Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Summer Message from the Managing Director

photo_mouse_5Whether you’re here for the first time or your fiftieth, we’re elated that you’ve joined us today in Chemainus!

The show that you’re about to see is the culmination of a lengthy, intensive creative process. As much as two years can pass from the day that we obtain licensing rights for a production to the day that show opens.

All of our shows are fully professional with directors, designers and casts from across Canada. The full host of creative talent converges on Chemainus weeks before the scheduled opening, to rehearse and bring to life all those lines of text and bars of notes contained in the script. Over the course of a season, we employ over 150 artists to stage eight different theatrical productions.

The Theatre is fortunate to own all of the facilities that we require to create and perform productions. From the 270 seat main stage theatre that you’re sitting in today, to the rehearsal hall, costume shop, scene shop and offices all located a few blocks away next door to the Best Western Hotel – they’re all dedicated to providing you with an amazing theatrical experience.

The Chemainus Theatre is a registered charity, just the same as all Canadian theatres from the smallest to the very largest like the Shaw or Stratford Festivals in Ontario. We draw about 70,000 theatre-goers a year and you may be surprised to learn that we are the 3rd largest professional theatre in British Columbia.

This is all only possible with you – a wonderfully supportive and engaged audience. Thank you for attending and we hope you leave here today enriched, entertained and eagerly looking forward to your next Chemainus Theatre Experience.

Randal Huber

Twist and Shout: Director’s Notes

Alex Mustakas

Alex Mustakas

I have been a fan of the British Invasion sound all my life, and many years ago I said to a close friend that I would love to pay tribute to that era with a show called Twist and Shout. Not sure what took so long, but here we are 30 years later. Okay, I’ve been busy! The inspiration for the show came to me when I attended a taping of the David Letterman show a number of years ago. It happens to be housed in the old Ed Sullivan Theatre on Broadway in New York City. I started thinking about the first time The Beatles appeared on that show, in that theatre – on February 9th, 1964. They actually played to a television audience of 73 million – the largest audience ever assembled in the history of American TV up to that time.

A lot of research followed and of course a show like this calls for a collaboration of sorts. I approached my good friend and one of Canada’s leading Music Directors, Bob Foster. When I told him my idea on how to approach the subject matter he immediately agreed to participate. He would write all the vocal and band arrangements. Soon after, Gino Berti joined the team as our brilliant choreographer. I also wanted to include some historic visual elements to the show so I contacted my colleagues Peter Conrad and Steve Kelly who excel in documentary production. One further piece of the puzzle was to involve Michael Bignell, a life-long friend who could contribute his historical expertise of the period.

The true British Invasion took place between 1964 and 1967 in America and this fresh sound would dominate the American music scene like nothing before or since. In a musical revue format of this period we pay tribute to all those great acts that forever changed the landscape of modern music.

This was a very important period of time in modern culture. Little did we know the arrival of The Beatles in New York would change the world forever. Over that four year period – and very much continuing today – the British Invasion influenced the music charts, the movies, and the fashion stores. When The Beatles led the Invasion in 1964 they provided us a fresh, exciting sound like we’d never heard before, creating a tremendous influence not only on the world of music but also on the whole of society.

We now ask you to sit back in this most beautiful theatre and enjoy a walk down memory lane. And please… feel free to Twist and Shout.

About Alex

Artistic Director, award-winning Drayton Entertainment (25 Years). Director, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels North American tour. Director, Spamalot (Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton). Productions at The Piggery (North Hatley, Quebec), Stage West (Mississauga) and Lighthouse Festival (Port Dover). Producer, Godspell and Camelot North American tours. Awards: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Theatre Ontario, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Twitter @AlexMustakas

By |June 25th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season|0 Comments

Review: The British are coming… to Chemainus!

