Courthouse Cultural Centre becomes Theatre B.C.’s new main stage
Vance Schneider has come home — and he’s brought Theatre B.C. with him.
The former Kamloops resident will be in charge of the provincial body’s office when it relocates from Nanaimo to the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre on Feb. 15.
The move “makes sense,” he said, because it makes the organization central and easier to be reached by the community-theatre groups outside of the Mainland than when it was on Vancouver Island.
“It’s a win-win for all of us.”
The Nanaimo office won’t completely wrap up operations until July but, with Mainstage happening in Kamloops again this year, Schneider said he’ll be hitting the ground running.
Mainstage, which runs from July 1 to July 9, is the major Theatre B.C.-adjudicated event, which sees plays chosen through 10 regional festivals brought to Kamloops for a friendly competition.
The week is augmented by workshops, morning-after critiques of performances and the wrap-up awards ceremony.
Lori Marchand, general manager of Western Canada Theatre, said the organization’s move to Kamloops is “really exiting.”
WCT has been host and major sponsor of Theatre B.C.’s New Play Festival, part of Mainstage, and supports the larger event through workshops, space, technical support and helping find adjudicators.
Schneider said the move came after discussions with the City of Kamloops.
Himself a longtime member of the North Vancouver Players, Schneider said he’s hoping to bring his own love of theatre into play, eventually creating a vibrant
theatrical segment for children and youth.
An annual children’s play in North Vancouver “was always something people looked forward to and was always sold out,” he said, and he’d like to bring that tradition to Kamloops.
Children’s plays provide opportunities for the younger, developing actor, he said, from having lines to perhaps just a non-speaking part on stage, something that tends to be lacking in many cities.
“There really isn’t much opportunity for young people,” Schneider said, “and they’re often kids who have some talent but just need some mentorship.”
This applies to the backstage needs as well, Schneider said, another area that tends to be dominated by adults.
Christmas-time plays also provide an option for families looking for something to do, he said.
But first is getting the office in order and moving ahead with Mainstage plans.
And that involves getting out into the community more, something he said he’s looking forward to.
“I lived here from Grade 3 to Grade 8,” Schneider said, “and this is like coming home.
“And it’s such a great community for the arts — there’s such an opportunity out there.”