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Shrek: Burnaby North’s Very Own Play
March 8, 2023
Ashley Shen, Grade 8

Theater plays have flourished throughout the world since the 5th century, and have always played a role as an exciting event in schools. It has been four years since the last performed musical in Burnaby North: Ms. Garcia and her students put on “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in the 2017-2018 school year. Weeks away from the performance but halted due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Ms. Agnew and her students were going to perform “Hairspray”. However, this year, in early 2023, Burnaby North will be presenting its very own play: "Shrek". This is a nostalgic, comedy-fantasy film based on the 1990 book written by William Steig adapted and enhanced into one incredible play: Shrek the Musical. Being a Tony Award nominee, it ran on Broadway for a couple of years. This year, we have an opportunity to see it for ourselves.


The Shrek play will be performed at the Shadbolt Centre For The Arts one week after Spring Break from March 29 to 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available to book by calling Performances at the James Cowan Theatre at the Shadbolt Center and reserving: all you will need are a credit card and your enthusiasm. The play is estimated to be around 2.5 hours, full of content that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. 


The performance is done by the Musical Theatre class, an after-school class that meets three times a week: students’ effort is greatly powered by their pure dedication and passion. Rehearsals started in September and ran Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 after school, and from 3:30 to 7:00 or later this January to March. It takes an immense amount of teamwork and support from each other to be able to have such a committed schedule, which this class possesses. Along with the class, many important adult figures are also at hard work. The director, Ms. Agnew, who is among the production team, has played an impressive role in making this musical possible. For Ms. Agnew, being director is “fun to direct committed, curious students.” When asked what she is most proud of about the play, Ms. Agnew responds: “I am always the most proud of my students. This course is their 9th course, in a busy load. Being part of the musical is time consuming but also a very rewarding experience. Students bond and create their community, with strong friendships.” The assistant director, Matthew Wiebe, is an alumni from North, who has volunteered his time to support students, add moments to a scene, run warm ups, and much more. Another alumni, Nadia Bruno, is running the choreography; “She has worked really hard creating interesting, accessible dance moves for all students,” says Ms. Agnew. Nicola Davies has assisted students in learning the music notes as a professional vocal coach. The Italian former opera singer, Mark Pepe, has volunteered many days to help out with the music: he is kind, supportive, and generous with his time and teaching.


By watching the "Shrek" performance, you are kindly adding onto the confidence that performers will gain throughout their shows. Performing is something that anyone can do, and as Ms. Agnew says, “I have such respect for any performer, whether amateur or professional, who just goes for the moment, doesn't hold back, and has the confidence to go for it. Whether or not they mess up a line, a dance move, or their voice cracks, they go for it.”