Over the course of 2 evenings 160 people were hosted and fed a five course meal and some mighty powerful performances by a cast of 12 made up of both amateur and professional actors.
The meal was made by the incredible United Church men and women, whose hospitality and delicious fare are well known in these parts. Their able service was assisted by young people from the high school drama department and the Girl Guides of Canada. Much of the food was donated by local farms and businesses.
The play was loosely based on historical people (who's names had been changed) and on a real historical meeting that took place in 1900 to garner support for a new hospital in Chemainus. The basement of Chemainus United was transformed to look like the Horseshoe Bay Inn at the turn of the 20th century.
It was a wonderful experience and I was delighted to be a part of the committee and the wider group that put it on and to have a small role in the play. There were literally so many people involved I haven't space to name all the names.
The idea for the play was planted about a year ago, during a conversation with a couple who are members of the church while I was setting up to facilitate a workshop there.
It grew roots over the winter culminating in eight folks playing a box murder mystery game early in the spring (dinner being served by about the same number of observers) and then forming a committee that met over the course of about six months, planning and giving feedback to the play write - who adjusted his vision to their wise input.
Much thought and consultation went into the venture. One of the most successful things in my mind was drawing on the able contribution of the children and youth from the community -- our kids need to feel important and needed, more than they need material possessions and the latest gadgets. Another reason for the plays success was that several professional actors -- getting wind of the event -- offered their able services. They helped us more amateur thespians rise to the occasion.
It was a longtime dream of mine - to act, and though my part was small, I could see it was an important one as was everyone else's from the villain to the people who set up the tables and chairs and washed the dishes. Without each and everyone's input and support the event could not have been the success it was.
The reception was warm and wonderful and I think everyone in the room had a sense of what a community can accomplish by working together.
I've heard there was a similar experience down the street at the Legion Hall, where another group of volunteers mounted a production of The Full Monty the last two weekends. Much of the positive buzz was around the sense of community these events engendered in performers and audience alike.
As I reflect on the process, I'm struck by how important every little step, and every person's contribution is when creating something new for the community is. Each person's concerns were heard along the way and the direction was sometimes altered because of their wise council.
As I reflect on the role of a Council in a community - my commitment to better, earlier and more thorough communication deepens further.
I just know in my heart that bringing everyone into the equation is what builds a resilient community.
That's what we are in North Cowichan, a community. Neighbours working together, to make our future strong. So glad I have the privilege to call this valley my home.