Belfry Theatre artistic director Michael Shamata unveils the new season Wednesday in the newly renamed BMO Studio Theatre. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

Belfry Theatre artistic director Michael Shamata unveils the new season Wednesday in the newly renamed BMO Studio Theatre. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

WATCH: A red-letter day for The Belfry Theatre

Company unveils new season, new name on studio theatre as part of major funding announcement

It was an afternoon of celebrations for the Belfry Theatre.

Wednesday saw not only the announcement of the new season for the iconic Fernwood company, but a thank you to a major sponsor for helping make patrons more comfortable in the smaller of the Belfry’s two live theatre venues.

BMO Financial Group’s contribution of $100,000 to the Belfry’s capital campaign not only earned it naming rights for the newly christened BMO Studio Theatre, it helped pay for new padded seats. BMO’s assistance also helped the Belfry leverage other funding from the province, which will help cover the cost of replacing outdated production lighting with more efficient – and far less hot – LED lights.

“The importance of a major gift like this to the upgrade and maintenance of an arts facility cannot be overstated,” Belfry Theatre executive director Ivan Habel said in a video statement from Toronto. He was there representing the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres in contract negotiations with the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association.

The 2019-20 season kicks off this summer (July 30-Aug. 18) with BOOM X, a multimedia masterpiece written, directed and performed by Rick Miller. It’s a follow-up to BOOM, which came to the Belfry in 2015 and saw Miller portray personalities from music, culture and politics in the Baby Boom era.

BOOM X, not surprisingly, pushes the clock forward, starting at Woodstock in 1969 and features a cross-section of imagery and personality portrayal from Generation X. It’s his own story of growing up and trying to navigate the tangled legacy of the Baby Boom.

Following productions include (with artistic director Michael Shamata’s comments):

The Children, by Lucy Kirkwood (Sept. 17-Oct. 13) – “Award-winning playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s brilliant play asks big questions about the responsibility we face to leave a better world for the next generation. How do we reconcile our mistakes with their impact on the future, and who is meant to clean up after us?”

Bang Bang, by Kat Sandler (Oct. 29-Nov. 24) “It’s a super funny sitcom style comedy – allowing is to laugh at serious issues and timely themes – including racial profiling, voice appropriation, ego, selfishness and the sometimes incomprehensible world of the theatre.”

Every Brilliant Thing, by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe (Dec. 3-22) – “This is simply one of the most moving pieces of theatre I have ever seen. It is so full of life, and pain, and joy and yearning– it overflows with humanity. And its remarkable use of the audience as participants in the storytelling makes for a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience.”

The Ministry of Grace, by Tara Beagan (Feb. 4-March 1, 2020) – “It’s like a sprawling Steinbeck novel – a real saga – of encountering hypocrisy and evil, while clinging to the beliefs that guide you. Produced by the Belfry and created by an all-Indigenous team, including designer Andy Moro and writer/director Tara Began, one of our leading playwrights.”

1979, by Michael Healey (April 21-May 17, 2020) – Politics can be nasty; in Michael Healey’s hands, they can be very funny, too. Characters such as Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Maureen McTeer and even a very young Stephen Harper come tumbling through the revolving door of the Prime Minister’s Office. But what I really love is the tension between principles and politics in this play, making it incredibly apt for these times.”

Spark Festival (March 9-22)

For ticket and other information, stay tuned to belfry.bc.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live theatre

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

Just Posted

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Stephen Laidlaw, prepator with Nanaimo Art Gallery, hangs a photograph of Anna Wong, a B.C. print maker whose works are on display at the gallery. The exhibit opens Friday, Dec. 4, and runs until Feb. 7. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores life work of overlooked B.C. printmaker

‘Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads’ features more than 70 art works and personal belongings

Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus released their first joint album, <em>The Invasion</em>. (Photo courtesy Raymond Knight)
Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus release first joint album

Duo plan elaborate live-streamed CD release for ‘The Invasion’

Next month Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases his solo debut album, ‘Wildlife.’ (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases solo debut album

New record ‘Wildlife’ about taking chances and going through changes

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

Most Read