The Many Hats Theatre Company’s newest member is no stranger to community theatre.
Chuck Peeren, a self-described Shakespearian lover, has been part of more than 100 community theatre productions since his early 20s.
The 60-year-old moved to Penticton several years ago to take care of an aging parent.
Since moving from Ontario, he’s performed in several local productions at other companies including Penticton Chamber Theatre, Red Hot Theatre and the theatre attached to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
“It’s quite amazing how many people are involved in theatre in the Okanagan. The valley is quite the centre for community theatre,” he said.
Peeren said he was first hooked on theatre as a high school student when he helped out with the tech crew on a production. He was in charge of the spotlight.
“I started to fall in love with the whole aspect of theatre. I remember showing up and being in that energy and feeling like, yeah, I’m home now.”
While studying electrical and computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, Peeren walked the boards as an actor for the first time.
“My first acting experience was in a Federation of Staff and Students at University of Waterloo. It was a satirical review. I played a military guy and I never looked back.”
Since then he’s played countless roles, produced, directed and even worked semi-professionally on independent films and other projects.
Shakespeare is a favourite for Peeren, who’s performed in Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Hamlet and most recently in St. Andrew’s production of Midsummer’s Night Dream as Nick Bottom.
“I love the language and the concepts and the way they present multiple thoughts and ideas all within the same body of language.”
In recent productions, Peeren has been been drawn to comedic roles.
In the Many Hats Theatre Company production of Real Estate he plays Ted, the smarmy new boyfriend of the soon-to-be ex-wife of the main character.
Real Estate is written by Canadian playwright Allana Harkin and directed by Many Hats Jamie Eberle.
The plot follows Joel, played by Vance Potter, a mystery writer experiencing writer’s block who retreats to his parent’s home. But the house needs to be sold fast.
Emma, a determined realtor decides Joel is as much of a fixer upper as the house he lives in.
As thing start to heat up between Joel and Emma, played by Adele McNary, the soon to be ex-wife, Jane Stead, turns up with her new boyfriend Ted, looking to have divorce papers signed.
“He’s an interesting character. I take him a bit over the top. It’s a lovely play in that it treats relationships with a real modern sense, but in a comedic way.”
Peeren said the run with Many Hats, which closes Sept. 30 at the Cannery Stage Theatre at 1475 Fairview Ave., is the longest production he’s been a part of.
“It’s really great because it gives time for word of mouth to get out and people to hear that we’re putting on this very fun production.”
Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets can be bought at The Nest and Nectar or reserved by phoning 250-493-7275. For more information visit www.manyhatstheatre.com.