Terry Fox Theatre: The Venue of Opportunity

The new tagline for Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Theatre sums up everything General Manager Mandara Lebovitz hopes for the direction the venue is taking this season and into the future.

“We’re working to make the Terry Fox Theatre a success story in the arts,” she tells me, explaining the vision of the current management team as we take a stroll through the auditorium. The theatre’s future lies with students in the adjoining high school, the community and the city itself.

And with events including singer-songwriter T.Nile, a Nora and Delia Ephron play, a Celtic music ensemble and the triumphant return of Pecha Kucha Night to the Tri Cities all coming up in November, this is a vision that won’t be hard to fulfill.

Terry Fox Theatre As a joint use community/school facility, the Tri Cities’ largest proscenium theatre has a mandate for serving both school interests and the community. This means that Terry Fox Secondary School students can expect to gain useful experience treading the boards of the stage, with the possibility of learning about stagecraft, set design and other allied skills in the future. Pointing out the proximity of school classrooms for stage and allied crafts, in addition to performing art studios, Lebovitz explains how closely the future of the theatre is tied to the school and its students. As one of the few professional theatres attached to a school in BC, the Terry Fox Theatre can give students a unique opportunity. Her recent experience with hosting the film crew for Supernatural who filmed at the theatre this summer (this episode, the series’ 200th, screens around November 4), reinforced this.

“Speaking with the professionals involved in the filming”, Lebovitz says, “I realised we could give students here a head start. Most of the crew talked about where they had first started an interest in theatre, and for most it was in high school, often when they weren’t sure which direction to head in life.”

In addition to in-school opportunities, the theatre is now offering improv workshops, where Graham Myers of Second Storey Theatre guides all ages through after school program sessions held in the recently refurbished studio space tucked away above the main stage. Other out-of-school plans include Spring Break camps (so don’t forget to bookmark the website!).

In the last year, the local school district took over management for the facility form a local non-profit. Its mandate is to increase accessibility for students during the day while continuing to provide a top class performance venue for the community, welcoming back regular clients from the past in addition to attracting exciting new programming.

Terry Fox TheatreSo, in addition to nurturing local up and coming talent, the theatre gives local groups access to a superb performance venue that will welcome back old clients. The team also aim to encourage new shows to thrill, delight and inspire new local audiences. Although prime time slots are popular, smaller groups should look into off peak performance slots for good value, hints Lebovitz.

As one of these new events, promising to be a regular occurrence, Lebovitz is bringing Pecha Kucha Night to the Terry Fox Theatre this November (Saturday, November 21st) with an exciting line up of inspiring local speakers. An old hand at PKN, Lebovitz is excited to be bringing the event to the Terry Fox stage, remembering what a thrill it is to bring together an eclectic assortment of speakers. She feels a responsibility to let the contributing artists get their messages out, noting that in the past, many of the most effective presenters come right out of the blue.

This month’s line up for PKN includes fibre artists, a pro wrestler, a paralympian and former Rock the Fox alumnus, Jaret Stodola who is going to talk about how the arts changed his life and led to a recording arts career. As Lebovitz describes it, there is a theme developing – cerebral balanced with physicality in art.

“It’s always a mixed box of chocolates,” she finishes. And just like the sweet treats, one that is best experienced at first hand. Get your tickets before they disappear!

Terry Fox Theatre

1260 Riverwood Gate, Port Coquitlam

Upcoming Events for November

Pecha Kucha Night Tri Cities returns to the stage with 11 inspiring speakers
Friday, November 21 | Doors at 6:30pm | Show 7:30pm | Tickets: $12 ONLINE | $15 CASH at the Door

Fast Forward | North Shore Celtic Ensemble inspires kids to explore who they are as musicians, to push themselves artistically and to come into their own as socially-conscious members of society.
Saturday, November 22 | 7:30pm | Tickets: $25 Adults | $15 Students, Seniors, Children ONLINE

T.Nile – Tingle and Spark Tour with Special Guests Bridgeworks & The Specifics – A night of Indie original music, co-presented by Port Coquitlam Performing Arts Society & Terry Fox Theatre
Thursday, November 27 | 7:30pm | Tickets: $15 Adults; $12 Students Online sales coming soon!

Note: cash only at the door on performance night

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