The cast of Avenue Q

The cast of Avenue Q

Something for everyone in 2014-15 Blue Circle Series

Mark Allan

Special to the Record

While other theatres are booking bigger, more expensive acts, the Comox Valley’s foremost performance venue focuses on the needs of its community.

“We’re everybody’s hometown theatre, so we’re trying to be affordable, we’re trying to have something that appeals to everyone and we’re trying to bring in something new,” explains Sid Williams Theatre general manager Deb Renz.

Besides operating and renting to various user groups, the Sid Williams Theatre Society is also a presenter, notes Renz.

To distinguish its offerings from local and out-of-town people who rent the 500-seat performing arts facility in downtown Courtenay, the SWTS created the Blue Circle Series.

The society, which has existed for 14 years, puts a lot of thought into each season, says Renz. Part of the reason for that is a broad mandate.

“We don’t just program music,” she explains. “We program music, we program dance, we program spoken word, we program live theatre.

“We’ve got all that and more in this season,” Renz adds about a lineup that includes all of the above genres plus comedy, films and children’s entertainment.

The 2014-15 Blue Circle Series opens Sept. 19 with Vancouver bands The Matinee and Good For Grapes. It ends May 8 with Canadian slam poet Brendan McLeod and the Fugitives.

Acts in between include the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Broadway hit Avenue Q, Black Umfolosi from Zimbabwe, Sarah Hagen’s Mattina Musica classical music series, Ballet Victoria, Radical Reels and the Comic Strippers.

Renz says programmers take demographics into account.

“The main demographic for the majority of events is seniors, and then the next one is (baby) boomers.”

Presenters renting the theatre that cater to youth include Rainbow Youth Theatre, CYMC (Comox Valley Youth Music Centre) and local dance studios.

“There’s a huge amount of programming in the theatre already,” notes Renz. “We’re trying to catch that 18-to-25, 18-to-30 group that doesn’t come to the theatre a whole lot yet.”

Accordingly, several Blue Circle double bills this season will feature more than one musical act aimed at a younger demographic.

At a time when the price of everything — including entertainment — keeps rising, the Sid has been forced to raise ticket prices in the past few years.

“This season, we’ve actually dropped quite a few of our ticket prices,” Renz reveals. “The lowest price is always connected with a volume buy. If you go in the lobby you’ll see tons of posters that say, “Ask us about four or more.’

“Individuals or organizations or businesses that want to do a group buy … there’s also a lowest-price option for that.



See SID, Page B2


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

Just Posted

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

School District 71’s final budget for this school year showed more revenue from distance learning students but less from traditional classroom registration. Record file photo
Comox Valley Schools’ budget grant almost $5.5 million higher than planned

Increase came from a boost in distributed learning rather traditional registration

A&W on Ryan Road confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their restaurant and temporarily shut its doors. Google Maps photo
Courtenay restaurant temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure

It’s the latest business in the Valley to be affected by the virus

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read