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‘Our Town’ plays historic hall with Surrey woman in key role usually given to man

‘People will love the simplicity of life 100 years ago,’ Dawn Harvey says
Cast of Little Dipper Theatre Co.’s “Our Town” outside Fort Langley Community Hall. (Contributed photo)

A production of Thornton Wilder’s landmark “Our Town” will feature Surrey-area talent on stage in Fort Langley starting Thursday, Feb. 29.

Little Dipper Theatre Co. brings the Pulitzer Prize-winning play to historic Fort Langley Community Hall for a week-plus run ending March 10, with Surrey residents Dawn Harvey, Aanya Tripathi and Hattie Watts among cast members.

Audiences will follow the lives of Grover’s Corners residents through 12 years of life changes in a small town.

Little Dipper’s play is guided by Dawn Harvey as The Stage Manager, who introduces the audience to the people and places of the town, comments on the important events, and fills in playing some of the townsfolk characters.

“The role was written for a man, and most productions have upheld this gender-based casting for the role,” noted Harvey, who returns to the stage after a 14-year absence. “I am very excited to bring a touch of the feminine to The Stage Manager, shining a slightly different light on life.”

The other two Surrey-based actors are the children of “Our Town.” This is Aanya Tripathi’s first experience working on a production with a theatre company, while Hattie Watts has done a few shows with Surrey Youth Theatre Company.

First produced in 1938, “Our Town” focuses on the lives of George Gibbs and Emily Webb, played by Carson Walliser and Yasmin D’Oshun. Through their love and loss, humour and vulnerability, their story remains relevant and moving.

“It’s a beautiful reminder to slow down and be present, to be grateful for the people and things around you,” said director Larisse Campbell.

For some, “Our Town” is a favourite, well-loved script, but for others it may be their first experience with Wilder’s powerful words.

“People will love the simplicity of life 100 years ago, the characters, the innocence, the laughter, and for some, the clearing out of tear ducts which may occur,” Harvey said.

The Feb. 29 show is a “pay what you can” preview performance at Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Rd. Tickets for the other show times range from $25 to $35 on A portion of each ticket sale is donated to Eden Reforestation Projects to support their work restoring forests ecosystems around the world, according to a post on the website.

A heritage site, Fort Langley Community Hall has been hosting community events since it was built in 1932. “We cannot think of a better location to perform ‘Our Town,’” says a post on Little Dipper’s website. Based in Langley, it’s a semi-professional theatre company that aims to produce “high-quality plays that push our artists to new limits, spark conversation and delight our audiences.”

Dawn Harvey plays The Stage Manager in Little Dipper Theatre Co.’s “Our Town.” (Contributed photo)
Young actors Aanya Tripathi and Hattie Watts in Little Dipper Theatre Co.’s “Our Town.” (Contributed photo)

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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