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Get Away with the Cornwall Family this Christmas

The final show for the 25th Season of the Chemainus Theatre Festival will be opening to audiences on November 17th. Rehearsals started this week and the energy was high as the cast read through the script for the first time. Everyone in attendance was bopping along to familiar tunes of the mid-1980s and, of course, a few Christmas classics.

You may have met the Cornwall family in 2011 when they spent Christmas in the Country at the Chemainus Theatre. They are back on stage again thanks to popular demand. This year the Cornwalls are on their way to Cancun on an all-inclusive holiday. Whether or not you saw the first Cornwalls’ Christmas show, you will enjoy these vibrant characters, a hilarious storyline, and given the retro setting, there is plenty of big hair, jelly shoes and neon prints to behold. One of the co-writers Nicolle Nattrass tells us that this was a special play for her to write, “Christmas is such a special time of the year and we wanted to create an original Christmas show that depicted a well-rounded, quirky family that goes through what so many of us try to create at Christmas – the perfect family Christmas”.

The community of Chemainus is full of local artistic talent and the Chemainus Theatre Festival capitalizes on this talent whenever we can. For this show, our in-house writers Nicolle Nattrass and Chemainus Theatre Festival Artistic Director Mark DuMez weave for you a tale of a loving family doing their best with challenging (and hysterical) circumstances. Thank you to Nicolle and Mark for having a conversation with our own Michelle Vogelgesang about how audience members will relate to this story if they have ever experienced the highs and lows of Christmas, an all-inclusive getaway, or, you know, family!

What are three words you would use to describe their family dynamic?

Nicolle: Funny, Quirky and perfectly imperfect.

Mark: Challenging, loving, all-in.

Are the family members modeled after people you have met (not naming names)?

Nicolle: Not specific people but with the spirit of capturing everyday family dynamics through family members- strengths, faults and quirks.

Mark: Agreed – they are created from a composite of imagination, other people and my own personal quirks. 

Do the Cornwalls have a lesson for the audience, or are we enjoying their antics for pure entertainment?

Nicolle: Both. Entertaining, funny and moving. Love is the lesson, love within families, for each other through the good times, unfortunate times and in this case, an All Inclusive Family VACATION at Christmas which has plenty of ups and downs but in the end the Cornwalls will have created new family traditions.

Mark: Any family comedy, even a wacky one, hopefully reflects a bit of our own life to us.  Through the piece, we learn to love our imperfections and turn our challenges into personal and relational triumphs – even through a goofy lens.

Will the family ever want to vacation together again?

Nicolle: YES! The Family that travels on an All-Inclusive together, stays together!

Mark: Probably? 

What do you enjoy most about writing original theatre? What is the biggest challenge?

Nicolle: I enjoy seeing ideas, characters and dynamics come alive on stage and seeing how what I have created affects an audience. I write to carry a message or an experience to the audience, to connect (in this case) to connect the audience to the ups and downs of Christmas with family. Only this time, they are traveling to a foreign country. The biggest challenge about writing original theatre is having it produced- being given an opportunity to develop a new play. I feel very fortunate that Mark & Chemainus Theatre festival have given me the opportunity to write three original plays. Wilde Holidays Shorts, Countryside Christmas and Cornwalls’ All-Inclusive Cancun Christmas.

Mark: I enjoy it when others are moved by something that does the same for me.  It’s a wonderful sense of connection – in the writing team, in the creative team and finally with the audience.  I enjoy it best when we laugh together. The biggest challenge is drilling down to specifics that do all these things.

Is there any person or practice that is particularly beneficial to your writing/directing process?

Nicolle: There are many people whom I have studied & worked with that have helped my writing process. I think it is very beneficial to approach writing using different processes and that is one thing that I have really appreciated about co-writing with Mark DuMez is that we are open to different writing processes. It was really neat for both of us ( at times in development) to say ok we are both going to go away and write this scene and then come together and talk about choices, what is strongest and build on each other’s ideas. Then, letting that writer take the next scene and trusting each other. I really value trying different processes when co-writing.

Mark: I like to take a walk to ruminate over ideas before a writing day or session – but then get down to just writing.  I find I have to throw something down on the page – usually to throw out or revise – but it gets things moving.   I agree co-writing creates energy and trust in the process (which at other times can feel quite isolated) and it’s been fun to write two shows with Nicolle.

Christmas at the Chemainus Theatre Festival is always a popular experience so make sure you get your tickets soon. Don’t forget to add on the Playbill Dining Room for the all-inclusive buffet dinner. You may not be able to travel to the tropics over the holidays but this will be a getaway to highlight your holiday season!

By |October 28th, 2017|Categories: 2017 Season|0 Comments

Current Exhibition: October 13 to November 4

Philip Mix

October 13 – November 4

About Philip

Philip Mix was born in Edmonton Alberta in 1955. He received his Bachelor of Arts in painting from the Alberta College of Art, Calgary in1980. His paintings have shown in several Canadian galleries and abroad including London, Israel and Cyprus. He operated a conservation studio, Fine Art Restoration, in Victoria B.C. from 1986 to 2011. During that time he was a member of the Pacific Conservation Group, and Canadian Conservation Associates. Now retired from paintings conservation, he lives in a small community on Vancouver Island and devotes all his energy to his family, his studio, and an uncooperative garden.

