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

The Langley School District has issued COVID-19 notifications for two more schools. (Langley Schools)
Two more Langley schools added to COVID exposure list

District says individuals are isolating at home

Eleven bags of litter along 200th Street was collected by seven volunteers on the weekend. (Jocelyn Titus/Special to The Star)
Seven volunteers pick eleven bags worth of trash along 200th Street in Langley

Jocelyn Titus, founder of Earth Ninjas and Clean Up Aldergrove group held a pick on Sunday

The lease on Hangar 17 at Langley Regional Airport is being disputed in court, as the Township tries to end it and the tenant tries to hold on. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Battle over Langley Airport hangar goes to Court of Appeal

A judge has frozen any eviction until the case is decided

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

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

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read