Reg Parks, artistic director for Theatre in the Country. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Reg Parks, artistic director for Theatre in the Country. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley drama group doing everything they can to stay open

Theatre in the Country team thinks outside the box and uses props for social distancing

by Ari Lee/Special to the Langley Advance Times

COVID-19 has interrupted many aspects of socialization – Theatre in the Country, a community-based dinner theatre in Langley, is no exception.

Before the pandemic, the audience would often interact with the actors after each show.

With COVID guidelines set in place, the theatre has to empty as soon as possible.

They have also had to reduce their seating by 75 per cent – having gone from 200 to 50 seats maximum occupied per show.

Reg Parks is the artistic director of Theatre in the Country and he has received sincere gratitude for following the protocols and keeping good practice. Many of his attendees have thanked him for being able to keep the audience and community members safe during his shows.

Another obvious change had to be made amid the pandemic. Theatre in the Country has opted to only showcase productions with smaller casts, Parks cancelling any plans for bigger shows because it would breach COVID-19 guidelines.

RELATED: Langley’s Theatre in the Country to make a killing with grand reopening

Shows having 35 or more actors have to be postponed until after the pandemic is over, he explained.

Parks has also had to limit the lines to food service areas, limit guest counts per table with a maximum of six, and uphold the restaurant guidelines set out by Fraser Health.

While following COVID restrictions, Parks has had to find a new way to cater towards not only his audience, but maintaining his business as well, and in doing so Parks added a third play to his list of showings, instead of the typical two.

“Economically it [COVID-19] has been a significant hit for us,” said Parks.

Even showcasing the theatre’s work has come with many challenges. For instance, Fraser Health requires actors to be behind a barrier when singing.

“We’ve also done 22 online plays where all of the actors are performing from home, and people are watching from home,” explained Parks, noting the online services were convenient as it attracts audiences from all parts of the world.

RELATED – VIDEO: Theatre in the Country offering weekly performances through Zoom

“We are the only dinner theatre in the Lower Mainland that does classic theatre pieces,” said Parks.

One of the theatre’s shows that Parks has added to his set is the currently running Sleuth, a 1970 classic murder mystery. The focus is around two men working towards their wants and desires with twists and surprises.

Unfortunately, Sleuth is not streamable because Parks was unable to obtain the proper streaming licence.

Parks explained that he is only allowed to obtain licences for certain shows. Licensing agencies are based in New York and have different rules for each of the theatre pieces because they are under contract and have obligations to the authors.

Although Parks is still new to the idea of streaming, the process has been easy.

Parks is thankful that he is able to continue the shows as he acknowledges other places have stricter rules in place.

Sleuth is available at the theatre from Oct. 23 to Nov. 7, Billy Bishop goes to war is showing from Nov. 11 to 14, and TIC Socially Distant is available from Dec.3 to 9.



Is there more to this story?


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter



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

Just Posted

Glitter is a plastic that gets into places it should not and is part of the growing micro-plastics environmental problem. (Wikimedia Commons)
LETTER: Give gifts that stand the test of time, Langley student suggests

A school assignment got a local student thinking about the enviromental impacts of gift giving

Douglas Park Community Elementary administrative assistant Kim Langford has been instrumental in the school’s food programs and event takes extra food out into the community, feeding local street people. To prevent waste, she also forged links with local farms which take excess food not suitable for people for their farm animals. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley City administrative assistant finds food builds bonds with students and families

Kim Langford used to work in banking and accounting. She finds a better rate of return in education

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judge ponders case of alleged conflict over Langley Township council donations

The mayor and two sitting councillors could be removed from office

Brookswood Starbucks manager Sonja Olsen posed for a photo on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 at the store located at 40th Avenue and 200 Street with some of the many cards for seniors her customers have filled out (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Christmas cards for seniors idea by Brookswood Starbucks takes off

Idea is to make the holidays a little less lonely for older people in care homes during pandemic

Readers enjoy the letters to Santa from local children. Here’s one from a previous Christmas. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley’s community newspaper wants local kids letters to Santa

Children’s letters to the St. Nick could be featured in our annual special Christmas section

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge

Rhonda Clough said 34-year-old son suffering with bipolar disorder should have been kept in hospital

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Most Read