Happy Place opens Touchstone’s 2017/18 season with fantastic cast

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Touchstone’s fall production, the first of their 2017/18 season, is Happy Place by Pamela Mala Sinha. Touchstone’s Artistic Director Roy Surette makes his Directorial return for the company, supported by a top notch team of designers: Pam Johnson on Set, Christine Reimer on Costumes, Adrian Muir on Lights, with Original Music and Sound Design by Dorothy Dittrich.

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On Saturday, May 14 the Belfry will celebrate 40 illustrious seasons with a very special party

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On Saturday, May 14 the Belfry Theatre will celebrate its 40th Anniversary with a very special party. This once-in-a-lifetime party will feature performances from hit productions, spectacular food, a well-provisioned bar and some very special guests.

In this one-night-only performance, through songs and stories, we’ll celebrate our successes and gleefully recount our not-so-stellar moments.

Former Artistic Directors James Roy, Miles Potter, Glynis Leyshon and Roy Surette will join us in one form or another to regale us with their tales.

Current Artistic Director Michael Shamata has been digging through the history books to bring back to the stage, with the help of our very special guests, some of the most extraordinary performances and performers who have graced our stage.

Guests will be treated to performances from Rod Beattie (The Wingfield Series), Nicola Cavendish (Shirley Valentine), Josh Epstein (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Dean Paul Gibson and Vincent Gale (Stones In His Pockets), Jonathan Gould (Chelsea Hotel), Alison Kelly (Mom’s the Word), and Meghan Gardiner (Urinetown).

The cast of Puttin’ on the Ritz (Lauren Bowler, Andrew MacDonald-Smith, Katrina Reynolds and John Ullyatt) will also perform. Lauren Bowler and Jonathan Gould will also perform a new number from next season’s musical, I Think I’m Fallin’ – The Songs of Joni Mitchell.

Executive Director and resident foodie, Ivan Habel, has concocted an elaborate five course meal, created by Delish and Charelli’s, will be served as guests mingle.

The evening begins at 5:30 pm with champagne in the Belfry lobby and the hosted bar will be open throughout the festivities.

Dress for the evening is creative formal. No, we don’t know what that means either, but “creative” should be the watchword.

Tickets are available through the Box Office at 250-385-6815 and are $250 per person (a substantial tax receipt will be issued following the event).

In the past 40 years, and with the help of many, the Belfry has created hundreds of productions and millions of memories. Born in this tiny church in Fernwood, the plays we have created have been seen across this country and around the world.

The 40th Anniversary Celebration Sponsors are TD Bank, Pedersen’s Event Rentals and Horne Coupar, Barristers and Solicitors

Joan MacLeod’s The Valley is Topical and Emotionally Gripping

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Especially pertinent at the moment, The Valley by Victoria’s Joan MacLeod struck a nerve with the audience to create a touching, emotional journey.

Inspired by real events, this play takes larger social issues of mental health and the relationship police have with the public and breaks it into four specific stories. It manages to condense the emotional rollercoaster of two separate relationships into a spectacular two hours. Both humorous and thought-provoking, The Valley is dark and moody in the best way possible, revealing in its portrayal of the human condition.

Each of the characters have likeable qualities mixed into their troubled backgrounds and problematic traits. Along with tight dialogue and fast-paced set changes these actors manage to capture all of their emotions and display them all so honestly. It was amazing to live their breakdowns with them, and experience the cathartic release as issues resolved. The mind of depressed teenager Connor spawned imaginative and dark worlds in the mountains, and the heavy scenes of his depression were mirrored in the painted backdrop surrounding the characters. Although initially this isn’t apparent, as we delve deeper into everyone’s stories it becomes gloomier and more relatable, reflecting their emotions from every direction.

Leaving the theatre, I felt emotional and introspective. It’s a must watch for everybody who can in Victoria. The Valley plays February 2 through 28, and tickets can be purchased at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca.

The Valley comes to the Belfry

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From February 2 – 28 the Belfry Theatre will present The Valley by Victoria’s Joan MacLeod. Directed by former Belfry Artistic Director Roy Surette, The Valley stars Rebecca Auerbach, Matt Reznek, Luc Roderique (all making their Belfry debuts) and Colleen Wheeler (Proof and My Chernobyl at the Belfry).

“Relentlessly topical – and deeply empathetic” The Globe and Mail

The Valley was inspired by real events and explores the complicated and sometimes volatile relationship between law enforcement and people in the grip of mental illness.

