As one of Canada’s most culturally diverse communities, Surrey has a lot to offer its Arts Community. One theatre company that’s been making waves in Surrey for nearly half a decade is The Beach House Theatre Society. What makes them stand out? They’ve married al fresco theatre with one of Surrey’s most magnificent landmarks… picturesque Crescent Beach. The boardwalk, that view, the lapping tide, and an abundance of restaurants and shops make Crescent Beach a natural playground and a popular setting for creating magical memories. In fact, it’s hard to picture anything more beautiful than Crescent Beach on a summer evening, unless of course, you imagine the sprawling shore and its unspoiled view as the breathtaking backdrop to some of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays.
The Beach House Theatre Society have been mesmerising audiences with their special brand of magic since 2012, staging well-loved classics by The Bard like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Much Ado About Nothing. It’s never too early to introduce children to the magic of the theatre, so each year there’s also a show specially tailored to the very young (and young at heart).
Beach House may have started with William Shakespeare, but there’s no rule when it comes to diversifying their repertoire. (After all, Shakespeare’s wordplay isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!) In 2015 they mounted The Importance of Being Earnest, the witty, delightful and wildly successful play by Oscar Wilde, and arguably one of the greatest comedies ever written.
The Beach House Theatre Society is the brainchild of Artistic Directors Rick Harmon and Candace Radcliffe, both theatre teachers at Surrey’s Earl Marriott Secondary School. Radcliffe gathered some of her closest colleagues and humbly suggested that they stage a little outdoor production of Shakespeare on the beach. Before they could say “To be, or not to be,” Beach House Theatre had grown quickly into the established non-profit society it is today, complete with an enthusiastic Board of Directors and a dedicated and professional production team. (It was ‘to be’, obviously!)
What we really find special about The Beach House Theatre Society (apart from the top-notch entertainment and epic setting), is their commitment to the community. They strive to provide an inspirational, cultural and artistic experience with education and mentorship at its core. Their productions incorporate local youth as actors, technicians, and crew members. They enlist the help of numerous local volunteers and employ hundreds of local artists and technicians, who are proud to keep their talent close to home.
The Beach House Theatre Society is proof of what’s possible when you cocktail a bright idea, a stunning backdrop, a whole lot of heart and the drive of a dedicated Arts Community.
If you’re around to catch one of their performances, thank your lucky stars. You’ll be under them, after all.