In her younger years, Thea Stavroff focused on educating and touching people’s hearts with her theatre work, but today she realizes the value of laughter, she said, which there’s no shortage of in her upcoming Christmas production at the Village Theatre.
“I think laughter is a wonderful stress reliever, it just feels good to laugh, so I’m delighted to be doing a play where that’s its whole purpose.”
Stavroff will be directing The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswoman’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol for Echo Players opening Dec. 13 and running to the 29th.
When she heard the title of the play, Stavroff said she laughed out loud, and continued to do so as she read the rest of the script.
Stavroff grew up in Vancouver and started acting at age five when she took acting lessons from a playwright and theatre enthusiast living on her street.
“Her husband built a theatre in the basement so there was a stage area with a curtain, the coal bin was converted into a costume room, and we would pay 25 cents a week to take acting lessons and put on a play.”
Later when Stavroff moved over to the Island, she put on one of those children’s plays at the Errington Hall. It was so well received she was encouraged to do it again, so when the artistic director of Echo Players put out a call for ideas from the community, she jumped at the chance.
Stavroff put out a press release inviting children to come take part in the play called Aladdin, which her Vancouevr teacher had written all in rhyme. She was expecting maybe 30 children to come forward, but she got 86.
“We had to divide it into a young and older cast, and each group did six performances. I needed to do a lot of rehearsing and organizing, but all those kids got to be in it.”
She invited her teacher to come over from Vancouver to watch the production.
Stavroff has taken a lot of workshops over the years through Theatre BC and privately. She began directing children’s plays 25 years ago in the area so she could get her four children involved in theatre, she said. She has both starred in and directed many plays in the area to date, some which have won awards locally and provincially. Many have come to know her for her popular Summer Youth Theatre Workshop.
Stavroff said she loves directing because she enjoys the creativity in bringing the written words to life and working with so many enthusiastic theatre volunteers. Although there are only five actors in the upcoming Christmas production, she said upwards of 65 are involved in the production. As the days progress leading up to the performance, Stavroff said the play begins to change form.
“It’s a whole evolution before it gets to stage, and then once gets to the stage it takes on a life of its own. And as a director I step back and then it belongs to the actors and the stage manager.”
The Townwomen’s Production (we’ll call it for brevity’s sake) is a twisted, comedic version of the Dickens classic tale A Christmas Carol. Don’t miss this family show (recommended for ages eight and up) beginning Dec. 13 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach. Tickets are $18, $15 for seniors and $10 for students. Stop by the box office in Qualicum Beach during office hours at 110 West 2nd Ave, or call 250-752-3522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.echoplayers.ca for more information.