Langley theatre producer tackles the fairest of them all for the holidays

Royal Canadian Theatre Company presents Snow White in traditional British pantomime form

Most are familiar with the classic tale of Snow White befriending the seven dwarfs and nibbling on a poisoned apple; few however, would have seen its brand new traditional English pantomime take written by Brookswood resident Ellie King.

Founded in 2007, King’s Royal Canadian Theatre Company (RCTC) is putting on the panto play this holiday season – but the history of these productions extend far past that upcoming run date.

“We’ve put on Aladdin, Robin Hood, Sinbad, Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” King recited, naming about a dozen other famous works that have gotten the pantomime treatment over the years. “Everything is in-house original; we compose and write the lyrics every year.”

King, who grew up in Great Britain, said she can remember panto being a part of her life since she was only two-and-a-half years old.

“I didn’t know it had such a long, respectable pedigree,” King said, admitting she recently got curious about panto’s history after years of writing and performing the genre. “It’s existed well over 400 years – Shakespeare would have know about it – and it extends far past being ‘a man in dress’ type entertainment.”

Through the many iterations, King has become something of an expert when it comes to identifying all the components involved, landing at the idea that, at its most basic, pantomime plays are a fantasy/musical.

“There must be a battle of good and evil – an immortal force that sends the protagonist on a spiritual journey where they must overcome obstacles,” King described. “There are lots of forth wall breaks and soliloquies, and good always triumphs in the end.”

Despite the productions having little to do with the holidays, pantomime plays have become synonymous with Christmas because they have been traditionally held in December to bring families together.

“It’s a big undertaking,” King assured. “This time, there will be 38 people on stage.”

For Snow White, she said that a few liberties were taken to make it fit within the pantomime world and contain a role for all involved; actors of all ages from across the Lower Mainland – at all experience levels – were welcome to take part.

“We have to also be aware of cultural appropriation and political correctness, so the dwarfs were made into a family instead,” she said. “We also have open diverse casting so everyone is included.”

Read More: Cinderella, seventies style

Snow White will also be present in two relaxed performances on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 so that those with intellectual and other disabilities will feel comfortable and able to enjoy live theatre.

“It’s difficult for folks with Tourette’s and other disabilities and distracting to other audience members,” King explained. “This is the third year we’ve done this, but what we do is a specialty performance where no lights go out – all the cast come out on stage first so there are no surprises, and people are free to wander and shout.”

The bottom line for King is that, not just pantomime, but theatre in general should be accessible and entertaining for all.

“Theatre is so rare of an occupation we have ourselves to blame for a diminishing audience,” she explained. “We’ve concentrated too heavily on theatre as an art form that we’ve lost the element of fun.”

RCTC has been striving to break the more “somber” moulds of theatre by bringing nothing but comedies and lighter productions to the stage.

Snow White is a light family friendly production that King said is part of a tradition she hopes will continue for years to come.

The production runs Dec. 20 to 29 at Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave and Jan 3 and 4 at the Massey Theatre, 735 8th Ave, New Westminster.

Tickets and more information available at www.rcttheatreco.com.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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

‘Exciting’ Aldergrove Town Centre proposal clears first hurdle

Township council passes first and second readings of Janda Group’s plans for the old mall downtown

Theatre students tackle mental health in stage production

Langley actor Brayden Meehan stars in Capilano University production of 7 Stories, Feb. 4 to 8

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

VIDEO: House fire on Old Yale Road draws multiple fire units

No immediate reports of serious injuries

Rising jazz stars welcome to apply for Fort Langley festival award

Winner will receive a scholarship of $1,000 and a main stage performance opportunity

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read