The 100 Mile Performing Arts Society is about to shake up its repertoire with a new head at the helm.
Courtney Driver, elected president of the society at its Annual General Meeting this month, said she has a new vision for the society, including online workshops and mini-plays as well as more diversity in the shows that are offered every year. These are just some of the ideas she will bring forward for discussion at their next meeting on Nov. 9.
“I saw an opportunity for change to come to the Performing Arts Society,” Driver said. “Usually we’re known for theatre and really beautiful shows that we put on. I wanted the opportunity to introduce 100 Mile House to different types of performing arts like music, dance, aerial skills, fire spinning and dinner theatre and to put on workshops.”
Driver first moved to 100 Mile House when she was 15 and attended Peter Skene Ogden, where she was involved in theatre. After stints in Williams Lake, Vancouver, China and Squamish, she returned to the area in June 2016. She has been involved with the society for the past two years and was the costume designer and manager for 2019’s production of The Little Mermaid.
Driver said she’s always been involved in ‘moveable arts’ in some way shape or form. She got into belly dancing at the Squamish Recreation Centre and enjoys fire dancing with a hula hoop, having become a qualified instructor through a program she took in California. She also formed a troupe of fire spinners, which performed when the torch for the 2010 Winter Olympics passed through B.C.
“(Dancing) just releases a whole bunch of endorphins, it just soothes my soul,” Driver said.
At the AGM she jumped at the chance to be president for the next two years when outgoing president Donalda Speers presented her with the opportunity. Three of this year’s board members are also new to the society, Driver said, which allows them to have a fully staffed board for the first time.
Other members include Nicole Weir, vice-president; Kathy Wolczuk, secretary; Karen Smith; treasurer; Donalda Speers, personnel; Margot Shaw, technical assets; Brian Weir, props assets portfolio; Vincent Collins, education/liaison; and Delta Pinkston, sets assets portfolio. Directors at large include Lisa Grey, Sandy Gallagher and Brayden Herperger.
Despite COVID-19, Driver is excited about the next two years and is hopeful board members or members of the community would be interested in teaching some of the workshops. They also need to look for a new venue for any future performances, Driver said, as Martin Exeter Hall is still closed as a result of the flooding damage earlier this year.
She said they will be putting feelers out on possible venues, which could be the stage in the park or other suitable locations, though until the pandemic has passed they won’t be able to have any large gatherings.
“I’m super excited to be the president and work with such a great creative team to come up with different ways of having our community be showcased,” Driver said. “I’m hoping that the arts will just flourish and that people of all ages will be able to be involved.”
Anyone interested in becoming involved with the society can check out their Facebook page or website 100mileperformingarts.com.