The Lights of Broadway … er South West Marine Drive – A history of my involvement in theatre. Part 1

So, about 10 years ago, I was trying to find something new to work on.  The Rainy City Gay Men’s Chorus had folded and my one creative outlet had suddenly vanished.  How was I going to spend my free time now?  I was stumped.

Then, out of the blue, I got a call from Miles, the former lighting and technical director for the Chorus, and reached out to me.  He had found a job working at the Metro Theatre.

“The where?”, I asked.

“The Metro Theatre. It is a community theatre company and they are always looking for volunteers to work.”

They were desperately in need of a Stage Manager and Miles thought of me right away.

So, I did some research and found that the following:

The Metropolitan Co-operative Theatre Society was founded in 1962 helped by a $5,000 grant from the City Council to turn a derelict movie house that had been running since the 1930’s, into a live theatre.

Eleven companies, among which White Rock Players, Vagabond Players, North Vancouver Community Players and West Vancouver Theatre Guild, which still exist today, combined to present Metro’s inaugural season. It was not until September of 1964, however, that they were able to move into the present location where an open house and black tie gala heralded the opening night of White Rock Players’ production of Dark of the Moon. It was reviewed by James Barber, the Sun theatre critic, as “a good play, well executed and one that sets a standard for Metro that is worthy of their investment.”

The Metro has been running ever since.

download.jpg  images.jpg

It is a 308 seat auditorium with a welcoming bar/lounge which my husband, Alex renovated a number of years back.  More about that in another post.

I talked it over with Alex and I decided that I would go and meet with Miles to discuss the possibility of my working on a show or shows.

In June of 2008, I went down to the theatre and was met by Sean.  Sean is force to be reckoned with.  She is small, but, fiery.  She is opinionated and caring.  She is firm and deliberate.  She is SEAN!  I was intimidated by this tiny woman who immediately put me in my place about punctuality.

She then ushered me into the theatre and onto the stage where they were just finishing off the run of “Noises Off”!  A great show, if you ever get a chance to see it, by the way.

She told me that they were in need of a stage manager for a number of productions but, the one that needed immediate assistance was an Agatha Christie thriller called “A Murder was Announced”.

The sounds of the empty auditorium, the smell of the ozone from the lights zapping dust particles, the ATMOSPHERE was intoxicating and so, without even looking at the script, I said, “I’m in.  What do we do now?”

From that moment, I knew that I had found a new passion.  I LOVE LIVE THEATRE.  I have absolutely no talent for acting, singing, dancing but, I can corral a passle of actors and whip them into shape like nobody’s business.

I went home and told Alex what I was doing and while he was concerned about the time commitments (three months of rehearsals and a month-long run), he gave me his seal of approval.  I contacted Miles and he forwarded me the contact info for my very first director – Paul and his lovely partner, Mandana

A Murder is Announced 2008(1)

This was the poster for the show.

A Murder is Announced Program 2008

Front cover of the program.

a-murder-is-announced-program-3-2008.jpeg

*squee*  My first bio…..

a-murder-is-announced-program-2-20081.jpeg

And here is the cast and crew list.  I have to tell you that I have done quite a number of shows since this first one and by far, this one still ranks as my all-time favourite show.

I was introduced to some of the most amazing people in front of the REDS:  Tracy LaBrosse, Heather Evens, Caitlyn Clugston, Val Deardon, Chris Walters, Nathanael Vass, Blaine Anderson, are just some of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of working with.

Then, the production crew:  Paul Tourneur, Mandana Namazi, Heather Stewart, Heike Maulhart, Sara Weber, Theo Weber, Rob Walters, Dwayne Campbell, Sean Ullman – again just to name a few.

This amazing assortment of people cemented my love of theatre and did so much to help me to learn about how a show should be run.

I will be forever grateful.

Published by Al Zylstra

a somewhat erudite wannabe writer with aspirations of not putting people to sleep with my prose....

One thought on “The Lights of Broadway … er South West Marine Drive – A history of my involvement in theatre. Part 1

  1. Hi Al: An awesome post……obviously you love live theatre and so do I…..and the people connected with it, from the directors to the actors to all the people behind the scenes who actually make the production forge ahead accurately and professionally ! Enjoy your day! Hugs, Maggie

    Like

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