What started with a drawing of a boot on a napkin in a restaurant has led to a group of friends who provide volunteer work as the set crew for Rivercity Players.
This diverse group, also known as ‘the boys,’ started out brainstorming ideas for the large boot that formed the set for the pantomime Mother Goose. Since then, they have tackled numerous other sets – including the upcoming show Who’s On First which opens Oct. 22 – as well as taking on the challenge of converting the clubhouse into a small theatre.
The Campbell River Volunteer Centre was responsible for a couple of the volunteers: John Hawkins and John Phillips. Phillips, a retired English teacher who built furniture as a hobby, responded to the call for carpenters to renovate the theatre.
“It’s been quite an adventure,” Phillips said, “when they told me what they planned to do with this place, I thought, you are out of your mind! You are all nuts!”
Yet, the theatre is coming along beautifully.
“Once the renos were basically done,” said Phillips, “they thought I would leave, but I asked if I could stay and help with the sets.”
Phil Atkinson, who formerly worked in the military and industry, serves as President of Rivercity Players. He explained that the group meets on Tuesday and Thursdays to work on whatever projects are needed.
They have just finished renovating the green room, as well as tackling the set for the upcoming production, Who’s on First?, which features a tricky cabinet built from scratch.
Other members of the crew are Ivan Ward (former Telus employee), John Godfrey (former science teacher and long time Rivercity Players member), Geoff Sanders (former Coast Guard Captain) and John Hawkins (former Print Graphics).
What keeps them coming?
“The companionship of a really nice bunch of guys,” said Ward.
“We work on projects,” said Atkinson, “we eat, we talk, we laugh.”
“I like the insanity,” said Godfrey.
“I learn something new every week, some of it is even useful” said Hawkins.
The biggest challenge so far has been the set for Noises Off! for which they created a 24 foot by eight-foot stage that had to turn around in a space not much bigger.
“It was a huge challenge for us,” said Atkinson, “it worked because the director was willing to allow us to be creative.”
If you haven’t visited the Rivercity Stage yet, you can have a look while attending Who’s on First? The play is suitable for all ages, and opens Oct. 22 and runs through to Nov. 7. The shows start at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee starting at 2 p.m. on Nov. 1.
Tickets are available at Impressions Gallery, Campbell River Laundromat, and the Rivercity Stage (Wednesdays 12-2 p.m.) for $20. They are also available online at rivercityplayers.ca for $22, and the website also has information on the various ways you can volunteer.