Phil Dyck plays Ponyboy and Corryn Ginter of Langley plays Cherry in Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of The Outsiders.

Gallery 7 Theatre explores youth gang culture

Gallery 7 Theatre of Abbotsford is presenting their first production of the 2011/2012 theatre season, The Outsiders

Gallery 7 Theatre of Abbotsford is presenting their first production of the 2011/2012 theatre season, The Outsiders, Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s powerful tale about youth caught in a violent clash between social classes in the 1960s.

Influenced by a code perpetuated by forces somehow beyond them, the Greasers depend on each other for safety and survival.  When Johnny kills a Soc during an unprovoked attack, tensions between the two rival gangs simmer to a boiling point and all out war seems inevitable. Seen through the eyes of Ponyboy, a young Greaser haunted by the poetry of Robert Frost, the story progresses and we discover that despite the circumstances, hope is never gone, virtue can reside in even the worst of characters and change is only one decision away.

“This is an important production for our community,” explains Ken Hildebrandt, Gallery 7’s Artistic Director. “It explores the lives of young people seeking refuge in gangs. It also explores the people behind the tough exterior, revealing the pain, anxiety and more importantly, the hopes & dreams that reside in their soul.”

Directing The Outsiders is Megan Mackenzie. Mackenzie appeared onstage in last season’s productions of Peter Pan and Quiet in the Land and is a graduate of the UFV Theatre program. “I was first introduced to the story in an eighth grade English class where reading the novel was mandatory,” she explains. “Being a teenage girl, I hardly expected to relate to Ponyboy or any of the loud-mouth, rule breaking Greasers.  But as I continued to read, important themes began to emerge: Friendship, love and loss, fear and frustration, revenge and oppression, and battling against life’s circumstances… these were all things I could connect with.”

Gallery 7 Theatre’s production will feature the acting talents of performers from Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope and Langley. Playing Ponyboy, the sensitive and independent young thinker and dreamer, is Phil Dyck. Jeremy Hoos takes on the role of Johnny, Pony’s best friend. Dallas, the quintessential Greaser rebel is played by Dallas Hanson and Cherry, the inquisitive and equalitarian Soc is played by Corryn Ginter.

Rounding out the cast in alphabetical order are Morgan Cox, Kenzie Hall, Torry Janz, Patrick Jolicoeur, Zachery Keely, Janik Livera, Greg Potoky, Natasha Thompson, Jenna Veenbaas, Reyna Webb and Becky Wiebe. For select performances, the role of Ponyboy will be played by Torry Janz.

Set Design is by Archie McMurchy, costume design is by Leora Hachey, lighting design is by Ken Hildebrandt and sound design is by Rick Havinga. Fight choreography is by Derek Ward-Hall, stage manager is Charlene Crawford and production photographer is Dianna Lewis of Creative Memory Studio.

The Outsiders runs November 4-5, 10-12, 17-19, 7:30 p.m. with additional discounted matinees on November 5 and 12, 2 p.m. at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets for evening performances are $18.00 Adults; $16.00 Seniors (65+) & Students; $15 Groups (10 or more) and $10.00 for children 12 & under. Tickets for matinee performances are $13 General and $10.00 for children 12 & under.  They can be purchased at the House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or by calling 604-852-3701 or toll free at 1-800-665-8828.

For complete details on Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of The Outsiders and the rest of the theatre’s 2011/2012 “Live. Breathe.  Experience.” season, visit their website at www.gallery7theatre.com

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