Fernwood Village is a small urban community in central Victoria, BC. Many people are drawn to the area because of its unique and friendly vibe. It has a similar style to Commercial Drive in Vancouver with a diverse and organic style of restaurants and shops.
And right in the middle of all this stands the beautiful and inviting Belfry Theatre. The company’s professional theatre group has been cranking out plays since the 1970s, earning themselves a reputation of producing top quality plays for a wide range of audiences.
This Attraction’s History has a Humble Beginning
The theatre building was first established as a Baptist Church in the late 1800s, and then was used partially as a homeless shelter before a small group of brilliant drama lovers started a theatre group and shared space with a few other businesses. Back then, Fernwood Village hadn’t really developed into anything unique yet, so venues were small and it took many years before the theatre group had the whole place to themselves.
By the year 2000, major restorative work had been done and even earned status from the Hallmark Society and the Heritage Society of BC, turning Fernwood Village into a cultural landmark.
The Belfry Theatre Offers More than Just Plays for Adults
In 30 years, the theater has produced 230 plays, and many of them have rippled out across Canada, the US, and even abroad to Europe and Australia. You can expect to see 12 new plays a year, and most of them are Canadian, though there will be a non-Canadian production from time to time to keep it interesting.
It’s not all plays up on the stage though; often there are lectures and seminars, music, kids’ entertainment, and freebies. From the Belfry’s online calendar, here is a schedule of what’s to come.
What to Expect in the 2014 Season
“The Bomb-itty of Errors” will be playing from August 5 to the 24th. It’s a twist on the classic Shakespearean tale “The Comedy of Errors” but done in a hip-hop style, incorporating classic Elizabethan language with a rhythmic flow, intelligent humour, and clever writing.
Then from September 16 to October 19th, there is “The Rez Sisters”, a play about seven women (all of whom are related to each other!) leaving their reservation for a road trip to Ontario and “The Biggest Bingo in the World”. The play has already received awards such as the Dora Award for Outstanding New Play and the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award.
From October 21st to November 2nd is a musical number called “Spring Awakening”. It’s a daring play filled with rebellion, poignancy, and passion as a group of teens wrestle with both their emerging sexuality and their struggle to find their place in the world. What will happen to them? Find out at the Belfry.
Closing out the 2014 season is “Venus in Fur”, which will be featured from November 11to December 14th. This Tony Award nominated adaptation focuses on the tables turning on a young actress as she ends up getting tangled with a director increasingly intrigued by her. The stage will steam as the writing weaves sex and power into a thrilling cat and mouse game.
Tickets for plays range in prices depending on the days and times. For all events visit their official website at www.belfry.bc.ca for more details.
In its early days, the Belfry Theatre was built as a place of sanctuary and prayer before becoming a homeless shelter and venue for other small businesses including the theater group. Today, the building has been completely restored as Victoria’s biggest professional theatre group, and has brought learning, entertainment, fun, and awareness to the community of both Fernwood Village and the rest of Victoria.
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