Today’s Poll

Youth take the stage for The Secret Garden at the Capitol Theatre

Colin Payne
By Colin Payne
July 23rd, 2014

A new crop of young actors will be taking the stage at the Capitol Theatre this week to perform a classic piece of fiction on-stage, The Secret Garden.

Based on the novel of the same name by Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden is set in the early 20th Century and tells the story of a young English Girl named Mary who is born and raised in India until she is orphaned by a cholera outbreak, after which she’s sent to England to live with relatives she has never met. While there she comes into her own as she and a young gardener bring life to a neglected garden.

Summer Youth Program Director, Geoff Burns adds that the girl also discovers that her uncle she now lives with is still coping with the death of his wife 10 years ago, as well as his son who has a disability.

“So what happens is that Mary becomes a catalyst for the healing of this family,” Burns explains.

“One of the key themes of the play is belonging; finding your place in this family. That’s what she does when she goes to Yorkshire (in northern England).

“It’s also about building a sense of community within the students that are part of the program. It’s a nice easy connection to make with the play; what it is to fit in and be part of something.”

With many new students entering the program for the first time this year, Burns says the theme not only works well, but the play itself is well suited to the younger group this year.

“We have a much younger crowd, with about three quarters of the 32 students in the 12 to 15 range,” Burns says.

“So we thought we would do a younger style of show . . . The main character is younger and there’s a large chorus part written into the play. So it’s a really great play for people who are new to learn a lot of skills before taking on bigger parts – plus it’s good for the family audience.

The Capitol Theatre Summer Youth Program is in its 26th year this year and Burns, along with musical director Allison Girvan, have been part of it for almost 20 of those years.

A former drama teacher at LV Rogers and principal at Trafalgar, Burns says it’s the joy of working with the students, as well as working with Girvan and musical director, Lynnette Lightfoot that keeps him coming back year after year.

They have seen many students go through the program, but an exciting part this year for Burns is to see one former student come back and participate in the production.

“Our designer this year is Adriana Bogaard,” Burns says. “She’s a Nelson girl who graduate from LVR and is now studying set design at the National Theatre School in Montreal. So that’s very cool.”

The Secret Garden premiereson Thursday (July 24) at the Capitol Theatre at 7:30 p.m. and runs until Saturday, (July 26) – with an additional matinee performance on Saturday at 2 p.m.

For more information and tickets visit the Capitol Theatre online.



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