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Cast of Twist and Shout

by Lexi Bainas, The Citizen

The British are invading the Chemainus Theatre for a long summer run with starting on Friday, June 12 at 8 p.m. Twist and Shout takes you way back to the Swinging Sixties: to the days when mop-top haircuts and stylish mod suits and groovy new sounds gave notice that it was great to be young.

Groups like the Beatles, who took the American pop and RB sounds they loved and gave them a new kick, arrived in North America.

An adoring public rocketed their music to the top of the charts.

Sure, 50 years have passed, but everyone still knows and loves these tunes. So, for a really swinging summer, the Chemainus Theatre Festival is presenting as its 2015 blockbuster musical, Twist Shout: The British Invasion, an acclaimed song and dance revue that includes 64 all-time hits, and anecdotes about the music revolution.

Across Canada, Twist Shout has played to the delight of many, from nostalgic baby boomers to young generations who dig its retro-cool music. “In the summer, we like to give audiences of all ages a reason to take time for the theatre,” says Festival marketing manager Michelle Vogelgesang. “Twist Shout is a show that is both entertaining and a great story for a wide variety of people.”

By |June 20th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season, Reviews|0 Comments

Review: Chemainus musical out-of-the-park hit

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Cast of Twist and Shout

When I type “that was so much fun” after seeing the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s summer musical offering Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, I’m having to restrain myself from doing it in all capitals (shouting).

What the heck: THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

I was a little skeptical at the beginning of the theatre’s season when they announced this would be their summer show — typically their biggest production of the year. Not that a revue format with familiar tunes sounded bad, just that it was a huge departure from the last few years when they scored big hits with polished, mainstream Broadway shows like Fiddler on the Roof and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, culminating in last summer’s amazing presentation of Les Misérables.

All my doubts were swept away when I attended opening night last Friday.

This show is spectacular. It has energy to burn and directs it skillfully into an extravaganza of multimedia music and comedy that’s the perfect complement to a summer night.

From the blockbuster opening number that will have you dancing in your seat to the finale, the exhilaration never fades, as performer after performer steps up to the mic to front a well-known, well-loved song and blows it away.

This isn’t simply a mimicry of musical greats, it’s a great cast with great voices evoking the feel of an era that not only changed music, but changed the world.

– Read more at Cowichan Valley Citizen

By |June 18th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season, Reviews|0 Comments

Twist and Shout: Meet the Cast, Designers & Creators

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Alex Mustakas

Writer / Director

Artistic Director, award-winning Drayton Entertainment (25 Years). Director, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels North American tour. Director, Spamalot (Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton). Productions at The Piggery (North Hatley, Quebec), Stage West (Mississauga) and Lighthouse Festival (Port Dover). Producer, Godspell and Camelot North American tours. Awards: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Theatre Ontario, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Twitter @AlexMustakas

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Robert Foster

Orchestrations & Vocal Arrangements

Drayton Entertainment: Les Misérables, Legally Blonde, Dance Legends, Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, Legends (Orchestrator and Original Music Director). Other theatre: Evangeline (Charlottetown Festival, Music Supervisor), The Wizard Of Oz (Mirvish Productions, Associate Music Director), Billy Elliott (Mirvish Productions, Associate Conductor), Rock Of Ages (Mirvish Productions, Music Director), Dirty Dancing, The Boys In The Photograph (Mirvish Productions, Original North American Music Director), Hairspray (Mirvish Productions, Original Canadian Music Director), Evita, Camelot, Little Shop Of Horrors (Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre Calgary), Into The Woods, Fire (Theatre Calgary), British Invasion 1 & 2, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Sound Of Music, A Chorus Line (Stage West Calgary). After a successful recording and performing career in England and Germany, Bob moved to Calgary in 1987, where he spent years recording and playing keyboards and guitar with Jann Arden, co-writing songs such as “Good Mother,” “It Looks Like Rain” and “Give Me Back My Heart”, and opening up for Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and many more. Bob has been Music Director for Bjorn Again North America and has played or recorded with Mae Moore, Jo Hikk, Gaye Delorme, Paul Brandt and Bo Diddley.

