Secondary Characters Musical Theatre Society is a registered not-for-profit community theatre company based in Chilliwack, British Columbia. It was founded in 2009 by two local artists, Shelley Wojcik a director and choreographer and Nicola Davies a musician and collaborative pianist, who wanted to offer opportunities for community members to engage in the creation of theatre. These two women are passionate about the performing arts, appreciate the value of artistic expression and believe strongly in multi-generational and interdisciplinary mentoring opportunities. The Secondary Characters family is made up of volunteers of all ages with a firm understanding that everyone, regardless of age or experience, has something to contribute and to teach to their ensemble.
Secondary Characters allows opportunities for community members to participate in theatre free of charge and in order to pay for the cost of productions, Secondary Characters relies heavily on volunteers and a Board of Directors who spend the entire year helping raise money for one summer production. Without our organization, people in Chilliwack have limited access to low-cost musical theatre opportunities, which we strongly feel should be available to everyone regardless of financial privilege.
Our previous productions include Little Women the Musical in which a local minister played the role of the Grandfather, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown which brought in a professional set designer from Vancouver, The Sound of Music with a cast of over 60 ranging in ages from 8-65, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with a talented children's chorus and spectacular ensemble of brothers, and Into the Woods a dream production for both Nicola and Shelley who remain artistic directors for the company yet always have a hand in the productions whether as director, musical director, choreographer, dramaturg, actor or musician.
Members of Secondary Characters come back year after year to audition, help backstage, design sets, create props, manage, direct, or choreograph productions. Many members go on to hone their craft and further their education in theatre to become a part of semi-professional or professional productions throughout Canada.
One of our latest productions, The Last 5 Years, played in the first annual Rick Rack in the ‘Wack fringe- style festival in Chilliwack and was chosen to present at the Harrison Festival in July. This was a smaller scale musical with only two cast members and played in conjunction with our larger mainstage production of Oklahoma! Our production of The Wizard of Oz saw adult cast members learning from 10 year old dance captains, high school students playing in an orchestra side by side with their music instructors, and youth being trained by theatre staff as running crew backstage.
Last summer’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame played to sold out audiences and had cast members from North Vancouver, New West, Abbotsford and Chilliwack plus local musicians and singers for our amazing orchestra and choir.
Secondary Characters believes in the value of artistic and collaborative opportunities within the community and hopes to continue to offer musical theatre to Chilliwack for many more years to come.