MINTY: Poets brew up another timely initiative in Newton

Cedar Bark group just one branch of Friends of the Grove

Cedar Bark Poets group members at Newton Espresso Café.

Cedar Bark Poets group members at Newton Espresso Café.

SURREY — April is National Poetry Writing Month. I have learned this from Friends of The Grove, a Newton neighborhood initiative that began as a grassroots project to make the area more inviting, safer and also save The Grove, that small stand of big trees next to the Newton bus exchange and Newton Recreation Centre.

Friends of the Grove started very small but have expanded their activities to be as big as the trees in the Grove. The Cedar Bark Poets group is just one of its “branches.” To celebrate National Poetry Writing Month, the Friends, Cedar Bark Poets and Newton Espresso Café are launching another “Pay with a Poem” initiative and want us to take on the 30-poems-in-30-days challenge. OK, so we are already a week behind the game, but there it is. Send your poem to, and they promise to make a daily post of submissions.

This challenge is open to beginners and experts alike. Even if you’ve never written a poem in your life, your contributions are welcome. Once you have submitted your poem, you can use it to purchase a cup of coffee at the Newton Espresso Café, located at 7330 137th St. All poems must be original and can be on any theme. Suggested theme is “Mugs and Conversation.”

The next gathering of the Cedar Bark Poets is on Saturday, April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Newton Tim Hortons, 7272 King George Blvd. Contact for more information about the poem project and the group as well. You may not change the neighbourhood, but to quote Mother Teresa: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Let’s make waves, not just ripples. Start with a poem.

Friends of The Grove have just completed the second printing of the “We Are Newton” neighbourhood anthology, and free copies are being distributed to businesses in the Newton town centre. More words, more ripples, more events to bring the neighbourhood together. It’s great to have Friends.

Surrey Little Theatre is in need of friends or current members, at any rate. If you are a current member of the theatre company, you are needed at the next general meeting, on Wednesday, April 12 starting at 7 p.m. There are changes to SLT’s constitution that need to be voted on to comply with Canada Revenue Agency’s requirements for SLT to get charity status. Status is critical to the sustainability going forward as a theatre, as it allows SLT to access additional funding not currently available to them. Get to the meeting and vote; this is no small stone to make a bit of a ripple. It’s vital.

Surrey Little Theatre’s next production is “Home Child,” which opens on April 20. This Canadian play is SLT’s entry into the regional Theatre B.C. competition. This year, SLT is actually hosting the Fraser Valley zone festival – but not at its home theatre! White Rock Players have most graciously extended the offer to use its Coast Capital Playhouse for this festival. More seats, bigger stage area and easy access. This theatre space is not city-owned, and the day-to-day operations are done by volunteer power. The festival this year will feature Canadian plays in recognition of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Meanwhile, Peninsula Productions will stage its summer production, “Sea of Stories,” at the Coast Capital stage from Aug. 9 to 26. This newly commissioned play tells the story of the history of White Rock, and is also in celebration of Canada’s 150th. This production will require performers, and Peninsula Productions is looking for students to audition. Those wishing to audition must be between the ages of 15 to 30, in school full-time currently and will return to school full-time in September. Also, those who audition must have background and training in the performing arts (singing and dancing), and will not only perform in “Sea of Stories” but also act as outreach ambassadors for Peninsula Productions during public events at Canada Day, B.C. Day, White Rock Sea Festival and various events leading up to the run of the show.

Apply by emailing picture and resume to Janet Ellis at, with “Sea Of Stories Performer” in the subject line.

Go ahead, make some waves not just ripples.


Surrey Now

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