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Escape with a madcap tale!

Declan O'Reilly, Kirk Smith, Colin A Doyle

Declan O’Reilly, Kirk Smith, Colin A Doyle in Jeeves Takes a Bow, Chemainus Theatre Festival, 2017. Photo by Cim MacDonald

On Vancouver Island, as everywhere, small talk always leads to the weather. As gardens are prepared for the winter, rainproof coats are pulled out of storage, and woodstoves are fired up we prepare for a change in the sky and in lifestyle. But we can all agree that it is wonderful to escape somewhere warm and cozy and be taken away to another world and time – the theatre is the perfect solution.

The Chemainus Theatre Festival is currently halfway through our run of “Jeeves Takes a Bow” and theatregoers are enjoying this show in droves! There is nothing better than a laugh shared with a big group of strangers. Adapted by Margaret Raether the stories of the hero-butler Jeeves and the charming and feckless Bernie Wooster were originally written by P.G. Wodehouse (1975). Wodehouse is considered a master of the serial novel, king of the magazine story, and supremely skilled in comedic writing. In this tale, Wooster and Jeeves have escaped their upper-class Edwardian frivolity and landed in the Big Apple, Manhattan, NY. How will they cope? Amusingly well! The ‘Traveling Islanders’ blog says “You definitely won’t want to miss Jeeves Takes A Bow.” We hope you will escape with us as we once again spend an afternoon or evening with a madcap tale told by a talented crew of actors! What could be better?

By |September 22nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Let yourself fall for Talley’s Folly

Love is the perfect theme for this summer feature, Talley’s Folly, playing August 16th to 26th. The Pulitzer Prize-winning and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as best play of the season, the romantic comedy, by Lanford Wilson, follows unlikely sweethearts, Matt and Sally, as they try to (once and for all) settle their feelings for each other.

The scene is the ornate, deserted Victorian boathouse on the Talley place in Lebanon, Missouri; the time 1944. Matt Friedman (played by Matthew Payne), has arrived to plead his love to Sally Talley (Heather Pattengale), the susceptible but uncertain daughter of the family. Bookish, erudite, totally honest, and delightfully funny, Matt refuses to accept Sally’s rebuffs and her fears that her family would never approve of their marriage. Charming and indomitable, he gradually overcomes her defenses, telling his innermost secrets to his loved one and, in return, learning hers as well. Gradually he awakens Sally to the possibilities of a life together.

“Everything is beautiful ruined in this play,” says director, Amiel Gladstone. “The old crumbling boathouse, post-War America, and two characters struggling with who they are and who they can be together. It’s an honour to come to Chemainus for the first time to direct the first play the company every produced.”

Talley’s Folly is a special presentation for The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s 25th Anniversary Season. Tickets are available for matinee and evening shows for two weeks only, August 16th to 26th. Call the Box Office at 1-800-565-7738, or visit chemainustheatre.ca.

By |August 3rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

IceBear Meet & Greet in the Gallery

Official Opening of IceBear’s

Dreams of a Dreamer Exhibit

Meet IceBear, talk about art on

Friday, July 21st   4 pm – 5:45 pm

Chemainus Theatre Gallery

IceBear exhibition runs July 18 to August 26


   About IceBear

IceBear is an Ojibway artist who now lives and works in the Cowichan Valley. An artist all his life, his work runs the gamut from from representational to abstract. He has exhibited across the US, in Austria, and Italy, work has also shown in France, China, and Taiwan. His paintings and sculpture are collected internationally. His traditional, tribal home is Cape Croker, (Chippewas of Nawash) on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada, but he now lives and works on Vancouver Island.

The Elders of his people call him a Dreamer, that is, one born to the task of transforming dreams, his own and others, into a visual reality. His work has helped individuals feeling lost, out of place, or disconnected from their roots to find their way home. Some of his paintings carry somewhat autobiographical elements, easily recognizable to other aboriginal people, because certain conditions are common to native people world wide. Other experiences may be familiar to all, being part of the human condition that we all share.

Respect for Mother Earth and all her creatures is omnipresent in my work. Again, this respect is something that all aboriginal people share, and more and more non native people are beginning to realize is important to the continued existence of humans and many other lifeforms on this planet.

IceBear chooses to paint primarily in acrylic, as he likes the vibrancy of the colours and the textural qualities he is able to achieve. but he on occasion also paints in oil or watercolour. Many of his paintings are available as limited edition giclees on canvas, by special order. IceBear sculptures have been created in wood, stone, cast bronze, and a eclectic mix of new high tech sculptural mediums and resins.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Director’s Notes

Melissa Young

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an epic story about good overcoming evil. It is a story that allows us to open up our imaginations and dream of possibilities beyond our existence. Yet at the heart of this piece are four children who are growing up—transforming from youth with simple, egocentric concerns, into young adults who gain confidence, understand responsibility, and learn about forgiveness and caring for others during their time in Narnia.

It is significant for me to be directing this timeless story at Chemainus Theatre during their 25th Anniversary season. It was here, 14 years ago, I received my first professional contract and played the roles of Lucy and the White Witch in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was at Chemainus that I had the opportunity to grow, mature, and hone my own skills as an artist. In a sense, this theatre is a place where I “grew up” as an artist.

I’m really interested and inspired by the idea of play. As a little girl, my favorite memories were of playing games such as “house,” “supermarket,” “radio station,” and various others that I devised with my brother, cousins, and friends. We would use whatever we had on hand to create these worlds—whether it was my Mom’s clothing, my grandmother’s jewelry and hats, or my parent’s old records (yes, we even had a sound design.) In this day and age, as I see students become less engaged in play and more engaged with their phones, the importance of play in our lives becomes increasingly evident to me.

