When it comes to their performances, collaboration is key for Chilliwack’s Secondary Characters Musical Theatre Society. Be it between Society members, in the community, or with other production companies, Secondary Characters focuses on cooperation to ensure the quality theatrical performances it’s become known for.
A not-for-profit musical theatre group, Secondary Characters dedicates itself to enabling actors of all ages from across the Fraser Valley the chance to learn and perform the dramatic arts in a good quality atmosphere.
Each year since its conception in 2010, Secondary Characters has put on a full-scale musical production during the summer, securing the rights to perform classics such as Little Women, Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Sound of Music, and Oklahoma. And with each performance, the popularity of the Society has grown: starting with an eight-member cast in its debut presentation, Secondary Character’s 2016 rendition of The Wizard of Oz had a cast of 30.
“We probably could’ve had an even larger cast,” said Steffi Munshaw, Project Manager for Secondary Characters. “People from all over the Valley, even from as far as Surrey and White Rock, came to audition because they were keen on what we were doing.”
“Secondary Characters is great because you can join for free and see how great it is while learning so much about theatre,” said Kris Ward, who’s been part of the theatre society since its conception.
But as their reputation flourished, their performances became more involved and larger with each season, so last year they took the summer off to reevaluate their goals. “Because we’d grown so much, we paused and took stock of where we were and what we wanted to do,” said Munshaw.
They also needed to figure out how to afford to continue doing what they loved as productions like these aren’t cheap. “It costs us thousands and thousands of dollars, ” said Munshaw. “First for the (performance) rights, then for facility, and then for props and costumes.”
And with next summer’s production of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame set to be their biggest show yet, the Society decided to host a Christmas cabaret to raise money, but didn’t want to commit cast members to a full musical production during the holidays.
Deciding on A Christmas Carol—but with a musical twist—Munshaw says she believes they made the right choice. “We wanted to mix it up … and this was a nice compromise.”
Produced with families in mind, Secondary Characters combined Charles Dickens’ classic with toe-tapping songs from A Muppets’ Christmas Carol, creating a show suitable for all ages. “There will be dancing and singing, and it will be so much fun (the audience),” adds Munshaw. “When you actually listen to the music, it’s so beautiful and heartwarming. It’s exactly what you need at Christmas time.”
“And it makes me fee good about myself,” says Maddie Wojcik, the youngest cast member in A Christmas Carol. “It’s fun and I get to try new things and perform for people, which I love,” adds the 11-year-old.
Beginning at 7:00 p.m., on Dec. 15, Secondary Characters will be performing A Christmas Carol at Saint Thomas Church Hall. Tickets are $15, or $5 for 12-years-old and younger and can be purchased for $15 online at SecondaryCharacters.org, in person at the Dogfather, or at the door. Price includes holiday treats and warm beverages.