Elizabeth Hollick on the stairs to the scaffolding at Coast Capital Playhouse

Mural pays homage to White Rock Players Club and pantos past

Elizabeth Hollick takes on a new painting project on the south wall of the Coast Capital Playhouse

The next White Rock Players Club production has plenty of colour and eye-appeal – as well as a flair for the historic.

About the only thing lacking is physical action – but there’s a lot of it suggested in the project – a 50-by-30-foot mural swiftly taking form on the south wall of the Coast Capital Playhouse, thanks to the lively drawing style of well-known Peninsula artist Elizabeth Hollick.

Indeed, in the imaginative hands of the experienced painter and muralist, one might almost expect the characters to jump down off the wall and start emoting – not to mention singing and dancing – in the Rotary parking lot next to it.

The mural project, held in abeyance for the last two years, is finally coming to fruition, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the City of White Rock approved earlier this year.

It  had seemed like a natural way to spruce up the building three years ago when the White Rock Players Club issued a call for proposals from local artists – but until  the city got involved it had entirely depended on flagging fundraising efforts .

Hollick said she leapt at the chance to create a design – inspired by the traditional White Rock Christmas Pantomime song The Wonderful Year We Fell In Love – when the projected was first mooted.

“I wanted this to be mine so badly,” said Hollick, who added that, for her, the mural has special significance.

“I go to the pantomime with my grandkids and daughters every year, and we all love the song,” she said.

With the help of Players Club historian Tom Saunders, who provided vintage images of plays and players gone by (Saunders also writes the clever lyrics replete with topical references for Wonderful Year each panto season), she came up with a dynamic visual counterpart to the song, featuring many of the stage and real-life characters who have contributed to the club’s 70-year history.

Personalities such as former club presidents and artistic directors Franklin Johnson and Scott Wheeler are front and centre, along with other past notables like Enid Saunders, Phyllis Clifford, Guy and Barbara Weston, Guy Foreman, Neil Primrose and Riette Hilliard.

Even panto giraffe Shenanigans (another Saunders creation), the panto ‘Dame’ and her beau, and William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet get into the act, while the backdrop on the stage in one corner depicts White Rock’s waterfront – mercifully minus the current fencing.

While the design won favour with the club board (“It perfectly captures the excitement, fun and personalities of the club’s history as White Rock’s own community theatre,” then-president and mural proponent Dave Baron said), the fundraising campaign ultimately fell short of the mark needed to give the mural the green light.

Now, thanks to the city contribution, it’s back on track and set for completion by the end of July with an official unveiling in August – and Hollick, Saunders and Pat MacClean, the Players Club’s supervisor for the project, said they couldn’t be happier.

“I’m really excited to see it going up on the wall,” Saunders said, adding that he believes Hollick’s design captures all the excitement and camaraderie of the Players Club, both yesterday and today.

“I was hoping it would be close to this but (the design) exceeded all my expectations,” he said.

“I’ve been in training for this for almost 50 years,” Hollick said, before resuming work on the scaffolded and tarp-shrouded wall. “I painted my first mural when I was in my early 20s.”

Although she’s lost count of the number of walls she’s enlivened around White Rock (which also include, in the uptown area, the side of White Rock Travel and Blue Frog Studios) she noted the newest is adjacent to the site of the old wooden fence that Hollick and an ad-hoc committee of fellow artists kept decorated as an ever-evolving art piece for a decade, starting in the late 1990s.

At 30 feet high and 50 feet wide, it’s also the largest she’s attempted, but Hollick has everything worked out with a grid pattern that corresponds to the concrete blocks that make up the wall.

Current phase has been drawing out the design – “this is the difficult bit,” Hollick said, “because you want to get everything right.”

“The next bit is filling in the colours – which should take a couple of weeks – and the last week will be the detail.”

Hollick said she’s hoping to pay tribute to theatre patrons who already donated to the mural in the design – “we want to let them know their money didn’t go in vain.”

She also paid tribute to McClean, who was instrumental in securing Burnaby’s United Scaffolding to provide a very solid structure for Hollick to work on – on very reasonable terms – and has been in charge of all negotiations with the city and White Rock Rotary Club to ensure the work runs smoothly.

“Rotary has been very helpful moving some of their parking out of the way for the scaffold to go in,” said McClean.

“The city gave them some parking spaces and we’ve given them some parking spaces.”

“This is the first project manager I’ve ever had,” Hollick beamed. “I don’t have to do anything. I just appear and enjoy myself.”

 

 

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

South Surrey T.V. personality narrates new game-show documentary series

Wayne Cox part of The Search for Canada’s Game Shows

South Surrey/White Rock residents snubbed on ride-hailing services

Lyft and Uber express plan to expand to peninsula once enough drivers are available

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Surrey bylaw’s tactics with Uber drivers deemed ‘entrapment’ and ‘completely wrong’

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke and Linda Annis had to say Monday about city staff hailing Uber drivers then issuing them warnings

Prelim for senior charged in ‘targeted’ 2017 shooting in South Surrey set for 2021

Kenneth Turpin to return to Surrey Provincial Court next January

VIDEO: As 106 reported dead from the coronavirus outbreak, countries look to evacuate citizens

Canada is warning its residents to not go to Hubei province at all

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sex assaults linked, RCMP ask women not to walk alone in Coquitlam park

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Most Read

l -->