Find us on Facebookfb

Gallery 7 Theatre's Fest of Fools is on May 4th – that's this Saturday. Do you have your tickets yet? We've already given you 10 good reasons to go to Fest of Fools but we thought we'd give you 10 more...this time, from the people whose lives have been touched because of their experience at Gallery 7 Theatre...


Mike_Mcintyre1. Michael McIntyre: (actor: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Fantasticks, Swallows and Amazons) My journey in theatre has been a very personal one. I was socially awkward as a child and theatre helped me examine social interaction on a very deep and intimate level and as my skill in acting progressed, so did my social skills to the point where I am confident in both, though I never stop trying to improve them. But my need for theatre has grown beyond the purely personal. I continue to do it because it makes a difference. A good performance affects people emotionally, makes them think or sometimes helps them appreciate life more. And there is nothing like the feeling that you have made a difference in someone else's life, no matter how small.


glen_pinchin_-4527sm2. Glen Pinchin: (actor: The Diary of Anne Frank, Tuesdays with Morrie, Swallows and Amazons): I've loved being in theatre but career, family and other activities took priority and my acting went on the back burner. After retiring from the RCMP I started to get involved in theatre again, first through church productions, then as a full-time theatre student at UFV. I hope to continue acting as long as I am able. I love the whole process of bringing a story to the stage and to an audience. For an actor, it stimulates the mind and soul and many wonderful friendships are forged along the way. Most gratifying though, is hearing that someone who watched what you (and others) did and was in some way moved or touched or made to laugh.


annette_reilly_-_4393_sm3. Annette Reilly: (actor/director: Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Mary's Wedding and others) For me, there is no greater sense of accomplishment than when I step off the stage knowing that I gave everything that I was in that moment. I love the freedom to be vulnerable and the complete release of self. Being immersed in a role is a time where I can step away from my life, from my troubles, and enjoy living a moment in someone else's shoes. There is no other profession where you can live the experiences of an ancient Greek, or a Victorian Brit, or a turn of the century American all in one life time.


kaile_khonje-4504sm4. Kaile Khonje: (actor: Swallows and Amazons) Portraying truth on the stage is important to me. Does the script reflect some aspect of our human experience? A wise man once said that Christian artists are given the job of awakening our jaded senses. For me, being a part of a faith-based cast and crew is valuable as we are working towards a common goal.



5. Member of the Audience at Mary's Wedding: "Thank you for a wonderful production. My wife and I enjoyed it very much. We found it hard to believe that we sat for 90 minutes and did not notice the time passing. The actors did a fantastic job. They helped me think of the deaths of members of my family and how I see them everywhere, but the pain gets less. It was moving to see that portrayed on stage. Thank you."


kenzie_hall-4594sm6. Kenzie Hall (actor: Chickens, The Matchmaker, The Outsiders, Sense and Sensibility) Working for Gallery 7 has resparked a passion and respect for Theatre. It has helped me to learn and develop further skills and knowledge that I am very thankful for. From the 4 years I have worked with the theatre, I have developed some of the closest friendships I've ever had in my life.



benjamin_wert-0996-sm7. Ben Wert: (actor: Quiet in the Land, Robinson Crusoe) "I auditioned for a Gallery 7 play for kicks and ended up playing Yock Bauman in Quiet in the Land. That started a crazy journey of acting and traveling that hasn't stopped yet. Most recently, I've become part of a traveling theatre troupe called 'Theatre of the Beat'. We travel the country putting on original plays that ask questions about peace and justice from a Mennonite perspective." Ben's troupe traveled across Canada with their play Gadfly: Sam Steiner Dodges the Draft, which was part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival last year.


shelley_picard-2739sm8. Shelley Picard: (board member, actor: Crossing Delancy, The Matchmaker, Chickens, The Boys Next Door, The Fantasticks, Pride and Prejudice and others) For me, performing was the stepping stone from a shy and uncertain teenager to a confident & creative adult. It has been a journey of discovery as with each character I've played over the years, I've have learned little truths about my life. Coming from the world of community theatre to the Gallery 7 stage has been refreshing. Here at G7 it is about giving back - giving up and giving of ourselves for a common goal.


emily_talma-2714sm9. Emily Talma: (actor: The Fantasticks, Swallows and Amazons) The reason why I continue doing theatre is because it allows me to grow as a person. I always end up learning something more about myself and about life in general through every character I play. Every show offers a lesson or truth about life for the audience to come away with after every performance, and I think when you actually live through the characters, you come away with that much more knowledge and understanding.