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Peter Conrad

Visual Elements

Drayton Entertainment: Visual Elements for You’ll Get Used to It: The War Show (1996, 2001), Twist and Shout: The British Invasion (2005, 2006, 2014) and Legends (2007, 2008). Peter is pleased to be working with the Drayton Entertainment family again. Peter also created the promotional documentary Success in Stages: The Drayton Entertainment Story (2003). Beyond Drayton, Peter works as a filmmaker and teacher. Currently, he’s directing the web series Turning Intern and My Toronto Story. He is also shooting and producing the documentary Return to Mesa Grande.

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Steve Kelly

Visual Elements

Drayton Entertainment: Twist and Shout: The British Invasion (2005, 2006, 2014), and Legends (2007, 2008). Steve is a Motion Graphics Designer and Video Editor from Cambridge, ON. He’s worked commercially with Canadian brands like Canadian Tire, SportChek, Holt Renfrew, and internationally with Selfridges (U.K.). Recent work includes animations for the Ottawa Senators, Air Canada Centre, and the Grey Cup. He has worked on award-winning projects for Perimeter Institute, and his first feature length film will premiere later this year.

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Michael Bignell

Historical Research

Drayton Entertainment: Twist and Shout: The British Invasion (2005, 2006, 2014), Legends (2007, 2008), Legends of Harmony (2013). Other theatre: Twist and Shout: The British Invasion (The Grand Theatre, 2008), Legends (The Grand Theatre, 2010). Upcoming: Twist and Shout: The British Invasion (Chemainus Theatre, 2015). It was February of 1964, in front of the family television when Michael was first introduced to British Invasion music, having witnessed The Beatles give their first live North American television performance. He passionately became a student of this new, exciting sound and has performed it for decades with best friends in the group Dover. Research by Michael includes interviews and correspondence with various musicians from the British Invasion groups including The Searchers, Herman’s Hermits, Gerry Marsden, Wayne Fontana of the Mindbenders and two members of The Quarrymen (John Lennon’s original group which evolved into The Beatles!)

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Sara Alexander

Ensemble

Sara is so happy to be performing in this beautiful province for the summer! Her most exciting theatre credits include performing with Disney Cruise Line and Hong Kong Disneyland as a Disney Princess. In her spare time, Sara owns and operates a children’s entertainment company in Newfoundland called The Enchanted Princess Kingdom, which specializes in Princess birthday parties for little girls.

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Alexander Baerg

Ensemble

Alex is a singer, actor, musician, and multi-instrumentalist, and has performed throughout the United States and Canada. Last year, Alex traveled throughout the United States on the first national tour of Godspell. Most recently, Alex performed in the Grand Theatre’s production of Dream a Little Dream. He is so excited to be a part of Twist and Shout in Chemainus, and would like to thank his family and Leesie in PEI.

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Gino Berti

Choreographer

Selected credits: The Wizard of Oz, Snow White: The Panto, Les Misérables, Twist & Shout, Annie, 9 to 5 the Musical, Hairspray, Dance Legends, Forum, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Legends of Rock & Roll, CATS, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, Miss Universe Canada (resident Choreographer ), Jesus Christ Superstar, Forever Plaid, Joseph…. Dreamcoat. He was one of Disney Cruise Lines Associate Choreographers. Gino just completed the first season of the reality series In Search of Miss World Nicaragua in Nicaragua.

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Jessica Bray

Costume Designer

Drayton Entertainment: The Crazy Time, The Last Resort, Boeing Boeing, Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, Lend Me A Tenor, Legends Of Harmony, The Love List, Oliver!, Harvey, Murder at the Best Western, The Melville Boys, Separate Beds, The Odd Couple, On Golden Pond. Other theatre: All Shook Up (Head of Wardrobe, Stage West Mississauga), Grand Hotel: The Musical (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Suburban Motel (Fanshawe College). Jessica would like to thank her amazing family for all of their unconditional love and support.

