Trinity Western University is reducing its arts programs. A local letter writer laments the loss but encourages the community support the various area groups doing live performance, including Theatre in the Country. (TIC/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

LETTER: Loss of TWU programming spotlights importance of arts, Langley man says

The community is home to several groups offering live theatre

Dear Editor,

Re: [TWU staff lose faith in leader, Langley Advance Times, July 29]

I am writing this letter to raise awareness on the importance of supporting the arts locally.

I would specifically like to address the article published on July 29 in the Langley Advance Times regarding the closure of the theatre program at Trinity Western University.

Servant leadership, which is a core value at TWU, is shared by the majority of societies, non-profit organizations and enterprises.

Putting on a live show is community outreach with a servant heart. The majority of performers are willing to help and serve with a “can do” attitude. Graduates from theatre programs are equipped to connect, be innovative and creative in the workforce, be apt in marketing strategies, and learn to work in group settings. Contrary to popular belief, there is no room for ego when it comes to putting on a show. It is very much a collaborative, family-like atmosphere. Theatre programs prepare students to be critical thinkers, to be flexible, and to think outside of the box, whether they intend to pursue an acting career or not.

For the past few summers, I have implemented a theatre festival at the Langley Little Theatre that showcases new works by local playwrights, and I can attest that the TWU Theatre students are extremely collaborative and appreciative. It is always a pleasure to work alongside them.

This is why I would like to appeal to your readers that we need to support our local theatre students and to subscribe to their theatre lineup. Exposing oneself to a season of plays instead of a singular theatrical performance introduces you to a variety of productions. It is self-education at its finest.

The closure of these programs is a huge loss for our community. Like many other facets in life as well as countless businesses, there are ups and downs. It may be that a season is not as appealing as another season. Theatregoers are hard to figure out, and sometimes, there is no reason why one project may fail financially – but that is no reason to automatically cut the arts.

I would like to emphasize that our local community theatres provide great entertainment. This region has quite a few theatre companies/societies that provide entertainment for those seeking an affordable night out.

Within close proximity and within 15 to 20 minutes of driving distance between each venue, here is a quick list of theatrical production companies that strive to provide quality entertainment.

Please venture out and support our local artists, particularly the theatre department at TWU. The message needs to be loud and clear that there is ample opportunity for involvement and engagement with our local theatre and drama societies. It is important to support these initiatives in our own backyard, especially after being deeply affected by Covid-19.

1) The SAMC Theatre (at Trinity Western University). Currently, three seasons away from shutting down (unless we can convince them otherwise), these are the actors of tomorrow. Their productions are always very well done and the calibre of acting is superb. Located on the way to Fort Langley, it is a worthwhile detour. []

2) Theatre In the Country. Located on Glover near the bus terminal, these folks offer comedies, dramas, musicals and dinner theatre. []

3) Bard in the Valley. Managed by a young group of dedicated and friendly thespians, they traditionally produce one Shakespeare production in the summertime, either for free or by donation. Just bring a lawn chair to Douglas Park and enjoy. []

4) Langley Little Theatre. The newly amalgamated societies joining Langley Players and Surrey Little Theatre, this club provides high-quality entertainment, traditionally producing three productions per season, and a one-week festival in the summer showcasing new plays written by new playwrights. []

5) White Rock Players. Traditionally producing a variety of productions, including a Christmas pantomime. Easy to drive to and very accessible theatre for everyone. []

Shane Rochon, Langley


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