When Theatre in the Country shuttered its doors on March 16th, they had no idea when or if they would reopen, but they started planning on how to keep their performers and patrons active and engaged in a live theatre experience.
Within a month, TIC Online was up and running.
Artistic director Reg Parks said the idea was simple; using their bank of over 45 performers, they could perform a new costumed, reader’s theatre each weekend on Friday and Saturday night.
“The audience that has been asked to pay what they can starting at $5,” Parks said. “It is the company’s hope that no one needs to miss out on a play just because of financial uncertainty caused by a layoff or otherwise.”
TIC Online has welcomed guests from all across North America, Europe, Trinidad, and Japan – growing their reach thanks to accessible performances on Zoom.
Each play includes a talkback with the cast and crew, and occasional special guests each night after the show is over.
Now, a myriad of Maple Ridge actors will bring Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice to the Zoom stage; Annika Piir, Jordanah Lyons, Melissa Harris, Paul Beckett, will all appear in the show, July 24 and 25.
Maple Ridge resident Jacq Ainsworth directed the production while Michaela Freeman serves as the stage manager.
“I’m incredibly pleased with this production,” Ainsworth said. “The actors have embraced their characters whole heartedly, clearly spending extra time outside of rehearsal, not only to ensure their delivery of the lines is smooth and animated, but also in collecting costume pieces and wigs, all without my even having to ask.”
Parks said playwright Nicola Shannon, the playwright, approached him with the idea to give the show a fresh and crisp rewrite – the new take on the Victorian classic will be a world premier at TIC Online.
In September, TIC will reopen their doors for live theatre with a two-person musical entitled, The Last 5 Years by Jason Robert Brown.
It will feature to veteran performers, and audience seating reduced from 200 to 50.
Other falls shows will also be offered with casts of two to three.
Theatre in the Country is a community based dinner theatre which was founded by Reg and Erin Parks in 2013.
It was first located in east Maple Ridge, before moving to downtown Langley three years ago.
People can find out more at https://theatreinthecountry.com.
“I certainly never imagined that directing a cast of 15 with 5 roles double cast and 22 scenes could possibly be this joyful and energizing,” Ainsworth added.
Performances of Pride and Prejudice begin at 7:30 p.m.
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