Angelika_Dawson-3581_sm10. Angelika Dawson: (audience member, volunteer usher, discussion guide writer, board member.) Theatre is sacred space to me. Every time I enter an auditorium and I see the actors tell me a story with their bodies, their minds, their words... God meets me there. It is a gift to be able to witness others use their God-given talents to draw me into a story that I can ponder for days to come. I have laughed, cried, been angry at injustice, been encouraged and given hope all because I have been to see a play. Having had my husband and my son be involved with productions, I can also say that it is a safe, nurturing environment for people of all ages to explore their talents and gifts. It also feels so amazing to be part of someone's life's work – Artistic Director Ken Hildebrandt started this theatre right out of high school. He's been inviting actors to come and explore their gifts and abilities for over 20 seasons. Gallery 7 theatre is a unique presence in this community and it deserves our support.


Join us on May 4th for an evening of fun - just by attending the Fest of Fools, you'll already be helping us raise much needed funds. If you can't come, consider making a donation and supporting Abbotsford's only full-time, faith-based, community theatre – which you can do at our website:



We can think of a hundred reasons why you should attend Fest of Fools on May 4th, but today we'll just give you the top ten...


1. This year's event includes music by the Langley Ukulele Ensemble. People, this is not your elementary school band; these are highly accomplished, super entertaining musicians. Here's a link to prove it:




2. Cliff Prang, formerly of Panic Squad, currently of Cliff House Event Entertainment, is planning a variety show that will make you laugh out loud. Promise.


3. It's only $20!!! Honestly, you're getting comedy, music and more for just $20 – that's a smokin' deal! And if you do nothing more than buy a ticket and come, you'll help us cover our costs and raise thousands, so we want to put a butt in every seat – make sure yours is in one of them!


4. Feel like spending more than $20? Now you're talkin'! We have a fantastic Silent Auction planned and you can preview the great stuff here. More stuff is being added all the time, so keep coming back!


5. There will be dessert. Homemade, fancy, decadent... it's going to be a party in your mouth.


6. And that dessert is INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE. Not a word of a lie.


7. If you arrive early, there'll be games to play and popcorn to eat while you peruse and bid on the Silent Auction stuff. All of that is also INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE. Gosh, can it get any better?


8. This is a family-friendly event – you can bring your kids, bring your parents (they're kids at heart, aren't they?) If you don't have kids, that's okay, you can come too!


9. You can make a fully tax-receiptable donation. Yessiree, any donation over $10 gets a tax receipt – but don't let that stop you from giving, like $10,000. Just sayin'.


10. You'll be supporting Abbotsford's only full time community theatre. That's the best reason ever. We are getting much closer to our dream of moving into a fully independent theatre space (in fact, we're moving following the close of our 2013/2014 theatre season) that is the theatrical hub of the Fraser Valley. Your support helps us offer professional quality theatre and educational programming in our community today, while building a solid financial footing for tomorrow.


The doors and silent auction opens at 6:30 pm, the show starts at 7:30 pm. We've got a ticket waiting just for you! Click on the button below for all the details. If you can't make, will you consider making a donation to the theatre? You can do so right here.



kaile_khonje-4504smIt's been a few days since last we introduced you to one of our cast or crew members of Swallows and Amazons, and so we continue today with a conversation with Kaile Khonje, who is playing a few human, and not-so-human characters in Swallows and Amazons. Grab a refreshment, pull up a chair and enjoy as Kaile shares about, among several things, her theatre background and how she believes our imaginations as children help shape who we are as adults...


Gallery 7 Theatre (G7): Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?


Kaile Khonje (KK): My love of acting was ignited as a child when I was involved in my church's musical Bull Frogs and Butterflies. It continued in high school as I acted in numerous productions. My most memorable role was playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. I received my B.Ed degree at T.W.U. & S.F.U. and began teaching high school in the Vancouver district. For the past five years I have been Teacher/Director for Windermere's Drama Program in East Vancouver. Past productions include: Rebel Without a Cause, The Princess Bride, Flight 164, Tales of Arabian Nights and The Butler Did It. I'm looking forward to being back on the stage, telling Arthur Ransome's stories of adventure.


