Surrey SPARK Stages lights up Surrey Arts Centre

Festival is taking place at Surrey Arts Centre May 24- 26

Surrey Arts Centre was buzzing with activity Friday (May 24) as Surrey SPARK Stages kicked off its annual mini-festival.

Kent Gallie, Surrey’s manager of performing arts, told the Now-Leader that the mini-festival is held annually on the same weekend in May. “It’s a variety of performances for young audiences and families,” Gallie said.

This year, the event lights up Surrey Arts Centre from May 24-26, Friday to Sunday, with five diverse shows to see over three days, from Australia, Ireland, the U.S. and Canada.

Friday was reserved for school groups through the Make a Memory program, where the Surrey Board of Trade approached businesses to donate cash for 1,000 tickets given to kids who might be unable to afford one.

The 2024 SPARK Stages celebration weekend features Dino-Light (described as “a glow-in-the-dark spectacle about a dinosaur that wanders away from home”), The Libravian (“where books come alive, laughter takes the stage and bravery is celebrated in every chapter”), Falling in Africa (Garth Prince’s musical dance show) and Tree (for babies, “a world of enchantment where a majestic tree and its animals and gentle insects come to life”). From Australia comes Robot Song, about a girl who receives an unkind letter from her classmates, a story based on writer and director Jolyon James’ experience parenting a child on the autism spectrum.

“This joyful and deeply personal story is full of hope for any child who has ever found themselves pushed to the margins and for any parent who is looking for the tools to help,” reads the Surrey SPARKS program.

Robot Song also highlights “the amazing creativity and thinking that can happen when someone thinks differently,” Gallie said. The 60-minute show uses live animation, animatronics, and original music and is intended for ages 8 and up.

The festival “is not just for kids, but for adults as well. The shows are designed to appeal to adult audiences, as well as children,” Gallie said. “So we want to encourage families to come down together.”

The SPARK weekend includes additional activities and pop-up performances for ticketholders to enjoy, including drop-in Bollywood dance lessons with Karima Essa and magic by Travis Bernhardt. Buy tickets (priced from $16 to $21) and get more details on surrey.ca/spark, or call 604-501-5566.

-With files from Tom Zillich



Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I cover health care, non-profits and social issues-related topics for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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