Ellie King has officially retired from her role as head of the Surrey-based Royal Canadian Theater Company, which has announced its next run of shows.
Retiring from her job as general artistic director of the theater company she co-founded in 2006, King passed the reins to production manager Crystal Weltzin and artistic director Kerri Norris.
King says she will continue to perform and direct.
“I’m going back to my own career which has kind of been stuck since 2000,” she told friends on Facebook. “Surprisingly, since I officially retired, I’ve had a slew of auditions!”
Royal Canadian will be taken to the “next level” by Norris and Weltzin, King said, with the help of a board led by chair Linda McCrossin. “Together, this strong team will not only continue our work, but will make this an even more compelling entity,” King said.
King has been part of the Metro Vancouver theater scene since the early 1980s and in 2013 won a Surrey Civic Treasure Award for his work with the Royal Canadian Company.
She is well known for writing and directing British-style pantomime theater productions every festive season.
Last December, Royal Canadian’s “Alice in Wonderland” panto was written by Weltzin and directed by Norris, who had inherited those roles from King for the first time.
Norris worked with King before RCTC began and has been with the company since its inception in 2006.
Weltzin recently mentored King from the production management side and first worked with Royal Canadian in 2010 as an ensemble member in King’s ‘Robin Hood’ panto.
“As (King) steps back to enjoy a well-deserved break,” the company said in a press release, “the foundations she has built for the business and her passion for the arts will resonate in the work of those she mentored along the way.”
King “has been instrumental in the continuity and survival of the Royal Canadian Theater Company, particularly throughout COVID-19,” the statement continued. “She mentored new performers and developed our creative teams into the thriving theater company we are today. Ellie’s dedication and can-do attitude has made her an incredibly valuable advisor to the RCTC. Her leadership and collaboration with the board and production team will be sorely missed, and we are deeply grateful for the significant contributions she has made to the creation of this theatrical family.
In the meantime, King thanked those “who have worked for, given their time, supported and encouraged our little theater company which could – and did and does – present excellent, truly entertaining and affordable theatre. A special thank you to Geoff, my long-suffering husband, and my beloved family for putting up with my almost complete absence while I worked to build and run the RCTC.
Looking ahead, Royal Canadian is planning its 2022-23 show season, starting with the romantic comedy ‘Ghost of a Chance’ in October at the Surrey Arts Center and also at the Anvil Center in New Westminster. This year’s panto will be “The Snow Queen: A Frozen Adventure”, followed next spring by a production of “The Last of the Ardent Lovers” by Neil Simon, directed by Nicole DesLauriers. More details at rctheatreco.com.
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