The upcoming production of Iolanthe at The ACT is a "unique" collaboration in Maple Ridge, according to its director.
The production is a collaboration between the Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Arts Council, the newly formed Ridge Meadows Orchestra, and Odeum Theatre, a non-profit theatre group run by Rayne Beveridge.
The Ridge Meadows Orchestra was formed less than a year ago, and Beveridge, who is conducting it, is hoping it will eventually turn into a full symphony.
"It's exciting for a community to have an orchestra - it's like a benchmark," Beveridge said.
Having the orchestra provide the music instead of a backing track will make a huge difference to the production of Iolanthe, Beveridge said.
Iolanthe is a Gilbert and Sullivan musical that is a parody of British politics of the late 19th century.
The arts council has supported the production of the musical as part of its arts programming. This is the first year such a collaboration has happened and Karen Pighin, communications manager for the arts council, said she hopes it continues next year.
"I'm grateful they're willing to support us... to develop arts in the community," Beveridge said.
The 19 actors involved have been working on Iolanthe since September.
The production has benefited from inkind donations as well, Beveridge said, for example, they were lent a grand piano for several days including the moving costs.
This helps tremendously, Beveridge pointed out, as the production is being run on a "shoestring budget."
The grand piano is an important piece, Beveridge added, because of the calibre of their pianist, Sergei Saratovsky.
The Ridge Meadows Orchestra is accepting new registrations. Auditions will be held on July 3 at Westacres, 23575 124th Ave. at 7: 30 p.m.
Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe will be presented at The ACT this Saturday, June 30. Showtimes are at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the ACT: four for $40, $12 in advance, and $15 at the door.