My paintings are intentionally spare and dispassionate. They are a study in reduction:in economy of line,confined design,select chords of colour and minimized depth of field. My desire is to produce an artwork that is beautiful for its singleness of purity and purpose: the elegance of simplicity. I choose subjects whose form or function lends itself to the discovery of some intrinsic beauty; a beauty that becomes intriguing once the inherent grace of its form has been recognized and captured.

Philip’s Website

Click Here to Visit

By |October 18th, 2017|Categories: The Gallery Gift Shop|0 Comments

Emma Slipp as Henrietta Leavitt

The basic plot of Silent Sky is fascinating – a true story of a plucky, brilliant young woman who defies odds and persists as a female astronomer in the early 1900s at Harvard. But the story that is brought to life is a rich tale of family, love, and friendship. It is fiercely funny and touching and as audiences leave the theatre you can feel the energy of the shared experience of seeing this beautiful tale brought to life.

A night at the Chemainus Theatre is an experience the moment you walk in the door. If you have decided to indulge in the buffet dinner in the Playbill Dining Room make sure you try the Salmon with Mango Pineapple Salsa, but leave room for the Boston Cream Pie – for a 3-course luncheon starting at $23 you will be happy you did!

 

 

Emma Slipp, who plays lead character Henrietta Swan Leavitt, took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions and provide some insight into this rich show.

 

 

Welcome back to Chemainus. What do you enjoy about being back here when you are not in rehearsals?

I always enjoy my time here and get to push a reset button away from all the demands of my city life. I am able to focus on the show only.
The community is so welcoming and supportive. I love going for walks and visiting the shops.

For you, what is this show about and why should audiences come see it?

This show is telling a story that wasn’t honoured in its day. The script alone is beautiful, but married with all the design elements I think it’s quite stunning. The set, costumes and lights along with original music composition and projections all blend together with imagination.  It’s witty, poetic and thought provoking, but also heart bursting and satisfying.

What drew you to the character of Henrietta as portrayed in this depiction of her life? Was there anything that surprised you as you began to explore this role?

I connected with her drive and commitment to her chosen career path and understand the sacrifices she had to make. I am excited to share her story because I know there are so many unsung heroines who’s contributions have been skipped over. I feel this is an opportunity to celebrate a group of woman that paved the way for future generations.   

Unlike Henrietta , I am unskilled in math and science and it has been a true challenge to understand and then convey some complex thoughts and revelations. It’s been a great brain workout!

Is there a significant line or special moment that stands out for you?

The script has so many beautiful moments, but I think my favourite line is one the Peter says to Henrietta

” I feared combusting if I didn’t tell you that you’ve been the brightest object in my day since we met. And we work with stars.”

After exploring this role what message do you think Henrietta would have for young women starting out in their careers?

Don’t take no for an answer. Stay passionate, determined and do all you can to create your own space in your chosen field.

If you haven’t seen it yet get your tickets today, you won’t be disappointed. Silent Sky has a shorter run than some of our other shows so get your tickets today and don’t miss out. Even though this is the final dramatic production for our 25th season at Chemainus Theatre Festival you will laugh, be inspired and perhaps shed a tear. The reviews have started to come in and we hope they will convince you to come see the show. (LINK TO: http://www.lakecowichangazette.com/entertainment/review-chemains-theatres-silent-sky-a-brilliant-star-in-the-heavens/)

 

 

 

 

By |October 17th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Now Playing: Silent Sky

Silent Sky at Chemainus Theatre

Cosmic Love Story

Henrietta Leavitt sees greatness in the stars – if only others saw the brilliance in her. While many earthly complications stand in her way, her astonishing discoveries of astronomy, family, and love will change everyone’s (outer) worldly perspective.

Silent Sky is a startling, entertaining true story of a brilliant, history-making woman.” – AtlantaInTown.com

Book Your Tickets Now

By |October 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Meet Philip Mix

Philip Mix

The Chemainus Theatre would like to welcome local artist Philip Mix as our featured artist during our run of Silent Sky. Philip has a prolific career both as an artist and an art conservation professional. His work is featured all over Canada and he works to seek the ‘elegance of simplicity’.

Philip’s artist statement is that his paintings are intentionally spare and dispassionate. “My desire is to produce an artwork that is beautiful for its singleness of purity and purpose: the elegance of simplicity. I choose subjects whose form or function lends itself to the discovery of some intrinsic beauty; a beauty that becomes intriguing once the inherent grace of its form has been recognized and captured.”

Philip Mix was born in Edmonton Alberta in 1955. He received his Bachelor of Arts in painting from the Alberta College of Art, Calgary in1980. His paintings have shown in several Canadian galleries and abroad including London, Israel and Cyprus. He operated a conservation studio, Fine Art Restoration, in Victoria B.C. from 1986 to 2011. During that time he was a member of the Pacific Conservation Group, and Canadian Conservation Associates. Now retired from paintings conservation, he lives in Chemainus, BC and devotes all his energy to his family, his studio, and an uncooperative garden.

We are thrilled to feature his work in the Chemainus Theatre and we invite you to attend an Artist Meet and Greet on October 14th between 5 and 6 pm. For more information on Philip you can visit his website at www.philipmix.com.

By |October 4th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments