Credit: Jalen Laine Photography
The Re-enactors are back for the 2023 season!
About the Troupe
The Re-enactors are an award-winning heritage re-enactment performance troupe based on real people from Surrey's past. Attending the City's major events, each of the historical characters has a poignant part in Surrey's past. Portrayed by actors who do not break character, they are a troupe to behold.
|Harvest Fair||Saturday, September 23||11am-3pm||Historic Stewart Farm|
|BOO-seum||Saturday, October 28||1-4pm||Museum of Surrey|
|Victorian Christmas||Saturday, December 9||4-7pm||Historic Stewart Farm|
Meet the Cast
1852 - 1911
Eric left his home of Sweden when he was just 11 years old in 1863. He made his way to Canada in 1872 when his ship arrived in the Burrard Inlet. As the ship’s carpenter, he was sent ashore to gather timber for ship repairs. Upon seeing BC’s natural beauty, he abandoned his hard life on the whaling ship and crossed the Fraser River to settle near Mud Bay, on the Nicomekl River. He was a homesteader and carpenter and early settler of Surrey.
Portrayed by Ryan Haneman* (he/him)
Ryan started his career in Ottawa and has performed at venues like Ottawa Little Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre company, Sock ’n’ buskin, and the NAC. He has studied the craft from several renowned teachers from all around North America.
Ryan has been entertaining audiences for almost 40 years in almost every style of performance, such as magic shows, Clowning, Ballroom Dance, Mime, Busking, Stand-up comedy, improv, corporate gigs, musicals and more. Ryan is very excited to be back again this season and is constantly pinching himself with how lucky he is to be working with such a talented group of people in The Re-Enactors.
1884 - 1957
Zennosuke moved to Vancouver from Hiroshima at 16. He enlisted in the Overseas Expeditionary Force and fought for Canada in France. After the war, he purchased 80 acres of land in Strawberry Hills and built a homestead. He was President of the Surrey Berry Growers' Association.
During World War II, he and his family endured the hardship of the internment camps and the repossession of his farmland, profitable business and home. He wrote 80 letters to government offices and ministers, fighting to regain his land.
He is the only Japanese Canadian war veteran to have his land returned to him.
Portrayed by Kevin Takahide Lee*
Yonsei, Kevin Takahide Lee is a firm believer that the arts must be interwoven with social needs. For over a decade Kevin has been involved with productions focused on IBPOC stories. This includes producing and directing a multicultural choir, being exhibited at the National Museum for Human Rights and sitting on the Powell Street Festival’s programming committee.
Kevin is particularly interested in telling Japanese Canadian stories. He is currently in his eleventh season portraying Zennosuke Inouye and was recently in the Arts Club Theatre and Theatre Calgary’s joint production of ‘Forgiveness’ by Hiro Kanagawa, based in Mark Sakamoto’s memoir. In December he will be touring ‘Hold These Truths’ the story of Dr. Gordon Hirabayashi, by Jeanne Sakata, throughout Alberta.
Mary Jane Shannon
1876 - 1964
Mary Jane Shannon began her life as a student in the first Surrey school, established by her father, Thomas Shannon and a few others. She attended high school in Vancouver and after teaching in the wilds of Lac La Hache, she returned to Cloverdale to become the teacher at her old school.
She was a remarkable woman who had a zest for life and learning. She left her teaching post to pursue a degree in Nursing at Columbia University. Always one for adventure, she studied writing in New York after World War II and spent her later years back in Surrey writing her Cariboo Tales.
Portrayed by Sara Holt* (she/her)
Sara is so thankful to be performing and living on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and Semiahma (Semiahmoo) people. She has been working professionally as an actor on repeat contracts since graduating Langara College’s professional actor training program, Studio 58, in the spring of 2000. Her credits include productions with: DreamRider Productions, The Only Animal, The City of Surrey, Azure Studio's, The Kot Collective and Fort Steele Heritage Town.
She is a founding member of DreamRider Productions, resident actor, costume designer and choreographer. She has a passion for historic theatre, musical theatre, theatre for young audiences, writing, animal rescue, and protecting the environment. When she is not busy working, creating or volunteering for the GirlGuides of Canada or VRRA (rabbit rescue), Sara is a happily married, busy mom of two.
1906 - 1995
Irene Margaret Bourassa (nee Christmas), was born in Harting, England to Arthur John Christmas and Ethel Amy Christmas in 1906. Irene is the second eldest. Irene immigrated to Canada with her mother, sister, and brother in 1913 when Irene was 7 years old – her father had immigrated two years prior to help set up their new life in Canada. The Christmas family lived on Cumberland Street in New Westminster together until 1921 when they moved to Surrey. Irene studied Animal Husbandry at UBC as one of the first women in the program and spent the rest of her life living in Surrey with her husband Arthur Bourassa until her passing.
Portrayed by Holly Newberry* (she/her)
Holly found her passion for theatre and performing arts as a young girl in summer acting camps. After taking part in high school plays, falling even deeper in love with her craft, she completed The Performing Arts & Theatre diploma program at Douglas College. Since graduating college, Holly has had the pleasure of working professionally in the world of film/television, portraying characters in various short and feature films. She is excited to get back to her theatre roots with The Surrey Re-enactors troupe. When she’s not on stage or in front of the camera, Holly runs her own small business “Earth Angel” creating handmade goods inspired by her spiritual approach to her acting practice.
Sarjit "Mac" Singh
1929 - 1978
Mac's family moved to Surrey in 1938. Mac was active in the 4-H Club and the Jaycees and was the National Potato Champ in 1951 along with community member Bob Bose. He participated in many Surrey initiatives to do with agriculture. In his life, he experienced many hardships such as racist bullying when he was in school, the death of his father in stories address the racist bullying he confronted in childhood, the hardships his family faced when their father passed away, his mother re-married and Mac had to quit school to help on the farm, and finally the success he found in agriculture and farming later in life.
Portrayed by Akshaya Pattanayak* (he/him)
Akshaya is an actor based in Vancouver. The name Akshaya means 'never ending'. He was born in Montreal, Canada, but raised in different parts of India. He graduated in 2019 with an MFA in Acting from the University of Southern California. Notable theatre credits include: Bad Hamlet and Milkcrate Monologues.
Jessica Anne Nelson (she/her)
Jessica is an award-winning theatre director, creator, producer, and intimacy director, living and working on the traditional homelands of the Salish peoples; the xwməθkwəyə (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), ̓Səlílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓ ic̓ əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ wɑ:n̓ ƛən̓ (Kwantlen), Semiahma (Semiahmoo), Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations. Jessica sets the bar for creating respectful, passionate, and imaginative spaces for artists to play and explore in her gripping and provocative productions. Her intimacy direction centers on the principles of creating consent-based and trauma-informed work where we can have braver rehearsal and creation spaces. She has trained with the National Society of Intimacy Professionals (Canada) and Theatrical Intimacy Education (USA), and holds a MFA in Directing (UBC). Jessica’s work focuses on stories that strive for social change, reimagine negative characters and stories, and applies a feminist lens to the pieces. Learn more about the work Jessica does with Excavation Theatre at www.excavationtheatre.com, or reach Jessica at www.jessicaannenelson.com. Jessica is excited to be working with The Re-enactors again and looks forward to seeing the community out and about around the city this year!
Jasmin is a stage manager working & living on the traditional, unceded, and occupied territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Select stage management credits; Truth & Lies (SM, Pi Theatre), Teenage Dick (ASM, ACTC), The Three Little Pigs (CTYP), Otosan (Little Onion Puppet Co.), Classic Country Roads (Chemainus Theatre Festival), WAVE/S, HORIZON/S, OVERTURE/S, Reveal + Tell & What If (ASM, Ballet BC), East Van Panto: Alice in Wonderland (ApSM, Theatre Replacement), No Child (ApSM, ACTC), House at Pooh Corner (ApSM, CTYP), It’s a Wonderful Life & Herringbone (ApSM, Patrick Street Productions), It’s a Bit Grimm, Second Star to the Right & The Windsinger (Place des Arts), Next to Normal, The Nether, Spring Awakening & Dogfight (West Moon Theatre). Select other credits; Uninterrupted (VR Staging Manager, Canada Wild Arts Society) & Amélie the Musical (Production Manager, West Moon Theatre).
*The participation of these Artists are arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance • Opera • Theatre Policy.
The Re-enactors were the winners of the 2015 British Columbia Parks and Recreation Association’s Program Excellence Award.