Photo: Carroll Lefebvre standing on the stage of the play Twelve Angry Men at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre. Credit: Adrian MacNair
Every time you drive south on 56th Street past 12th Avenue in Tsawwassen, you're passing by one of the best kept but unintended secrets in town. The Tsawwassen Arts Centre, owned and managed by the Corporation of Delta, is home to the only award-winning and longest-running theatre company, the Sidekick Players Club, now in their twentieth season.
"We always have to say it's between Petro Canada and the Home Hardware Building Centre or you're going to miss it," laughs Carroll Lefebvre, founder and president of the Sidekick Players.
To gain more notice, she proposed that the municipality paint the building in vibrant colours (by coincidence or providence, the same colours used by the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association, yellow and blue). Delta got to painting the building and the tactic seems to have worked.
"When we first came to the Tsawwassen Arts Centre five years ago we were excited because we could now offer subscriptions. In the first year we had 33 subscribers. We now have 300!"
Carroll has almost 50 years of experience working in theatre and the arts, first as someone handing out programmes in 1970, then later as an actor, director, producer and designer. Thanks to her efforts, theatre was introduced to South Delta in 1997. She has sat on the board of directors with Metro Theatre in Vancouver and White Rock Players, and was president of Theatre BC for six years.
"The reason that I started this group was because I was travelling to Metro Threatre in Vancouver and White Rock Playhouse to belkong to a theatre company," explains Carroll. "I lived in Tsawwassen and would see a lot of people from Tsawwassen and Delta frequenting these venues for live theatre and I thought, 'Why am I driving here and there when maybe it might just work in Delta?' And it did."
Sidekick Players performed at the Genesis Theatre in Ladner for the first 15 years but found the venue too large for their productions. They preferred the intimacy of a smaller theatre. They were also dealing with the problem of being "nomadic" as they performed at Genesis, rehearsed in a classroom of Sacred Heart Elementary, and stored their wardrobe and props Century Storage.
When searching for a space to put everything under one roof, they jumped at the opportunity to relocate to the Tsawwassen Arts Centre.
It's a fitting home, not just for the theatre troupe, but Carroll, who has long volunteered with Delta's Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission. In fact, Carroll received the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Delta Chamber of Commerce Hats Off to Excellence Awards for her work not just in the arts, but with Kin Village and Deltassist.
Her passion, however, remains in theatre, where Sidekick produces four plays each season. This season, the Sidekick Players have performed Mending Fences by Norm Foster, Art by Yasmina Reza, and their recently completed Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose. Their last performance is Jenny's House of Joy by Norm Foster, beginning June 1 and running to the 17th.
Twelve Angry Men is best known by its 1957 film version, starring Henry Fonda as the original holdout against a guilty verdict in the story's murder trial. Carroll says there's a big difference between watching a stage play and a film adaptation.
"Somebody in the audience said that when they saw the movie they would see a closeup of this person and that person and you never really knew what the others were doing. On stage, you can see what everybody else is thinking and it just makes it better."
Of course, Carroll is quick to point out she's far from being alone in bringing theatre to Tsawwassen.
"Over the years, our board of directors has been incredible. Without the strength of a hard-working board, an organization can't succeed. We have been very fortunate to have had the dedication of so many people over the years."
Jenny's House of Joy runs June 1-17
Thurs-Sat with matinees on June 4 and 11. For reservations call 604-288-2415. For more information visit