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Jarret Cody

Ensemble

Jarret is very excited to be making his debut at Chemainus Theatre Festival! Previous theatre credits include: Crazy For You (Gateway Theatre) and Shrek: The Musical (TUTS). As a dancer he has performed in numerous music videos, films, dance productions and spent some time travelling the world dancing with Princess Cruises. He would like to thank Melissa from da Costa, his friends and family for their never ending support.

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Patrick Courtin

Keys 2

Patrick Courtin is a Nanaimo pianist and music teacher. He has a Degree in Jazz Performance from VIU. Patrick has studied piano with Patricia Miller, Bob Murphy and Phil Dwyer. He has accompanied local tenor Ken Lavigne since fall 2013. Show credits Dr Horrible and The Last Five Years with Dramarama Theatre, Sweeney Todd, Spring Awakening and Rent with Schmooze Productions, Cabaret with NTG, and Young Frankenstein with B2B.

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Marisha Devoin

Bass

Since graduating from VIU’s Bachelor of Music program Marisha has performed in shows with Chemainus Theatre, Arts Club, and Patrick Street Productions, as well as cruise ship orchestras and cabaret bands. She works as a session musician, and educator in her Nanaimo studio, and can be heard playing in jazz, bluegrass, R&B, and progressive rock bands. It’s exciting to be back in Chemainus with this phenomenally talented group of people! www.marisha.ca

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Tory Doctor

Roy Solomon

Tory’s career spans 20 years in over 50 productions. Select credits include; Cats, Legends, Beauty and the Beast, Blood Brothers, Me and My Girl, Man of La Mancha, Grease, Evita, Anne of Green Gables, Jeremy de Bergerac, Austentacious, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Damn Yankees, My Fair Lady, A Christmas Carol. He has also worked with world class producers Disney and Cameron Mackintosh. Go to www.torydoctor.com for more info on Tory.

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Julianne Hobby

Ensemble

Recently seen in the 1st National Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz (Glinda u/s). Mirvish: The Wizard of Oz. Stratford Festival: 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance. Opera Atelier: Don Giovanni, Acis and Galatea. National Ballet of Canada: The Contract, The Nutcracker. Elsewhere: The Most Happy Fella (Rosabella), Once Upon A Mattress, Pippin. Graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School and Sheridan College. www.juliannehobby.com

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Galen Johnson

Ensemble / Dance Captain

Galen is thrilled to be returning to Chemainus Theatre after 11 years! Select Credits include: We Will Rock You (Mirvish), 3 consecutive seasons with the Stratford Festival, 2 North American tours, several shows with Drayton Entertainment, Neptune Theatre, Aquarius Theatre and Stage West to name a few. Galen is a graduate of CCPA. He is also a talented drummer and animator. Thanks to Alex, The Talent House and to YOU for supporting live theatre!

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Jeff Johnston-Collins

Set / Lighting Designer

I am thrilled to be at Chemainus for the first time and can now officially say that I have worked “coast to coast”. Over the past 20 years I have created more than 250 set and lighting designs, toured numerous shows, and run my own scene shop before becoming the Production Manager for Drayton Entertainment in 2007. Thank you to Mark and Alex for this great experience and to the light of my life, Susan. Enjoy.

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Jessica Keeling

Ensemble

Jessica Dawn Keeling is a creative presence full of power, healing and wisdom. Movement informs her relationship with the world around her. Some of her most treasured credits include her work with the Helix Dance Project, West Side Story at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Becoming with Wandering Eye Productions. She is continuing to explore and articulate her craft at jessicadawnarts.com.

