Special to the Record
As usual, the Blue Circle Series at the Sid Williams Theatre will feature fan favourites as well as some new treats.
Veteran Sid Williams Theatre attendees will readily recognize, and insist upon, certain annual events.
“It is a comfort level for us and for our audience,” marketing and development co-ordinator Tara Murphy says in an interview.
She is amazed by the loyal following for a Christmas concert (Dec. 10 this season) by the medieval music specialists of Winter Harp.
“I can’t believe the number of people who have made that their Christmas tradition for probably going on a decade now. It’s a very magical show.”
Blue Circle Series events, which the Sid Williams Theatre Society promotes itself, would not be complete without the Mattina Musica (Morning Music) classical series.
Organized and hosted by brilliant and popular Comox Valley-raised pianist Sarah Hagen, the series is expanding from five to six concerts.
Cellist Ariel Barnes is the guest for the MM opener Sept. 14, followed by Hagen solo, clarinetist Francois Houle, violist Marcus Takizawa, jazz pianist Søren Bebe, and soprano Anne Grimm with tenor Benjamin Butterfield.
Other returning annual favourites are the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and the Radical Reels Tour.
Ballet Victoria, which triumphantly staged Amadeus: Dances With Wolfgang last season, returns with Romeo and Juliet, and the Comic Strippers are back, literally by popular demand.
“We had a lot of feedback from people saying they were phenomenal,” says Murphy, adding that there will be five funnymen this time, up from four a year ago.
Another show for those who like to laugh is the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel by three-time Canadian Comedy Award-winning duo Peter N’ Chris. With hundreds of sellouts already, it’s a spoof of the horror and slasher film genres.
Blues hounds and yuletide lovers will be attracted by a tribute to the Blues of Christmas. Veteran Victoria band Uncle Wiggly’s Hot Shoes Blues Band will perform tunes from the 1930s through the ‘60s.
“Every year for the past three years we’ve done a patrons’ survey,” notes Murphy. “A lot of people said, ‘You know what? You’re missing a little bit of blues in your performances.’ ”
Other musical dates on the Sid calendar feature singer-songwriter Del Barber and pop-folk duo the Fortunate Ones on one bill, Lisa Brokop presenting her Patsy Cline Project, PEI roots band Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, the Mexican/Irish/country/bluegrass, etc. sounds of the Paperboys and the international influences of theatrically trained singer Patricia Cano.
More border-hopping influences will be supplied by the Spirit of India, a large production by the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers, and an evening with the African Children’s Choir.
Murphy says she and the rest of the Sid programming team are proud of the diversity in the coming season.
“We are every year, but especially this year. We did want to draw from a lot of cultural flavours.”
Because a Sid season would not be complete without theatre, the respected Arts Club Theatre of Vancouver presents Red Rock Diner, a musical re-enactment of DJ Red Robinson’s early days of spinning rock ‘n roll vinyl in Vancouver. Robinson, who grew up in Fanny Bay, will be present for one of two presentations.
Last on this list, but opening the Blue Circle Series season Sept. 12 will be Evelyn Lau. The former poet laureate of Vancouver, best-selling author and National Magazine Award winner is a powerful public speaker with an inspirational personal tale to tell.
Murphy notes there are many advantages for Sid Williams Theatre Society members and Blue Circle Series season subscribers with SID TIX, a multi-performance discount package.
For details, visit sidwilliamstheatre.com, phone 250-338-2430 (ext. 1) or visit 442 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay.