James Shannon, Nicola Shannon, Danielle Snider, Cassie Unger are part of the newly Little Dipper Theatre Company. Their inaugural production will be presented in June at Bez Arts Hub. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

James Shannon, Nicola Shannon, Danielle Snider, Cassie Unger are part of the newly Little Dipper Theatre Company. Their inaugural production will be presented in June at Bez Arts Hub. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Zeal to make hometown an art hub, Langley resident launches a theatre company

New venture to open up opportunities for local artists

Tapping in on the growing population and an expanding network of Fraser Valley theatre artists, a Langley resident is launching her own theatre company.

Nicola Shannon hopes to add a unique voice to the local art scene through her new venture, Little Dipper Theatre Company.

Shannon graduated from Langley’s Trinity Western University 10 years ago. And since then, she has seen actors wanting fulfilling theatre careers relocating to Vancouver or other larger cities for opportunities.

Perturbed by her own experiences looking for bookings outside Langley, she embarked on a journey to launch her own theatre company.

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Alongside her partner, James Shannon, producer Danielle Snider, and co-producer Cassie Unger, Shannon decided to return to Langley with a desire to create more opportunities for thespians residing in the Fraser Valley.

“We are grateful for the theatre companies that already exist in the area and we want to add our voices and skills to the local theatre ecology,” said Nicola, Little Dipper’s artistic director and founder.

Snider, too, wished to utilize her skills closer to home, and when she heard of Nicola’s initiative, she was quick to join as a producer.

I love my life in the Valley, and it’s not practical for me to audition and perform out in Vancouver, especially as a mother of young children,” she said.

Hopeful of the future, Snider added that the venture would create opportunities for artists wanting to participate in “meaningful and quality theatre” locally.

The team of four believes that artists in the region have “remarkable” things to contribute to the community, like a unique voice.

Pointing at the growing population of Langley, Nicola said that Langley needs more theatre.

“More people in the area means more artists and more art-lovers. We want the Langley theatre community to be as large and varied as Langley’s growing population.”

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As a newly launched theatre company, Little Dipper seeks to add its voice to the diverse community by prioritizing Canadian plays, new works, stories of women, and exploring classic texts in a new light.

Unger feels connected with the new venture and believes that her passion and the priorities of the theatre company match perfectly.

“All of the company’s priorities are things that I am passionate about and that, I feel, will bring new life to the local theatre scene,” she said.

An inaugural performance by the theatre company will presented in June. The show, called Nowheresville, BC, is a new play by local playwright Chantal Gallant.

The comedy-genre show follows the story of Mia Oldé as she returns to her small Vancouver Island hometown with the ashes of her recently deceased brother.

Nicola shared that auditions for the show were held recently, with a great turnout from actors all across the Fraser Valley.

“The response so far has been very positive,” she added. “People are excited about the company and eager to volunteer and audition.”

Tickets for the show are on sale, and Little Dipper is also committing to planting one tree for every ticket sold.

Nowheresville, BC, will be presented at Bez Arts Hub from June 8 to 18.

For tickets and more information about Little Dipper Theatre Co., people can visit their website, littledippertheatre.com

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