White Rock mural honours Players Club, panto

White Rock mayor cuts ribbon with Players Club pantomime dame

Artist Elizabeth Hollick at the unveiling of her mural at the Coast Capital Playhouse. Below: White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Players Club pantomime dame Bryce Mills cut the ribbon.

Where else but in White Rock do a mayor and a pantomime dame get to cut a ribbon together?

Mayor Wayne Baldwin and White Rock Players Club member Bryce Mills – in full dame make-up and costume – were on hand Tuesday morning for the formal unveiling of the new 50-by-30 foot mural, The Wonderful Year We Fell In Love, on the side of the Coast Capital Playhouse.

But the real star of the occasion – aside from the colourful, evocative painting itself – was artist Elizabeth Hollick, resplendent in a pink jacket emblazoned with heart designs.

The project, commissioned by the club and enabled by a $13,500 grant from the city and contributions from individual residents, is Hollick’s personal valentine to Players Club history and traditions – and the tradition of the Christmas pantomime in particular, and its signature song, The Wonderful Year We Fell In Love.

For Hollick, it was the culmination of a labour of love that has gone on longer than the two months it took to paint on the side of the building.

It was three years ago that the project was suggested and Hollick’s design was accepted, but although fundraising was started, it stalled due to the prevailing economic climate.

But, thanks to the incentive provided by a grant championed by White Rock Couns. Helen Fathers and Louise Hutchinson, chair of the the city’s Public Art Task Force, the mural is now a reality.

Among those thanked by Hollick during her welcoming speech was club historian and prop-builder Tom Saunders (creator of the pantomime giraffe Shananigans and writer of the annually revised topical lyrics of The Wonderful Year…) who provided her with historic images of club performances and personalities (including Franklin Johnson, Scott Wheeler, Enid Saunders, Phyllis Clifford, Guy and Barbara Weston, Guy Foreman, Neil Primrose and Riette Hilliard) to inspire the design.

Also among those thanked were club past-president and mural proponent Dave Baron, project supervisor Pat MacClean, the Rotary Club of White Rock and Hollick’s fellow artist, Laurie MacIsaac, who was on hand to advise on certain questions of anatomy, as well as rein in some over-exuberant painting (“Elizabeth!” Hollick said, mimicking MacIsaac’s deep, booming voice, “this woman has five fingers and a thumb.”).

Baldwin paid tribute to the popular painter and muralist’s “perseverance, skill and probably a lot of courage painting high on the scaffold,” adding “we’ve seen her art throughout the city – but nothing on a scale like this.”

He said the painting “captured the pantomime – the silliness of it, and all the good stuff that goes on at the theatre,” and said it was also a fitting tribute to a club that has been part of the city’s cultural fabric for decades.

“We should acknowledge what they’ve accomplished – they’ve been here for 70 years and they’ve been doing the pantomime for some 60 years,” he said.

“They’re one of the only groups of its kind in Canada that has its own building and doesn’t rely on public grants – which is a tribute to the community as well.”

Among old friends and long-time supporters of the theatre who were there for the ceremony were Hollick’s daughters Briony, Deb and Jo and the painter’s youngest grandchild, Jo’s son Tiego, who also found a place in the composition.

“He represents the future of the theatre, whether as an audience member, an actor, a director or as someone else behind the scenes,” she said.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)
14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

Webinar tonight to field questions, share info on Peace Portal Alliance Church refuge

White Rock Whalers president Ronnie Paterson (inset photo) is hopeful the team and City of White Rock will be able to find a solution that will allow the Whalers and their PJHL opponents to use the dressing rooms at Centennial Arena. (Jody Harris photo)
Whalers waiting to hear on dressing-room availability as PJHL home-opener looms

White Rock team owner ‘confident’ hurdles can be overcome in talks with city

Fraser Health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Delta Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Grace Kennedy photo)
Outbreak over at Delta Hospital

In all, 45 cases of COVID-19 were identified and seven patients died during the outbreak

The Sunshine Band Club video posted to Youtube.
VIDEO: Surrey youth band shines light on ‘COVID blues,’ raises money for hospital

Virtual concert from Sunshine Band Club, established last March

Not everybody lined up to vote on Saturday. In Surrey, 68,396 mail-in ballots still need to be counted for the final election tally. (Black Press Media)
North Surrey voters steer left, South Surrey voters steer right

Once again, it’s NDP orange in the city’s north end, Liberal red in the south

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Most Read