Gwen Pharis Ringwood

Gwen Pharis Ringwood

WL Studio Theatre honours its founder

The Williams Lake Studio Theatre is celebrating its 60th anniversary of bringing live theatre to our community.

Cathie Hamm

Mary-Jo Hilyer

Special to the Tribune

The Williams Lake Studio Theatre is celebrating its 60th anniversary of bringing live theatre to our community.

This season we are celebrating the passion and commitment of our many volunteers, our sponsors, and the audiences who have come out to cheer us on.

As part of our 60th anniversary celebrations, we are honouring Gwen Pharis Ringwood.

Sixty years ago, Ringwood founded our group, shortly after she and her family moved to Williams Lake in 1953. Her husband Barney established a medical practice here.

Ringwood was already an award-winning playwright and “community theatre activist.” In March 1955, she gathered a troop together to perform two short plays, Dark Brown and Orange Blossoms, the details of which are lost in the mists of time.

Performances happened sporadically over the next few years, or at least our records of them are sporadic, but the Williams Lake Players Club was born.

In the 1980s we changed our name to the Williams Lake Studio Theatre and became a registered society.

Many plays have crossed our stage, which is now at our Glendale location, where we have been for 26 years thanks to School District 27.

We are currently committed to performing three to five shows per year.

Our 60th anniversary season lineup started out with the production of The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow, directed by long-time member Curt Sprickerhoff which started its two-week run Wednesday.

We have teamed up with The Point Restaurant to bring you an awesome night of dinner theatre. The 39 Steps running Nov. 12-15 and Nov. 19-22.

Our 60th GALA evening is the final night night of The 39 Steps on Saturday, Nov. 22.

Our season will continue with Die Theatrically by Mat Kelly Jan. 14-17 and Jan. 21-24, 2015.

Director Mark Berezan presents this farce in which detectives Jane and Tom investigate a murder at a community theatre’s all female production of Macbeth the Musical.

But is it murder? Or a double murder? Or a murder/suicide?

Then in March, our anniversary month, we present two plays written by our founder Gwen Pharis Ringwood. Ringwood was raised on the Prairies, in Alberta, and captured the flavour of frontier life there early in her playwriting career, notably in Still Stands The House (1938).

It is her most famous play, and is a tense story about a family coming apart. Garage Sale (circa 1980) is dedicated to her husband, Barney, and is a pleasant tale of an older couple finding a new direction for their life together while watching their neighbour’s garage sale.

It was one of her last plays, and it shows a change in her understanding of the human psyche. These plays are directed by Cathie Hamm and Sylvia Swift, and run March 11-14 and March 18-21, 2015.

Finally we present Proof by David Auburn, directed by Sheryl-Lynn Lewis.

In this play Catherine doubts her sanity and negotiates with a young math professor who is overly zealous about her father’s work.

She is also expecting the arrival of her busy-body older sister.

Proof explores the unknowability of love and the mystery of genius. The play runs May 6-9 and May 13-16, 2015.

Theatre is fun, entertaining, challenging, and a great way to get involved in the community.

Please join us to help us celebrate our 60th season, either by helping out with a play, coming out to watch a performance, or supporting us financially, and help keep live theatre in our community for another 60 years.