From left to right

Theatre company marks 20 years of innovative entertainment

Twenty-one years ago, Matthew Payne and Sarah Donald walked into a Victoria coffee shop and transformed the venue into a romantic comedy.

Twenty-one years ago, Matthew Payne and Sarah Donald walked into a Victoria coffee shop and transformed the venue into a romantic comedy.

The venue was the first space Theatre SKAM used to perform their first play, Plane Jane — a six-and-a-half minute piece about a couple that meets on an airplane.

To mark its 20th anniversary, Payne and another Sarah (Sarah Murphy) will return to the same coffee shop (Bean Around the World Coffeehouse) to perform that same play, along with the premier of Text Ed. The two short plays are part of SKAM Remixed: The Ami Project, and are written by one of SKAM’s founders, Amiel Gladstone.

For Payne, revisiting a play he first performed more than 20 years ago is a walk down memory lane.

“The script is 21 years old but it’s been reinvented and retold and Sarah is bringing out different things,” said Payne, noting the performance will also take place on the same day it did 21 years ago with the same admission price. “It’s quite nostalgic for me.”

Theatre SKAM was formed in 1995 by four emerging artists — Donald, Karen Turner, Gladstone and Payne (their first initials make up the name SKAM). After 12 years as an ad-hoc project-based company, Payne took over as artistic producer with a mandate to move the company to year-round operations.

Building a reputation as creators of innovative site-specific work, the company now operates with two part-time staff, supporting local artists and has performed in Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, France and Nanaimo.

Payne describes the last 21 years as a wonderful blur. He’s the only one still involved in the day-to-day operations and admits it was a challenge at times keeping the company together. There’s been cuts to its operation funding at the federal level and performers have moved away, but Theatre SKAM has managed to stay alive thanks to regional funds.

“Other than my own stubbornness or determination, depending on the day, I’m not sure what else is sort of driving the heart of it,” said Payne, noting the company recently hired an operations manager. “It’s pretty exciting to be entering a new era.”

Last year, Theatre SKAM performed a dozen shows and partnered with many other companies — something Payne said they haven’t been able to do a lot of in the past. One of its most successful touring shows is Fashion Machine, which will be taken to the U.K in May and performed at a number of venues.

Text Ed, the second performance for its upcoming Victoria show, is a new 30-minute play that was originally written for a teen audience about the joys of being on your phone too much. Gladstone, who now works as a freelance writer and director in Vancouver, originally wrote the play for Green Thumb Theatre, but it was never produced.

“It’s a play that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day…There was something kind of delightfully twisted about a play that’s intended for a teen audience and putting 40-year-old actors into those parts,” said Payne. “It’ll be fun to see what happens. We described it in rehearsals as a cross between a Scooby Doo mystery and The Breakfast Club.”

The Ami Project takes place Jan 12 to 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $5 to $15 depending on the night. For more information visit skam.ca or call 250-386-7526.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read