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Duff MacDonald

Ensemble

Theatre: Lights, Camera…Christmas (UCP), Sorry…I’m Canadian, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady (Drayton), The Drowsy Chaperone (Globe), Rum Runners (Lighthouse), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (US Tour), Legends (Grand), Hank Williams (Theatre on the Grand), Les Misérables (Original Cast), Forever Plaid, Buddy Holly Story, Little Shop of Horrors, The Foursome TV/FILM: True Love, Cinderella Man, The Music Man, Once A Thief, G-Spot, Jane Doe.

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Heather McGuigan

Ensemble

Over 50 professional productions across North America with National and Broadway tours, Shaw, Stratford, Drayton Entertainment, Mirvish, Charlottetown, Neptune, The Grand, Aquarius and CanStage, among others. Heather is also the founder of HopeTotes, a charity which supports homeless women in Canada (hopetotes.ca). A Huge Twist-and-Shout-out to Chemainus Theatre, TH and Alex Mustakas for this amazing opportunity. Love to Galen! heathermcguigan.com

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Nigel McInnis

Ensemble

Nigel is so excited to be part of Twist and Shout! Other theatre credits include: The Black Bonspiel of Wullie McCrimmon, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Theatre Northwest), Oklahoma! (First Act Productions), Spamalot, Evil Dead: The Musical, Les Miserables (Judy Russell Productions), Miss Saigon, Cats (Excalibur Productions) TV: Once Upon a Time, The 100, The Killing, Continuum. Nigel thanks all his family and friends for their unending support.

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James McRae

Drums

Drummer, songwriter/arranger James McRae is a versatile musician. In the past couple of years he has played, arranged and produced well-received Vancouver Island shows Impressions of Lightfoot, The Music of Jimmy McHugh, while also performing with outstanding BC talent including Andrew Homzy’s NOLA Nighthawks, Connor Stewart, James Darling, Miles Black, Scott White, David Vest, Jennifer Scott and Rene Worst. see www.jamesmcrae.ca

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Nico Rhodes

Musical Director / Keys

A studio musician, orchestrator, composer and musical director; Nico has performed internationally as a pianist and saxophonist and is thrilled to be returning to CTF, and to his home island, for his eighth production. Recently, he completed arrangements for the musical Tonight…Piaf and performed them with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Upcoming work includes orchestrating and composing for multiple new musicals, as well as performing with his jazz group B/M/R Trio and other various projects. He sends his love to his fiancée Kate and his family.

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Sara Robb

Stage Manager

Recently completing her fourth season as the Stage Manager for Pacific Opera Victoria, Sara is excited to spend another summer in Chemainus. A graduate of VIU (2006), she received her training from the Belfry Theatre (2008-2010) and Bard on the Beach (2010). Favourite credits include: Les Misérables, Singin’ in the Rain (CTF), Marilyn Forever: Adelaide Festival (Aventa Ensemble), Little Shop of Horrors (Blue Bridge Theatre), Madama Butterfly (POV).

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Brad Shipley

Guitar

Brad Shipley holds a Bachelor of Jazz Studies from VIU and has been teaching music privately for the past 5 years. His love for musical theatre has led him to perform in many shows, most recently Rent in May 2015. When Brad isn’t teaching or performing in musicals, his bluegrass band “Hub City Ramblers” are a favorite on the festival circuit, most recently winning a 2015 VIMA for best country recording.

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Cailin Stadnyk

Ensemble

Cailin is thrilled to be back in Chemainus for the summer with this blast of a show! Audiences may remember her from last year’s productions of Waiting For The Parade and Les Misérables. A few of her most recent credits include Gunmetal Blues for the Globe Theatre and One Man, Two Guvnors for The Arts Club. This fall she will be playing Mary in Mary Poppins for Western Canada Theatre and Persephone Theatre. For more visit www.cailinstadnyk.com!

