Last Christmas

Last Christmas

Plenty of ways to stay entertained

From theatre companies to galleries, Peninsula's arts scene thriving

The Semiahmoo Peninsula, long celebrated as an arts community, is seeing a renewed commitment to the arts, particularly in White Rock, where it is viewed, potentially, as one of the city’s strongest economic drivers.

Under the Creative Communities program, 2010 Legacies Now and the provincial government have provided a $10,000 grant to the city to document its arts and cultural resources.

The city is currently working with BC Healthy Communities and Semiahmoo Arts on a Cultural Mapping project in which a comprehensive inventory of public and private sector culture assets, services and facilities is seen as a way to maximize the potential of the area and bring all the arts organizations closer together.

Here’s a sampling of some of the talented groups that help keep the Peninsula’s arts scene blossoming:

Semiahmoo Arts

The Community Arts Council of White Rock & District, recently restyled under the more inclusive Semiahmoo Arts banner, was established in January 1974 to stimulate an awareness of the arts in relation to the district and its growth.

An umbrella organization serving the community in the arenas of visual and performing arts as well as art education, Semiahmoo Arts strives to raise the standards of cultural achievements in the area by broadening the horizons and the scope of the community through the interchange of art forms and ideas.

New shows featuring local artists are presented each month at the arts council gallery and gift shop.

Semiahmoo Arts also presents regular intimate music concerts by established and emerging Canadian performers, the Uptown Lounge music series at the White Rock Community Centre, the Readings by the Salish Sea series and the Zero to 360 open mic for authors at Pelican Rouge Coffee House.

White Rock Players Club/Coast Capital Playhouse

The White Rock Players Club, which has a long and distinguished history dating back to the early 1940s  –  including a 1958 clubs production of Playboy of the Western World which swept the top awards at the Dominion Drama Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia – is the owner and resident company of White Rock’s community theatre, now known as the Coast Capital Playhouse.

In addition to its long-celebrated annual Christmas pantomime, the club continues to present productions aiming at the highest standards for community theatre.

The club’s recent show The Ladies of the Camellias, by Lillian Garrett-Groag, won top honours in the Theatre B.C. Greater Vancouver Zone festival in April.

The club’s next regular production in the current season, The Cat’s Meow by Steven Peros, directed by Shermann, will run June 8-25.

The Coast Capital Playhouse is also venue for the White Rock Peninsula Rotary Club’s series of high definition opera and classical music films, as well as occasional concerts and rentals by other companies, including the Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s summer productions.

For more information, call 604-536-7535, or visit

Royal Canadian Theatre Society

The Surrey-based Royal Canadian Theatre Society, which presents artistic director/founder Ellie King’s version of authentic British Christmas pantomime each year at Surrey Arts Centre, also has a mission to revive summer theatre with its ongoing series of comedies at the Coast Capital Playhouse (1532 Johnston Rd.)

Next up is A Bedfull of Foreigners, by Dave Freeman, directed by King, which will run Aug. 4-28 at the theatre.

For tickets ($23, $19 seniors and students) call 604-536-7535, or visit

16th Avenue Productions

The newest Peninsula theatre company, 16th Avenue Productions (artistic director Wendy Bollard) is dedicated to bringing top notch theatrical experiences to the area at a variety of venues, following up on the successful production of John Murrell’s Waiting For The Parade at Coast Capital Playhouse in April.

For more information on upcoming productions, visit

Peninsula Productions

Peninsula Productions, spearheaded by Geoff Giffin, seeks to bring “extraordinary performances” to the Semiahmoo Peninsula, built on principles of “respect for the players, respect for the audience, respect for the sponsors and respect for the performance.”

The group presented a well-received inaugural concert of April 1, featuring internationally-renowned U.S. Celtic-Baroque fusion group Ensemble Galilei.

For more information, visit

White Rock Elks Club

The White Rock Elks No. 431, 1469 George St., has emerged as a busy venue for live music, whether in the lounge or down in the main hall.

On Wednesday afternoons from 3 p.m. the club presents such Celtic folk acts as Thomas McKegney, The Walker Brothers, Athenry and Pride of Erin. Thursday night dances (from 7 p.m.) are another feature, while the club features special events and concerts several times a month on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, visit, or call 604-538-4016.

White Rock South Surrey

Art Society

The White Rock South Surrey Art Society was founded more than 30 years ago to further creative efforts of its members, spread knowledge and cultivate interest in the visual arts.

The club currently has an increased presence in uptown White Rock as a result of exhibiting paintings in the lobby of the Coast Capital Playhouse, at 15326 Johnston Rd.

For more information on society activities, visit, or email

Arnold Mikelson Festival

of the Arts

The long-established Peninsula summer tradition showcases over 100 artists and artisans in an outdoor woodland garden setting around the Mikelson Mind & Matter Gallery, 13743 16 Ave.

Work ranging from paintings to sculpture, glass-blowing, pottery, batiks and silk painting, crafts and jewelry will be featured, along with demonstrations of techniques by many participants in three acres of gardens designed by the late painter and sculptor Arnold Mikelson.

This year’s show, the 36th annual will take place in July. For more information, call Mary Mikelson at 604-536-6460.

Semiahmoo Potters Club

The Semiahmoo Potters Club, with its headquarters at 2249 King George Blvd., offers outdoor kilns plus four rooms set aside for glazing, and sales of pottery are held twice each year. Membership fees ($350 annually) give members of the non-profit society unlimited use of the clubhouse resources, including wheels, although there are small fees for using kilns and glazes and potters must provide their own clay.

For more information about the club, call 604-536-4038.

Writers’ Group

The White Rock and Surrey Writers’ Group meets 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at White Rock Library, 15342 Buena Vista Ave. For information, call Carol at 604-501-0934 or

Artists’ Studio Tour

The White Rock Artists’ Studio Tour is organized each year by an ad-hoc group spearheaded by local painters Kathy Macdonald and Judy Jordison.

The studios of some 13 to 15 local professional artists are opened to visits from art lovers over a two-day period, usually in September or October. The tour includes a wide range of disciplines and media, ranging from drawing and painting to sculpture, pottery and collage, and the public can gain a rare insight into the creative processes and techniques of favourite artists.

For more information, call 604-531-9427, or 604-536-4213.

Traditional Jazz Society

White Rock Traditional Jazz Society was founded in 1990 to promote and support traditional styles of jazz in White Rock and South Surrey.

For information, call 604-805-3437 or visit

White Rock Blues Society

The White Rock Blues Society, dedicated to the preservation and encouragement of blues-based music, presents monthly concerts at the Rhumba Room of the Pacific Inn (1160 King George Hwy.) by national, international and local blues artists.

This year will see the society’s fifth annual Yuletide Blues Benefit  in support of the White Rock/South Surrey food bank. For more information, call 604-542-6515, or visit

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