Roy Surette has been appointed artistic director of the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia. As of July 1, 1997, Surette, currently artistic director of Vancouver's Touchstone Theatre, will replace Glynis Leyshon, who now moves to the Vancouver Playhouse after 11 seasons at the Belfry.
"It is with great excitement and anticipation that I accept the position of artistic director. I have long admired the high calibre of work that...the fine Belfry staff have produced, and it will be an honour to be a part of one of the most respected and successful professional theatre companies in Canada. I look forward to carrying on the Belfry tradition of providing passionate, thought-provoking and entertaining theatre to an audience known to be at once e nthusiastic and discerning."
At the Belfry, Surette has directed Shirley Valentine and Homework & Curtains. He's also worked at the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage and Manitoba Theatre Center. During his Touchstone years, Surette won nine Jessie Richards Theatre Awards.
Patrick Stewart, president of the Belfry Board of Directors, noted that there were more than fifty candidates for the position of artistic director. "If anyone is under the impression that there is a shortage of talent across this country, there is a dossier of resumes at the theatre to disprove this notion." Stewart also praised "the talented and gifted" Leyshon and joked that with her move to Vancouver, that city's parking ticket division "inherits a continual source of income."
Of Surette, outgoing artistic director Leyshon wrote, "He's a wonderful artist, a spiffy dresser, and I know artists throughout Canada join me in applauding this choice." Next up for the Belfry is Rod Beattie's Wingfield Unbound, the fourth(!) and last episode of his Wingfield Trilogy.. Previous plays in this series (Wingfield Farm (1985), Wingfield's Progress (1987) and Wingfield's Folly (1990)), have become the best-selling and longest running non-musicals in Canadian theatre history. Wingfield Unbound runs at the Belfry Jan. 7-Jan. 26, 1997, to be followed by productions in London, Ontario and summer at the Stratford Festival.
For information on upcoming Belfry productions, call (604) 385-6815.
--By David Lefkowitz