The true depth of the art that is live theatre was apparent at the celebration of 25 seasons at the Chemainus Theatre on June 23.
As part of the festivities, organizers and a group of professional actors that have been part of many of the iconic theatre’s performances over the years put together a compilation of scenes from popular plays staged in the Chemainus facility in what was called “25 plays in 25 minutes”.
The actors instantly jumped from character to character in the show, intended for the theatre’s VIPs, and the members of the packed audience were treated to a memorable display of the actors’ many talents, and an appreciation of what it is to have one of the province’s leading theatres on our doorsteps.
Over the past 25 seasons, the theatre has held thousands of professional performances.
As one of B.C.’s largest performing arts organizations, the theatre welcomes more than 70,000 guests annually to enjoy live theatre experiences by notable directors, talented actors, and imaginative designers.
Randall Huber, the theatre’s managing director, said numerous free activities and festivities were also held on June 23 to celebrate the theatre’s anniversary.
They included displays of props, costumes, set models and photographs from more than two dozen plays that have been performed at the theatre over its history, and also trivia quizzes and ticket contests.
Live music and food venues were set up outside the theatre during the day and volunteers delighted the crowds by displaying props and models from popular performances.
“We also had pop-up readings by a number of our professional actors in which people would sign up for readings from plays that were held at various parts of the theatre at different times during the anniversary celebrations,” Huber said.
“We’re very proud to be celebrating our 25th season. It’s a real marker of the theatre’s success that we can stand the test of time. We’d like to thank all the people of the Cowichan Valley for contributing to our success.”
During the cake-cutting to celebrate the anniversary, North Cowichan mayor and chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District Jon Lefebure said the region is “incredibly lucky” to have the theatre as part of the community.
“Many of my children’s friends had their first jobs here,” he said.
“This theatre goes well beyond fantastic art and is an integral part of our growing community.”
Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said he has performed in a number of amateur plays as a youth and was “bitten by the acting bug”.
“Acting has comedy, tragedy and suspense,” he said. “It’s like after the last election in the B.C. legislature.”