There will be a new opportunity for youth in Maple Ridge to get involved in theatre.
PLAY, which is the acronym for Professional Live Arts for Youth, is a non-profit company that promotes itself as “dedicated to bringing affordable and professional arts programs to families across the Lower Mainland.”
The group’s goal is to provide programs to every family regardless of their financial situation and it is coming to Maple Ridge this fall, says director Brad Tones.
“Maple Ridge has a very strong arts community right now,” said Tones.
The ACT and parks and recreation services partner to provide many quality programs to children and youth in the area, which is why PLAY hasn’t felt the need to enter the market until now.
But the group is setting up here because Tones lives in Maple Ridge and has two daughters who have been asking him to bring a class here.
“And a father does what his daughter’s ask of him,” he said.
Tones will open two classes in Maple Ridge at the Open Door Church in Hammond.
The first is a music and movement class, where kids ages 4-6 get a chance to “open up and dance their little hearts away,” he said.
They will be dancing to current music and telling the story of a well known fairy tale along the way.
The second class is for the 7-12 age group. Those kids will be taking on a shortened musical theatre version of The Little Mermaid.
The classes will be small, with a maximum of 12 students.
They will run for a hour and a half on Wednesday nights for 10 weeks.
Families pay $50 per child for the class with no extra costs for costumes or tickets to a final show, said Tones.
There is assistance available to families that need it.
PLAY is able to do this because of its foundation partner, the Barbara Howard Student Arts Program, Tones explained.
This program was created in honour of Howard, who was the first person of colour to compete for Canada on an international level. She ran the 100-metre sprint at the Empire Games of 1938.
She was also the first minority to be hired by the Vancouver school board, when she was employed as a physical education teacher in 1954.
She is now 95, lives in Burnaby, and is still an avid supporter of the arts.
PLAY has supported many communities in different ways. Langley, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Burnaby and North Vancouver currently run programming such as drama, musical theatre, improv, mask, comic book creation and play making.
They have even hosted Colin Mochrie from Who’s line is it anyway? to perform at their anniversary event with his wife Deb.
• For more information about PLAY call 604-612-9713. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.