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Paul Tedeschini

Live Mix Designer

Live Mix credits include Ring Of Fire: Project Johnny Cash, Les Misérables, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, Liona Boyd (Chemainus Theatre), Sheri Ulrich, Barney Bentall and Tom Taylor, John Gogo (Belfry Theatre). Studio mixing and mastering credits include; Line 9 – Crash and Burn, Geoff McFarlane Ouest Side Sun, The Belle Jars – Star Treatment, Might Big Word – Can You Hear Me?, Pamplemousse – Unpeeled.

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Scott Walters

Ensemble

Scott is ecstatic to be joining forces with Twist and Shout: The British Invasion! Hailing originally from Edmonton, Scott has been performing across Canada & the USA for over 15 years. Recent Vancouver credits include: Bert in Mary Poppins with the Arts Club; Ash in Evil Dead: The Musical with DSRP; Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde: The Musical with TUTS. So very grateful for the big love and support of Scott’s family & friends. Rock On!

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Mel Watkins

Apprentice Stage Manager

Mel is excited to return to Chemainus, after working on Ring of Fire, Project Johnny Cash. Originating from Toronto, credits include: A Bedfull of Foreigners, Lend me a Tenor and Lights, Camera, Christmas (Upper Canada Playhouse); On a First Name Basis and Henry and Alice; (Lighthouse Festival Theatre); Laura’s Cow (Canadian Children’s Opera Company; Queen Milli of Galt (Theatre Aquarius); The Greatest Story Never Told (Smile Theatre); Half Life (Rose Theatre).

By |June 15th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season|0 Comments

Summer Message from the Artistic Director

photo_twist19 Summer in Chemainus, music that rocks and a collection of creative and talented people from across Canada making their home on Vancouver Island for the time. These are just a few of the reasons why Twist and Shout is a treat to produce on this lovely stage. From listening to the sounds and instruments of the era, to enjoying the tunes pumping out of the rehearsal hall – this summer is all about nostalgia, celebration and the robust energy that this time and music inspired.

After years of playing on the boards here in Chemainus, and now a few years and the occasional grey hair as Artistic Director – I am so thankful for the many friends this theatre has and how they support the work we do. During each season, I get to work with creative, energetic and passionate artists through planning, rehearsal and coordination with colleagues across the nation (including the good people at Ontario’s Drayton Entertainment and this show’s director – thanks Alex). We see thousands of people enter the theatre with anticipation and exit with delight. Thanks to all of you who are a part of the exchange through the rich, vibrant and exciting world we create, inhabit and enjoy here in Chemainus. Enjoy the show.

Mark DuMez

By |June 13th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season, Theatre News|0 Comments

About Twist and Shout: The British Invasion

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How the music moved us

Popular music was never the same after the “British Invasion” of the 1960s. New artists, with groovy new sounds, flocked to North America – where an adoring public rocketed their music to the top of the charts. It was the start of a great music phenomenon.

Performers like The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Dave Clark Five, The Searchers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Donavon, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Freddy and Dreamers, Spencer Davis Group, The Hollies, and many more started the cultural revolution. Their vibe of British “beat” blended the United Kingdom’s dancehall, pop, and Celtic folk music with American-style rock and roll. The original sound spread rapidly from early 1964 through 1967 as young artists wrote up-tempo pop, powerful rock and roll, and jazzy electric blues.

In Canada and the United States, these radical new artists with distinctive accents, original slang, trendy fashions, and madcap personalities captivated people. England was suddenly the centre of the rock universe as hits streamed across the Atlantic and into homes, radios, and every consumable media. The cultural vibe changed forever, and changed for the better if you ask Canadian writer and director Alex Mustakas.

After a great deal of (enjoyable) research and creative collaborations, Mustakas had completed his musical revue. His tribute is an energetic, authentic, and acclaimed production that recreates the “British Invasion” with a dose of nostalgia and fun.

We’re thrilled to welcome the brilliant artistic team, performers, and audiences for this homage to the great acts that restyled the landscape of music. Get ready to Twist and Shout!

By |June 10th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season|0 Comments