Langham Court Theatre general manager Michelle Buck announces the new season, the company’s 90th, at a recent launch. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Iconic Langham Court keeps community involved in theatre

Rockland-based company continues building legacy after nine decades

When one thinks of organizations operating for 90 years, entities such as banks or insurance companies might spring to mind.

The Victoria Theatre Guild and Dramatic School, operating out of historic Langham Court Theatre, is among that elite group. The volunteer-based company, billed as the longest-running community theatre in Western Canada, recently announced the schedule for its 90th season.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend your theatre season than coming to Langham Court to enjoy some fantastic community theatre,” said general manager Michelle Buck.

The anniversary prompts her to consider people who come back year after year, either as part of the productions on or off stage, as board members or as a dedicated audience member.

“What I find amazing is how you can see people having been threaded throughout the theatre for 50, 60, 70 years, and that they’re still here, all the way from life members to volunteers that come, actors that come back and do other things,” she says.

The season kicks off Sept. 26 with the Noel Coward comedy Blithe Spirit, directed by longtime Langham Court member Toshik Bukowiecki.

Others in the season include the wartime drama Goodnight Mister Tom (directed by Shauna Baird), followed by always-fun musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Pat Rundell); the Janet Munsil-penned romantic comedy That Elusive Spark (Mercedes Bátiz-Benét); Quartet, a comedy about four aging opera singers (Jon Scheer), and finally next June, the hilarious play-within-a-play, Noises Off (Don Keith).

Rundell joins Alan Penty as planning production co-chair for the next two seasons. Not only does Rundell see the upcoming offerings as a great showcase of the skills and passions of the volunteer actors and crew, he says some surprises may be in store for audience members when his show runs Jan. 16 to Feb. 2.

“I suggest audience members start studying their dictionaries now, you’ll never know if they get called up to be part of the bee,” he says.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the tireless work of Langham Court archivist Marilyn Kuss is prominently displayed around the theatre’s lounge. Photo and information boards offer a glimpse through the decades, from the shows staged, to the people involved to the history of its venues back to 1929.

She outlined a crisis the company endured one spring in the 1960s, when the fire marshal came and ordered the aging theatre closed at the end of the season, demanding that safety upgrades be made.

“We couldn’t afford the changes so we offered the theatre for sale, for $25,000 – no takers, too much,” she says. “We couldn’t find anywhere better than this, so we stayed here, did the renos and opened on Oct. 31.”

A 1930s-themed 90th anniversary formal gala is planned for Sunday, Sept. 2 at Craigdarroch Castle. Tickets, on sale at the theatre box office (250-384-2142) until Aug. 15, are $35 and include a glass of bubbly, hors d’ouevres and live music.

For more information, visit langhamtheatre.ca.

editor@mondaymag.com

 

Langham Court Theatre archivist Marilynn Kuss stands in front of some of the historical boards she created to mark the company’s upcoming 90th season. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Just Posted

Have your New Year’s Eve set? Try out these musical gala options

Greater Victoria venues featuring local bands to ring in 2020

Ladysmith set to star in new Syfy series, Resident Alien

Island town will play the role of Patience, Colo. in the series

Jim Cuddy Band members turn trio for next Victoria show

Jan. 11 stop at the McPherson Playhouse part of the Countrywide Soul tour

The Strumbellas grow their award-winning sound organically

Juno-winning band makes a rare West Coast appearance at the Royal Theatre for Jan. 9 concert

Victoria harpist releases ‘old school’ jazz album, makes singing debut

Musician ‘blown away’ by reactions to her seventh album Songs From the Harp

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

Bursary created in memory of late Duncan musician triples in second year

Young Vancouver Island musicians in financial need can apply by Dec. 15

Talking about tubas! Annual concert attracts hundreds to Market Square

The 2019 edition of Tuba Christmas concert and fundraiser goes this Saturday in the square

Yellowpoint holiday spectacle returns this weekend

Musical variety show offers a wide range of genres, along with many of your seasonal favourites

Carolling in Cadboro Bay Village helps fund music at Mount Doug Secondary

Singing set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, in Cadboro Bay Village.

VIDEO: Celine Dion tops Billboard 200 for first time in over 17 years

‘Courage’ is Dion’s fifth album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Sooke Community Choir brings warmth to winter

This Shining Night concert features a variety of seasonal music

Most Read