We are very fortunate to have a tiny little “heritage” theatre in our town. It’s nestled in the trees in gorgeous Queen’s Park in New Westminster. The date on the building says 1909. It was a “recycled” run-down former Fisheries Provincial Exhibition Building, originally intended for theatre storage, but came to be home to the Vagabond Players in 1950. It’s the sweetest most charming little theatre.
The Vagabond Players were established in 1937, and were “vagabonds” for those first 13 years, performing in a variety of locations before the City of New Westminster gave them their current building. In the lobby there are feature panels that note all the plays that they have performed since they began, listed year by year. In the late 1990’s the building was named the Bernie Legge Theatre, after its most venerated actor and dedicated theatre arts ambassador.
Community theatre is so much fun. This setting is so intimate: there are 5 seats on each side of a centre aisle and about a dozen or so rows. The stage is actually quite substantial in relation to the audience!
On Saturday night I took some friends to The Vagabond Players production of “Murder by the Book”. It was a hilarious black comedy with twists and turns galore. So much fun. Not expensive, not far away at all and a delightful evening.
It’s wonderful to have a venue that is also a learning centre for people interested in acting, directing, lighting and sound, set design and costumes. It’s also a place where aspiring writers can present their new work. How fortunate are we to have this treasure in our backyard.