Baggins role has been a dream for years

Preparing for opening night and his first lead role, Zavier Tanner wasn’t nervous, but rather excited about bringing the character of Bilbo Baggins to life.

That might be shocking to hear from most 14-year-olds, but maybe not from a young actor who has been on stage since before he was old enough to be in school, and a boy who has eight plays and several television commercials under his belt.

“I guess I’ve lost the opening night nerves. I am just very excited,” he said just hours before the show was set to open last Friday.

Langley’s Imagine That! productions raised the curtain last weekend on the first of six showings of The Hobbit, and young Zavier – better known to his friends as Ziggy – said it was like a dream.

He remembers from an early age longing to be part of a play based on one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books.

 â€œI was really excited to see that this year’s production was The Hobbit, as I am a big Tolkien fan,” explained the Grade 9 Clayton Heights Secondary student.

“At Imagine That! we don’t audition for specific roles, but I have always hoped that when [the company’s producers and director] Faith [Toronchuk] did The Hobbit again, I’d be old enough to be Bilbo Baggins.”

And so it was written. Weekly rehearsals began back in July to prepare Ziggy and the cast for a fistful of performances.

“I have always loved fantasy and Tolkien,” added Ziggy, noting he’s been immersed in community theatre most of his life and been a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan almost as long.

“I have seen all the LOTR and Hobbit movies that are currently out, and I have read The Hobbit novel multiple times,” he said.

Being given the chance to play the role as Baggins, Ziggy said, is really the answer to a dream.

But that said, “the most difficult part about being Bilbo is that he is so different from me,” the aspiring young actor added. “Bilbo doesn’t like adventures where I on the other hand love them. I sometimes wish that I had been born in Middle Earth.”

His mother, Chelle, has been an instructor, acting coach, stage manager, and assistant director with Imagine That! since the company’s inception in 2003, and Ziggy can recall from an early age watching rehearsals and painting set, longing for his turn on stage.

By age five, he was enrolled in acting classes, and by age eight he had his first role in Nate the Great.

This is his ninth show with Imagine That! And while he said he’s played both minor and major roles in past, this is the first time he landed the lead.

Asked what the scariest part is about his latest role, after some thoughtful contemplation he replied: “To me, there’s nothing scary about this role or being an actor. There are lots of responsibilities, of course, such as a lot of lines to memorize and blocking to remember.”

Being on stage – whether it’s as an actor or as a musician with his band– is defnitely in the cards for this young thespian.

As for specifically what is next, the Clayton Heights youth is not too sure yet.

While there’s no set plans for another play in the immediate future, he said he’s going to be working to build his YouTube channel of game play and he’s working – as a guitarist – with a band. He’s also planning to handcraft his own acoustic guitar with his Uncle Rod.

Undoubtedly, he said, he will perform in future Imagine That! Productions – but what that will be has not yet been determined.

The Hobbit began last weekend, but continues this weekend, with a 7:30 p.m. show Friday, and two more matinees on Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9 at 2:30 p.m.

The Venue is located in Friends Langley Vineyard church at 5708 Glover Rd. Ticket info:

He’s joined in the cast for this production by:

  • Derek Usher as Gandalf the Grey 

  • Liam Sullivan as Thorin Oakenshield

  • Ted Staunton as Balin & Smaug the Dragon

  • Paul Johnston as Bombur & Goblin King    

  • Miranda Croft as Dwalin & Lord Elrond of Rivendell

  • Jessa Martens as Kili & Thranduil Elven King

  • Lauren Blakemore as Nori, Bert Troll & Bard Master Archer

  • Ginny Thingvold as Ori, Gollum & Spider

  • Julie-Ann Kliewer as Fili, Tom Troll & Spider

  • Abby Davyduck as Bifur & William Troll

  • Aimee White as Bofur & Goblin General

  • Tamara Croft as Old Took

  • Appearances by Tonia Martens, Shelley Davyduck and Talitha Fagan

Just Posted

Day 3 brings fourth win for the Langley-based Team BC

Tyler Tardi and squad plays two games Tuesday at the junior curling nationals in Saskatchewan.

Cash-for-signs policy pondered by Langley Township

A deposit could be required to put up election signs in 2022.

RCMP ‘amending’ helicopter training after complaints in Surrey

Cloverdale residents say the Air One chopper was in the air for hours and flying at low altitudes

Langley charity looks to South Asian community for hospital support

The Giving Hearts Gala is the newest initiative of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

LETTER: Langley resident challenged MP’s immigration ‘truths’

A writer says well-vetted immigrants who can contribute to Canadian society should be the priority.

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Most Read