It was with a heavy heart that we included a story in the Gazette last week about the possible dissolution facing the Kaatza Lakeside Players.
The popular theatre group has been putting on productions in Lake Cowichan since 1985, and most people in the area have at least seen one of their shows, if they haven’t hit the stage themselves. Still other residents have made costumes and sets and done all the behind-the-scenes work that makes a show come alive when the lights come up.
Unlike other small theatre groups in small communities, the Lakeside Players have a healthy bank account. They’re not begging for money, they’re begging for people to give of their time. The group doesn’t need people to open their wallets, it needs people to open their hearts.
A special emergency meeting to try to install a new board of directors had not yet taken place when this editorial was written, but will be in the history books by the time you read this.
We hope that the outcome is positive. Because the Kaatza Lakeside Players are part of the heart and soul of Cowichan Lake.
When people measure the success, desirability and liveability of a community the focus tends often to be on the economy — how does the town look? Are there a lot of empty storefronts? Can you get a job? Then people will look at sporting and recreation opportunities in the area. Is there an arena? Hiking trails?
But equally important is the culture of a place. The vibrancy of its arts and entertainment scene is vital to the overall health of the community. After your job is done, is there somewhere to go to stimulate your mind and heart? Theatre provides people the chance to laugh, cry and think, whether they’re sitting in the audience or on the stage. Theatre can help different people understand and accept one another. It can pass on beloved traditions and introduce new ideas. It’s as vital a part of intellectual life and growth of a community as the public library.
The Kaatza Lakeside Players aren’t the only volunteer-run group struggling to keep up in this busy world. Many groups find that as their stalwart volunteers retire, they are hard-pressed to find new ones to take their place. People don’t have a lot of spare time. But many hands make light work, as they say, and the Kaatza Lakeside Players is a legacy worth preserving.