G7: What drew you to this play?


KK: My love of adventure drew me to this play. Who doesn't love a story about pirates, treasure and cormorants?


G7: When you think back to your own childhood, do you remember imagination-play? What form did that take for you?


KK: In my backyard, my imagination came alive, especially in our wooden fort. You had to climb a steep latter to reach the top and you could also walk onto the slanted roof. Here we had an amazing view of the forest, which served as a look-out for attacking enemies. Magically, this fort also morphed into a deluxe bakery that featured freshly made chocolate mud pies. Yes, I still take orders.


G7: How do you think our imaginations as children shape us as adults?


KK: Imagination is the caramel in my latte. In childhood, it creates a way to understand the world and strengthens our ability to solve problems and face difficulties. At any age, it infuses left-brain logic with vivid colours, spicing up the mundane and creating memorable moments. As Collin Wilson says, imagination should be used, not to escape reality, but to create it.


G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?


KK: Portraying truth on the stage is important to me. Does the script reflect some aspect of our human experience? A wise man once said that Christian artists are given the job of awakening our jaded senses. For me, being a part of a faith-based cast and crew is valuable as we are working towards a common goal. To reach this goal, the "me first" obstacle in our self-obsessed culture needs to be reckoned with.


G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?


KK: Great theatre is like a wave. It captures you in the momentum of the current and takes you on an intriguing journey. I hope the audience will leave feeling like they have a renewed sense of freedom and that they are encouraged to reminisce about forgotten memories of childhood.


G7: Anything else you want to share?


KK: In our North American media-driven culture, it is a challenge to find ways to incorporate imaginative ideas into everyday life. Sadly, my life-experience has taught me that too often a talking box often steals our attention and tells us what to think. I need to ask the question: where are the brave moms and dads who will recapture the imagination of their children and pursue actual, instead of virtual adventures?


G7: What's your favourite way to relax?


KK: H20 relaxes me. I love being in a body of water whether a tropical ocean, a lake, or a meandering river. Whether frolicking about or with a boogie board in hand, water revives me.



G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?


KK: My last meal would consist of cedar-planked salmon with wild rice and lemon-tipped asparagus. For my first dessert, since we're not counting calories, I would have a chocolate mud pie with raspberry coolie. My second dessert would be a lemon meringue pie, topped with a card that said "get out of jail free."


G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?


KK: Hands down, the best 5 bucks I've ever spent was introducing my friend to durian gelato on Venables Street in Vancouver. I don't mean to offend any durian-lovers, but when I tried some in Thailand it tasted like a combination of onions, garlic and stinky feet.


G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?


KK: It would be Daffy Duck and I would ask him once he reached heaven if he was free of his speech impediment.


G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?


KK: My mom always told me to ASK—the worst they can say is no.

SA_reheasrsal-4826smToday, we thought you might enjoy reading some background notes on our current production, Swallows and Amazons, written by Angelika Dawson. The last four performances of this Canadian premier run March 21 - 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM with a discount matinee on March 23 @ 2:00 PM. Hope to see you there!


"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." ~Rachel Carson.


Swallows and Amazons is based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Ransome – the first book in a series. In the spring of 1929, Ransome submitted a synopsis and 50 pages of the story Swallows and Amazons to the publishers Jonathan Cape, who gave a favourable response. When it was published in 1930, it received enthusiastic reviews. Later that year, Swallows and Amazons was published in America. From that time, Ransome gave up his work as a journalist with the Manchester Guardian and dedicated himself to writing adventure stories for children.


Ransome's love for the lake developed as a child. The Ransome family frequently took their holidays at Coniston Water, in the English Lake District, where Ransome developed a fascination for the area and its inhabitants. It became a private rite for him on arrival to run down to the water and dip his hand in as a greeting. Ransome did not enjoy school but read voraciously and nurtured a desire to be a writer.


Swallows and Amazons was inspired by a summer of teaching sailing to the children of his friends, the Altounyans. Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow for a number of years before selling it but Mavis remained in the Altounyan family until it was donated to the Ruskin Museum where it is permanently on display.


