Reported by Chelsea Powrie
South Vancouver’s Metro Theatre is hitting a milestone this month with the opening of Sense and Sensibility, its 500th production.
Sean Ullmann was a child when the Metro Theatre opened its doors in 1962. She grew up in the theatre, hanging around while her mother worked in many capacities.
54 years later, Ulmann is still at South Vancouver’s Metro Theatre, currently managing the costumes for Sense and Sensibility.
“I have the dubious distinction of being the only person left who’s been here since Metro opened,” Ullmann said. “I’m thrilled to see [Sense and Sensibility] being done on such an auspicious occasion.”
The Metro Theatre has a loyal following in South Vancouver. They produce around five shows per season, plus a popular annual Christmas pantomime, a traditional English parody show.
Production director got involved with Metro Theatre around 30 years ago
Joan Bryans, the director of Sense and Sensibility, first got involved at the Metro Theatre as a member of the chorus in the early 80s.
“My daughter was 10 or 11, and at that point I didn’t want her to be in a show without me being around to keep an eye on her,” Bryans said. “I thought, if she’s in it, I’m going to be in it too!”
The importance behind Metro Theatre
Bryans has since become a staple director with the company. She is excited to be involved in the 500th production at the Metro Theatre, which she considers an important community institution.
“There are very few proper theatres left. Here you have a full audience and the red curtains come down just the way it used to be and you have all the bells and whistles,” Bryans said. “And of course there aren’t very many theatres down in this part of the [city].”
The Metro Theatre’s importance also lies in its tradition of fostering emerging talent. Cassie Ledoux is playing Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, her first stage role since moving to Vancouver from Smithers. She’s thrilled that institutions like the Metro Theatre still exist.
“There’s something very special about live theatre,” Ledoux said. “Maybe it inspires something they wouldn’t have otherwise thought about.”