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Thespians hit stage for last time at Lower Mainland university

Curtain goes up on Trinity Western farewell production, after a 2021 decision to axe theatre program

Three years after announcing the closure of the Trinity Western University’s theatre program, the final semester is coming to an end and the cast for the farewell production is preparing to take the stage.

The theatre department closes this spring, but before it does, students, faculty, and community members are working to make their last-ever show unforgettable, said director Kate Muchmore Woo, who is an assistant professor at TWU and co-chair of the department.

“As the TWU theatre department comes to a close, we end with a joyous celebration of love, magic, and dreams,” she said.

On Tuesday, March 12, they’ll raise the curtain on William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ set in Athen’s in the “not-so-distant future” when the climate has changed, and humanity has learned to survive in a harsh world with sparse resources.

Leading up to next week’s premiere, the team has been hard at work creating a piece of theatre that celebrates the love, struggle, hopes, and dreams that were integral parts of the department through its many years, Muchmore said.

Graduating student Tahlia Wine plays Hippolyta/Titania. She reflected on her time in the theatre department and the show.

“I am the last BFA (bachelor of fine arts) at Trinity. It’s an honour to be able to graduate with my degree this spring and to have participated in the last show here,” Wine said.

“This department and the experiences I’ve been given have truly changed my life profoundly. I think something that resonates with me about this story is the importance of seeing things for what they really are.”

She elaborated, explaining how in the story, there is a potion that gets cast on the eyes of some of the characters, causing them to see the other characters differently.

“I think that it is easy for us to get distracted and focused on the wrong things. We don’t always see other people or situations clearly,” Wine concluded.

Fellow student Seth Schouten, a theatre major who’s minoring in English, plays opposite Wine as Theseus/Oberon.

“I am met with an overwhelming sense of legacy. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ makes for the pre-mature ending of 30 years of theatre storytelling here at TWU, he said.

“This program has spent the last decades changing and transforming the lives of so many who have come within its vicinity. From my own personal experience, I know that I would not be the person I am today if I had not stepped through SAMC Theatre’s doors,” said Schouten.

Being a small piece of the cast to say goodbye to what he calls “such a beautiful, unique program” he described as “both a privilege and a great weight.”

He concluded: “More than anything, I mourn for all the students after me who will never get to know this beautiful place.”

Students from departments outside of theatre are also part of this final production, including Abby Imbeau.

A third-year English major who is minoring in art, Imbeau regrets only having the opportunity to be in this final show.

“This has been such a fantastic experience, and I am disheartened to know that I will not be able to do it again. I think theatre is a fantastic tool to build community and participate in one of the greatest, oldest traditions of storytelling.

“ As this is the final production of the department, I want to give it my everything to pay tribute to the work, energy, and emotion that has been put into every production that has come before it,” Imbeau added.

Tomiwa Kayode-Farombi is a first-year major in interdisciplinary of biotechnology and business student. Kayode-Farombi will play Mustardseed in her first and last production at TWU.

“I feel honoured to be part of the final production for the department even though I just got into the school and wish I could participate in more.”

Muchmore has taught at TWU for more than 11 years, and reflected on bringing this production and the department to a close.

“This time at TWU has been a difficult one, with the imminent closure of the theatre department and the end of my career at TWU,” she said.

“When the decision was made in 2021, there was definitely a time of desolation I had to work through. Now, however, I look forward to the new beginnings God is bringing into my life, and can’t wait to celebrate those. This story, in this conception, is one in which characters’ relationships and their environment are enduring a period of desolation,” said Muchmore.

“By the end of the show, however, these things are healing and there is a great celebration. It is a bittersweet way to end our time at TWU,” she noted.

The show runs March 12 to 23, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., as well as Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, March 12 is preview night with free concessions at intermission, then there’s a meet-the-cast after the March 13’s official opening night.

“If you like Shakespeare, theatre, or just want a good laugh, SAMC Theatre’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is for you,” added Schouten.

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