Canadian Theatre Company and Surrey International Children’s Festival.

The classically-trained Fast, who was 31 at the time of the arts centre’s opening, performed on local stages since the age of eight. Born in New Westminster, she eventually moved to Manitoba to sing with the opera there, before she and her husband Henry found their way back to B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

“When we retired, we came home to New West but then found this lovely home in Surrey,” Fast said. “We moved to Surrey and I did Royal City Musical Theatre and a few things here.… It must be 15 years ago since I last performed on stage.”

Fifty years ago, it was a big night for Surrey – and also for Fast and the others in Brigadoon.

“It’s wonderful to say we were there for the opening, for the first show there,” Fast said.

At the arts centre’s anniversary event on March 14, emcee Deborah Williams (co-creator of the hit Mom’s the Word shows) will welcome guest speakers including incoming Arts Club Theatre Company artistic director Ashlie Corcoran, who performed at Surrey Arts Centre in her youth.

• READ MORE: White Rock’s Ashlie Corcoran has been appointed artistic director for Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre, from 2017.

• ALSO: Arts Club to bring ‘The Piano Teacher,’ ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Circle Game’ to Surrey next season, from Feb. 5, 2018.

BC World Music Collective features musicians Adonis Puentes, Celso Machado, Tonye Aganaba, Kurai Blessing, Locarno (Tom Landa, Pedro Mota, Robin Layne, Liam MacDonald, Nick La Riviere, Kalissa Landa, Ronnie Swirl) and Ostwelve, a First Nations rapper. The band first performed together in the summer of 2015, when the artists were asked to come together to perform at the Vancouver Island Music Festival.

Tickets for the arts centre’s gala event range from $26 to $46 at tickets.surrey.ca, or call 604-501-5566.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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

 

Carol Molnar (left), now known as Carol Fast, is pictured in a newspaper photo from 1968 at Surrey Centennial Arts Centre with fellow “Brigadoon” actors Bruce Rathie (second from left), Margo Bendick and Dave Tuck.

Carol Molnar (left), now known as Carol Fast, is pictured in a newspaper photo from 1968 at Surrey Centennial Arts Centre with fellow “Brigadoon” actors Bruce Rathie (second from left), Margo Bendick and Dave Tuck.

Surrey Centennial Arts Centre in 1968. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

Surrey Centennial Arts Centre in 1968. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

Just Posted

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read