Props, playbills and programs fill the cabinets at the Poirier branch of the Coquitlam Public Library for a month-long exhibit about theatre in the city.
Titled Theatre in Coquitlam: Get Your Tickets Now, the display by the Coquitlam Heritage Society scans the history of stage shows over the years.
Exhibits manager Markus Fahrner said he was inspired by the society's collection while curating, especially the stage lamp from Centennial Secondary.
He added other pieces such as photos and a school yearbook; awards from the Stage 43 Theatrical Society; fake food from the recently mounted play at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, The How and the Why, by Aenigma Theatre; and historical information about past troubadours who put on cultural events that started during the Gold Rush.
As well, the society crafted a small black box theatre — complete with red curtains — so that young people and families visiting the library branch, and nearby Centennial students, could have something to touch and draw them into the display.
"I want people to realize that we don’t live in an impoverished cultural zone," Fahrner told the Tri-City News. "The theatre scene here is so rich and vibrant."
Fahrner said not only does theatre entertain, it can offer life lessons for the actors, crew and audience.
He pointed to the middle and secondary schools in Coquitlam that stage plays and musicals each year, giving students a chance to learn lines, songs and steps and shine in the spotlight, as well as build communication, teamwork and morale.
Also, Douglas College, which has a campus in Coquitlam, offers theatre and Stagecraft and Event Technology programs to its post-secondary students.
And, for viewers, theatre can serve as a way to deepen knowledge and even be therapeutic.
In the exhibit, Fahrner also acknowledges the evolution of theatre with more inclusive productions such as the Coquitlam Queens show in 2017 (Coquitlam Heritage is also taking part in a new Coquitlam Pride event at the Evergreen on July 15).
In essence, “theatre tells our stories and brings us together for a shared experience,” he said.
Theatre in Coquitlam: Get Your Tickets Now is up until May 31 at the Poirier library branch (575 Poirier St.).