With this production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I really wanted to get back to the simple idea of play—asking the actors and the audience to engage their imaginations, as opposed to their iphones. I wanted this production to mirror children really playing out the story with whatever is readily available to them—whether it be an old umbrella, a scrap of material, or even their own bodies. How can a long piece of cloth become a cape, a river, and a tent? Could we use our bodies to become animal statues, trees, and even the wind? How can we use a drumbeat to tell the story of a great battle? To me, the immense power of childhood imagination, that ability to turn the most ordinary of things into something completely different is what I love about theatre.

And so the cycle of learning and growing continues. Whether you are young or old, I hope you enjoy our imaginative journey through childhood via Narnia.

By Melissa Young

By |July 5th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Opening April 24: The Mousetrap


Shuddering suspense and suspicious characters (with sordid pasts) – Christie’s greatest mystery is back! There’s a shot. And a scream! A murder has been committed, and the clues suggest that more victims of vengeance will soon fall.

At Monkswell Manor, a snowstorm is raging and has confined eight people (or, shall we say, suspects) to the old boarding house. The situation is indeed miserable – and quickly becomes murderous as a series of betrayals begin to unfold. Can you identify the killer?

Everyone is suspect, including the newlywed proprietors, the curious spinster, the wanna-be chef, a retired Army major, the miserable jurist, a strange lost motorist, and a police detective whose arrival offers anything other than safety.

Who will escape, and who will get trapped for good, when the world’s longest running play reveals its final twist?!

The Mousetrap, a classic Agatha Christie tale of intrigue, has been playing consecutively for over 60 years around the world. The production is returning to The Chemainus Theatre Festival stage, April 24 to May 30, 2015, due to popular audience demand. Also returning for this brilliant play are a superb cast of actors, including: Jay Lift, Chris Cope, Bernard Cuffling, Victor Dolhai, Ruby Joy, Leala Selina and Matthew Hendrickson.

Come see “The cleverest murder mystery of British Theatre” (The Telegraph).

Tickets are available now online and at the Chemainus Theatre Festival box office.

By |April 2nd, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season|0 Comments

Appreciating Our Volunteers


Volunteer appreciation week is April 12 to 18 and that’s one of my favorite quotes about the value of volunteers. Volunteers have truly kept the good ship Chemainus Theatre afloat through our first 23 years. There’s no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the selfless contribution of volunteers. This past year alone 154 people volunteered a total of 6,127 hours. Checking coats, showing us to our seats, building costumes, pulling weeds, helping in the office, serving on the board of directors… no task is too great or too small.

Volunteerism is one of the things that make Canada the greatest place to live on Earth. Each year 12.7 million Canadians give 2 billion hours of time. Next chance you have be it here or elsewhere, say thank you to a volunteer who is giving their time to make your life better.

Randal Huber
Managing Director

By |March 24th, 2015|Categories: Theatre News, Your Support|0 Comments

Summer Theatre Camp Registration Open!


July 20-24, 2015  (Sorry this session is full) or July 27-31*

Ages 10 – 17

Join us for a week-long celebration and exploration of what makes theatre so incredible! You are eligible if you are between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. You won’t want to miss this experience.

We’ll explore performing, theatre games, movement, improvisation, music, script work, costumes and props. Instructors include industry specialists as well as guest actors who are starring in Chemainus Theatre Festival productions. Students will gain an insider’s view into Chemainus Theatre’s production facilities as the camp will be held in our Rehearsal Hall in our professional Production Facilities. At the end of the week, students have the opportunity to perform on the Chemainus Theatre Festival stage!

*Please note: the second week will be cancelled if there are less than 10 students. If cancelled, you will receive a full refund.

Click Here for Details

By |March 20th, 2015|Categories: Education|0 Comments

Ring of Fire Review: Terrific evening of Cash music

Samantha Currie and Jonas Shandel

By Andrea Rondeau, Cowichan Valley Citizen

If you’re in the mood for some dynamite country and gospel music, the Chemainus Theatre’s latest production Ring of Fire: Project Johnny Cash is for you.

And even if you’re not a fan of the iconic singer/songwriter when you go in, the quality of the presentation will make you one by the time you come out.

But you do need to be in the mood for an evening of music; this production is wallto-wall songs – 29 of them to be exact. If you’re looking for a complex storyline you won’t find it. Some sparse dialogue elucidates a few facts from Cash’s life and timeline, but it’s really just there to glue together the songs, which create a sense of time and place by themselves anyway.

By |March 15th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season|1 Comment

Ring of Fire Review: Johnny Cash Comes To Vancouver Island

Jonas Shandel

By Gretta Kennedy, Traveling Islanders

Do you remember when music used to tell a story?

It didn’t just make you want to get up and dance, it helped you understand more about the true lives of people who walk the earth just like you.

When you were down and out, it helped you know you weren’t alone. When you felt like shouting from the rooftops in joy, it reminded you that others have felt the same way.

Jay and I walked into the theatre to see a simple and inviting stage set with drums, keyboard, guitars, and microphones. And it was there we settled into this musical revue on the life and times of Mr. Johnny Cash, narrated by an older version of the Man in Black himself.

If you’re a fan of his music, you’ll love sitting and listening. If you don’t know anything about him, you’ll be surprised at what songs you know and I dare you to keep your feet from tapping.

Continue Reading

By |March 11th, 2015|Categories: 2015 Season|0 Comments