Alan Cedargreen played Frau Schackenbacken in Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s December 2016 pantomime, “Beauty and the Beast,” at Surrey Arts Centre. (file photo: Gord Goble)

Alan Cedargreen played Frau Schackenbacken in Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s December 2016 pantomime, “Beauty and the Beast,” at Surrey Arts Centre. (file photo: Gord Goble)

THEATRE

Surrey-made Christmas panto turns back clock to 2016, in video for by-donation viewing

The 90-minute version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was written and directed by Ellie King

December is typically a month when Ellie King is in a mad scramble to stage her latest panto for audiences in Surrey and elsewhere.

But not this year.

With the pandemic putting an end to such in-person gatherings, the managing artistic director of Surrey-based Royal Canadian Theatre Company is among many who have shifted to an online platform for performances.

In King’s case, she’s unearthed a 2016 production of the panto “Beauty and the Beast” for by-donation viewing on the company’s website, to be followed by the streaming of “Sleeping Beauty” in early January. Look for dates and more details at facebook.com/rctheatreco.

CLICK HERE to watch “Beauty and the Beast.”

(Story continues below)

The 90-minute version of “Beauty and the Beast,” written and directed by King, played Surrey Arts Centre four years ago, around the time RCTC was planning to move into its Whalley-area studio, at 10660 City Parkway. Rehearsals for the show, involving close to three dozen actors, took place in storefront space at Guildford Town Centre.

Fast-forward to 2020 and that panto represents the good ol’ days for Royal Canadian, which has been in limbo this year due to COVID-19.

Typically, the company’s free youth-mentorship program culminates in participants getting involved in its traditional British panto.

But again, not this year.

“RCTC has had to cancel just about all of our 2020/2021 season, although we are hoping to bring you our spring show in 2021,” King told fans of the theatre company. “We miss all our panto peeps, especially our Youth Mentorship participants, and sadly we aren’t able to present our annual Relaxed Performance for those with intellectual and other challenges.

“But don’t worry, live panto should be back in 2021 (Covid willing!) with ‘Alice in Wonderland,’” King added. “See you this time next year!”

A Langley resident, King recently celebrated 30 years of writing and directing panto shows in the Vancouver area, and has continued the tradition with Royal Canadian Theatre Company since it was established in 2006.

For those not in the know, a pantomime (or panto) is a type of musical comedy that puts a twist on an original fairytale or other story, and is usually performed around Christmastime. Goofy jokes and visual gags are part of the family-friendly fun.

“Nothing says ‘holiday season’ quite like a good, old-fashioned panto,” says King, who credits Crystal Weltzin for all the work to put the panto videos on the web. “She’s a wonderful young woman,” King added.

For viewing online, she suggests audiences eat mince pies and drink eggnog.

In the first of RCTC’s two video shows, will the lovely Beauty escape the clutches of the horrid Beast? Is the Beast really that bad? What about Herr Hanz and Herr Footz? And is Augustus Schwackenhammer really his name?

“Good and evil continue their never-ending battle and along the way we laugh, sing along, ooh and aah and have a whole lot of fun,” King says.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Live theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta Mayor George Harvie. (Submitted photo)
Mayor asks Fraser Health to reconcider North Delta vaccination site

Harvie wants a North Delta clinic to complement the South Delta location

Surrey RCMP are investigating a reported assault at Panorama Ridge Secondary. (Shane MacKichan photos)
UPDATE: Two youths arrested after assault with a weapon at Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey

School placed on a ‘hold and secure’ until safety of all students confirmed

Image Surrey.ca
Surrey to pony up one-third of cost to cover Cloverdale lacrosse box in 2022

This will be at the Cloverdale Athletic Park at 64th Avenue and 168th Street

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

On some blocks in North Delta it was nearly end-to-end refuse during the city’s 2018 Spring Clean-Up. (James Smith photo)
Delta’s Large Item Pick-Up Program starts today

Beginning March 1, residents will be able to dispose of up to four large household items per year

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read