Ransome's next book, Swallowdale, published in October 1931, was a sequel to Swallows and Amazons and featured the same characters: the sisters Nancy and Peggy Blackett, born and bred in the Lake District, and the visiting Walker children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger. These characters reappeared in most of the subsequent books.


Ransome died in Manchester on June 3, 1967 at age 83.


Swallows and Amazons has been adapted for television and radio and in 2007 the Royal National Theatre began developing a musical version for the stage. Neil Hannon, who is best known for recording and performing with the Divine Comedy, wrote the songs for the script which was adapted by award-winning playwright Helen Edmundson.


Our production is the first to be presented in Canada.

bethany_caldwell-4523smOn this, the opening day of the Canadian community premier of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, we thought it only fitting to introduce you to a performer who is also making a debut on our stage this evening: Bethany Caldwell. Bethany, who's playing Susan Walker, has been performing since she was a little girl, but this is her first time performing with us. Enjoy this little chat with Bethany as she shares a bit about who she is, her theatre background, what she hopes you'll take away from the show, and the person she would most like to have a conversation with...


Gallery 7 Theatre (G7) Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?


Bethany Caldwell (BC): I've been involved in theatre since I was really little. It started with those embarrassing church plays, where all the little kids dressed up like sheep or shepherds and ran around the stage, and I guess it just stuck since then. To be honest I come from a big family, so I was always a bit of an attention hog. I loved being in the spotlight and making people laugh. To this day, I love entertaining people. Also, I just love the opportunity I get to become someone else for a little while and to explore life through new perspectives, in someone else's shoes.


G7: What drew you to this play?


BC: When I heard what the 2012/13 season shows were, I, like any normal theatre geek would, Googled all of them to find out which ones I liked. This one caught my eye right away. First of all, it's a musical, and I love musicals. Second of all, the creativity, and imagination involved, is just amazing. And third, I knew Ken was directing it, and I really like making fun of him, so I just couldn't pass it up!


G7: When you think back to your own childhood, do you remember imagination-play? What form did that take for you? Did you have imaginary friends? Did you imagine yourself in certain situations?


BC: Mostly what I remember is making forts with my siblings and trying to take over everyone else's. I know I did have an imaginary friend for a little while. Her name was Edna. I used to draw a big face on a balloon and I would pretend that was her, but then my brothers would always pop the balloon. Thus, the death of poor Edna.


G7: How do you think our imaginations as children shape us as adults? When is it appropriate for us to be child-like?


BC: I think that as children, if we are open to dream and use our imaginations, then as we grow, we keep some of that creativity with us and we continue to have the ability to be open-minded to new ideas throughout our lives.


G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?


BC: For me, it isn't a necessity, but it is a HUGE blessing. I wouldn't turn down an opportunity with a company because it is not faith-based, however, I am a Christian, and my faith is a very important part of my life, so it is a blessing to work with a company who shares those same values.SA_-_pub-4710_sm


G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?


BC: To dream big, and not to shut down their dreams and imaginations, just because they're "grown-up". Grown-ups can have dreams too!


G7: Anything else you want to share?


BC: This show has been a learning experience for me for sure. I'm singing alto instead of soprano, my character is reserved and motherly instead of loud and crazy, I'm learning all about sailboats and pirate talk, etc. but I'm loving every minute of it! I get to work with an awesome group of extremely talented people and I am being pushed to learn new things every day.


G7: What's your favourite way to relax?


BC: Easy question. Day at the spa. Wild Orange to be specific.


G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?


BC: That's a hard one because A) I love food, and B) my parents are really good cooks, but I'm gonna have to say my mom's roast beef dinner.


G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?


BC: Well, I am Mennonite by cheapness, so I've bought a lot of good things for pretty cheap. However, the most recent would be these 2 pairs of sandals I bought for my sister. They were both $2, so I couldn't pass them up.


G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?


BC: Hmm, there are way too many to choose from, but for now I'll go with Adele. And my question would be "will you sing a duet with me?"


G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?


BC: "To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." --Micah 6:8



Swallows_and_AmazonsGallery 7 Theatre's production of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, adapted by Helen Edmundson with music by Neil Hannon, runs March 8 & 9, 14 - 16, 21 - 23 @ 7:30 PM with discount matinees on March 9, 16 & 23 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets can be purchased by phone or in person at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or 604-852-3701. Tickets can also be purchased online here.