Thomas Haney drama students rehearse for their upcoming production of <em>Alice In Wonderland</em>. (Ana Maria Dragan/Special to The News)

Thomas Haney drama students rehearse for their upcoming production of Alice In Wonderland. (Ana Maria Dragan/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge Sightline Theatre enters the magical world of the white rabbit

Thomas Haney drama department taking on Alice In Wonderland

Students at Thomas Haney Secondary School will be crawling through the rabbit hole with their first live performance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic of Alice In Wonderland.

Based on the 1865 children’s book Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the story follows Alice, who will be played by Lily Anderson, who dreams she follows a white rabbit down a hole and goes on a bizarre adventure, meeting odd creatures along the way.

Deema Hashim will be playing the Cheshire cat, Jocelyn Mah will be playing the White Rabbit, Cole Bzowy is the Mad Hatter, and Abby Franco will be playing the role of the Queen of Hearts.

The students chose Alice in Wonderland for their first live in-person show because the play has a large cast and many unique characters.

“It was important to give as many students as possible the opportunity to have speaking roles in the play and, especially after COVID, experience being part of something that brings people together collaboratively and joyfully,” said Alanna Wu, who is doing publicity for the performance.

“It was also important to choose a family-oriented play in the hopes that the littles (sic) would have a chance to see, and fall in love with, live theatre,” added Wu, noting that all of the actors are looking forward to hearing both children and adults laugh at their antics.

All of the scenes in the production are colourful, silly, and fun, said Wu. Two scenes, though, are special because they involve senior actors who will be graduating from high school this year.

“The ‘Flowers’ scene showcases the dancing prowess of Rachel Jansen, Miranda Kahlert and Tianna Alves, while Cole Bzowy and Hudson Bonneau provide many a belly laugh as the Mad Hatter and March Hare in the Tea Party scene,” described Wu.

Wu promises a magical experience with a tale taken from merging both the original story and modern films together.

The actors have been rehearsing since late September. The crew has just started building the set, which they are planning to be simple and mobile – because of the many quick scene changes – but also interesting and colourful.

Grade 10 student Asra Lao is costume lead who has a team of designers and sewers, altering, making, or purchasing the costumes.

This will also be the first production since the opening of Thomas Haney Secondary School that will not have Shelley Evans at the helm, Wu continued, referring to the the fine arts department head at Thomas Haney and the THSS Sightline Theatre’s artistic director, until her retirement last year. Rhondalee Brema is the new theatre teacher and director at the school.

Wu expressed how hard it has been trying to keep live theatre alive over the past few years, and said cast and crew are both excited and nervous to be back on stage in front of a live audience.

“We had our first rehearsal yesterday without masks and it was really awesome to see the facial expressions—it made the play even funnier.”

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The THSS Sightline Theatre production of Alice In Wonderland runs April 26-May 6. There will be three matinee performances April 26, 27, and May 2, doors opening at 9:30 a.m. for curtain at 10 a.m.. And five evening performances April 28, 29, and May 4-6, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. start time. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults.

Tickets must be purchased in advance, with first come first served seating.

The theatre is located at Thomas Haney Secondary at 23000 116 Ave. in Maple Ridge, with access through the gym doors across from the skate park.

Tickets can be purchased at

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