Pub night kicks off campaign for Shaw Theatre rehearsal space, new seats

Pub night kicks off campaign for Shaw Theatre rehearsal space, new seats

The Deep Cove Stage Society is hoping its Beers & Bites fundraiser on Saturday can help kick-start its plan to replace its theatre space’s aging seats with new ones in the coming years.

“When the theatre was built 25 years ago the seats were actually purchased second-hand,” said Amy Starkey, official publicist, board member and an actor with the stage society. “The seats are actually 70 years old.”

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The stage society, Starkey said, is hopeful that many patrons, residents and supporters will be able to attend this Saturday’s event, hosted at Narrows Public House in North Vancouver.

“We wanted to make it as appealing to our patrons as possible,” Starkey said. The event will feature a silent auction, food and drink service and music from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s courtesy of a DJ, among other activities and prizes.

Starkey said the goal of the event is to raise several thousand dollars towards the approximately $15,000 required for new seats and other projects at the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre, which is the theatre space on Gallant Avenue in North Vancouver that the stage society performs at.

“When live theatre is competing with the nice, cushy seats of the brand-new Cineplex theatres – we just kind of feel like it’s important to make sure our patrons are really comfortable when they’re coming out to see shows,” Starkey said.

The Beers & Bites fundraiser is ultimately part of a larger, multi-year campaign to raise the money for the seats and a variety of other projects, including converting the exterior space at the back of the Shaw Theatre into a rehearsal space and construction workshop.

A construction workshop, Starkey said, would allow a space for a production’s set to be built that wouldn’t take space away from another production wanting to rehearse at the same time.

“What we have in mind is being able to free up the actual use of the theatre by having our set already constructed by the time we move into the theatre, which increases the amount of time we can rehearse on the set in the theatre space once we move in,” Starkey said.

On top of kick-starting a new fundraising campaign, the stage society is also preparing for its first production of 2017 and third overall for the season, Marion Bridge.
Starkey, who plays a nun named Theresa in the production, said the play is about three sisters who reunite at their family home in Cape Breton, N.S., to say goodbye to their mother who is dying from cancer.

It’s about “the power of family to really get you through tough times, even if those relationships are full of strife,” Starkey said.

Marion Bridge will also be the stage society’s entry for the 2017 North Shore Zone Festival of Plays, which occurs every spring. “Theatre BC is holding an all-Canadian festival this year to commemorate the 150th birthday. We’re actually one of the official “Canada’s 150th birthday” events across the country to celebrate. We’re pretty excited about that. And all the plays in the festival will be Canadian, by Canadian playwrights,” Starkey said.

The stage society’s production of Marion Bridge also co-stars Colleen Byberg and Lauren A. Campbell as the other sisters, Agnes and Louise. The play runs from March 30 to April 15 at Shaw Theatre.

In the meantime, those interested in attending the stage society’s Beers & Bites fundraiser this Saturday can purchase tickets for $25 by going to deepcovestage.com or calling 604-929-3200. Doors open for the event at 6:30 p.m. at the Narrows Public House in North Vancouver.

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