Joan has an incredible ability to take the large social issues we all struggle with and distill them into compelling and moving stories that resonate on a deeply personal level.

“MacLeod has a wonderful ear and eye for the everyday details of Canadian life.” Calgary Herald

Her previous work, Amigo’s Blue Guitar (Belfry 1991), dealt with refugee resettlement and The Shape of a Girl (Belfry 2002) explored the aftermath of a high school bullying tragedy.

In The Valley, a dramatic police encounter at a Vancouver SkyTrain station binds four people together – Connor, an aspiring novelist who has just dropped out of university; his mother Sharon, who is dealing with his erratic behaviour; Dan, a new father and Vancouver police officer; and Janie, his wife, who is struggling with the demands of motherhood. As their stories intertwine and unfold, we learn just how hard it is to do the right thing.

“A wonderful piece of writing…not to be missed” Toronto Star

Joan MacLeod grew up in North Vancouver and studied creative writing at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.

Translated into eight languages, her work has been extensively produced around the world. Multiple simultaneous productions of her hit play The Shape of a Girl toured internationally for four years, including a soldout run in New York. Her play Amigo’s Blue Guitar won the 1991 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. Her Governor General’s Award nominations include one in 1996 for The Hope Slide / Little Sister and one in 2009 for Another Home Invasion.

In 2011 Joan won the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, which honours a professional director, playwright or designer who is an acknowledged leader in the theatre and whose work is transformative and influential. Joan is working on a new play entitled Gracie, which will premiere next year, and she continues to teach at the University of Victoria.

B4Play
Saturday, January 30 at 11 am
Join us in Studio A for a live talk show hosted by CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie, featuring Roy Surette, Joan MacLeod, and Sgt. Greg Holmes of the Victoria Police Department. Free Event.

Tower Talks
Catch an in-depth conversation with an artist from each Mainstage production in our new video series, Tower Talks. We post these to our website and YouTube channel.

Free Childcare Performance
Sunday, February 14

Take advantage of free, professional childcare (ages 3–10) at the Springridge Early Childhood Centre at 1222 Gladstone Avenue.

We only have a limited number of spots available. To book your tickets and a spot for your kids, please call our Box Office at 250-385-6815.

Afterplay
Following every evening performance of The Valley (except Opening Night and Talkback Thursday), we’ll host Afterplay – this facilitated discussion series offers patrons the opportunity to share their thoughts with fellow audience members after the show.

Talkback Thursday
Thursday, February 11

On the second Thursday performance of each show, we bring the backstage experience onstage. After the curtain call, some of the actors return to the stage to answer your questions and offer insight into the play you have just experienced. These Q & A sessions last 15 – 20 minutes.

Booksmack!
Monday, February 15 at 7 pm

The librarians are back! Fast, furious and fun, Greater Victoria Public librarians return to the Belfry for Booksmack. They will let their hair down, take off their glasses and speed review their favourite books. Booksmack is presented in partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library and is generously supported by Munro’s Books.

VocalEye Performance
Sunday, February 21

Trained Audio Describers provide descriptions of the visual elements of the show, allowing people with low vision to enjoy the theatrical experience without missing any of the details. VocalEye performances at the Belfry are generously supported by Aroga Technologies.

Show Sponsors
The Valley is generously supported by Focus Magazine and Jennifer Roberts Florist.

40th Anniversary Season Sponsors
The Belfry is generously supported by The Times Colonist, Thrifty Foods, Cook’s Day Off and Helijet.

Public Funders
The Belfry is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of BC, BC Arts Council, CRD Arts Development and the City of Victoria.

Ticket Information
Tickets for The Valley range from $23 to $48 (plus GST).Tickets are available at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca.

Rush Tickets
For our weekday evening performances we offer a limited number of last minute rush tickets at a discount. Rush tickets are:

> available at the Box Office 30 minutes before each evening performance (Tuesday to Friday),

> in person only,

> subject to availability, and

> 40% off our regular Zone 2 (Yellow Section) ticket prices.

Ticket Discounts
High School Students – 50%
University / College / Post Secondary Students – 25%
Seniors – 10%
Members of the Military – 25%
Groups (10 or more) – 10%

Performance Schedule (February 2 – 28)
Tuesdays – Thursdays at 7:30 pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinees at 1 pm (February 10, 17, 24)
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm