The show will go on for talented Vancouver Island University technical theatre students, thanks to a generous donation from a couple who wanted to leave a lasting legacy in memory of their son.
Nanaimo residents Eldred and Joyce Classen lost their son, VIU alum Brent Dana Classen, unexpectedly in 2015 at age 55. To honour his memory, they have donated $175,000 to the VIU Foundation to create an endowment fund that will ensure one student in financial need will be helped every year from now on.
Classen was well-known in the Island theatre community through his company, Whole Hog Productions Ltd.
After high school, he went on to complete the Technical Theatre Program at VIU (then Malaspina College).
Over the years, Classen staged many events that touched many people on the Island. From festivals, concerts and ice shows, to conferences, award nights, weddings and fundraisers, he and his team brought the special effects, lights, sound and magic to countless stages.
He also worked for the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s theatre department, working many large shows.
Some of Classen’s proudest accomplishments included the design and technical run of the first Sunfest Country Music Festival, the Clean Air Concert, the Halloween and Christmas events at the BC Forest Discovery Centre, and the many years he lit up the Islands Folk Festival stage.