2016 Season

Home/2016 Season

Dream Big!


Get ready to dream big with Pet the Fish and Other Impossible Tales

Pet the Fish and Other Impossible Tales is a hero’s tale for kids, an imaginative, exciting fantasy adventure for children coming to life on the Chemainus Theatre Festival stage again this summer.

Last seen on the Chemainus Theatre stage in 2004, it was written by Chemainus Theatre Festival’s Artistic Director Mark DuMez, who says it was inspired by a trip to a gift shop with his young daughter. Fascinated by a brightly coloured stained glass fish, she insisted with the enthusiastic wonder of a small child that she wanted to “pet the fish”! Ruminating on the day’s shopping adventure inspired Mark to write this heartful tale of a child’s gift to her mother; being able to return the dreams her mother lost in the process of becoming a grown-up.

Josephine, the heroine, sets out with her unwilling brother in tow, on a journey that magically transforms their lives. Their impossible tale takes them to a talking oyster, a riddling troll, and out to sea to catch the Big One.

Samantha Currie, who appeared as Josephine in the original production, is thrilled to be making her Chemainus Theatre Festival directorial debut with this production about losing dreams, finding them, and holding onto them. She brings a wealth of performance and directing experience to this show and is eager to share this story with “all the dreamers, tall and small”.

Newcomers Lindsay Curl and John Han play Josephine and Jonathan, respectively. Stefano Giulianetti, previously seen at Chemainus Theatre Festival in Animal Tales and Munsch Ado About Nothing returns to play Poseidon.

Working with Samantha Currie on this production of Pet the Fish and Other Impossible Tales are: Set Designer Kevin McAllister, Costume Designer Kendra Cooper, Sound Designer Alexander Ferguson, Lighting Designer Nicole Lamb and Stage Manager Breanne Harmon.

You can now reserve your seats in advance for KidzPlays!

Recommended for ages 4 and up, Pet the Fish opens July 16th and runs until August 13th at the Chemainus Theatre Festival. Tickets are only $12 (including taxes) for all ages. Or buy a family pack—buy 3 get one free! Show days and times: Tuesday 2 pm, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 11 am.

Book online or call the box office now to book your tickets! 1-800-565-7738


By |July 5th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

Footloose Brings It – ALL of It!


The Cast of Footloose: The Musical (photo: Cim MacDonald)

Footloose: The Musical brings back the best of the 80’s, in all its vibrancy and punctuated by“truly emotional performances that really take the show to the next level.” – Lexi Bainas, Cowichan Valley Citizen

The audience says:

“What a performance! I was amazed at the Broadway quality voice and superb casting.”

“This is enjoyable for everyone and I’m booking again now as these tickets will be hard to get this summer.”

“…greatly deserved the standing ovation that the packed house delivered at the end of the show.”

“I found myself clapping and filled with emotion as the story unfolded.”

” We’ll be back in July to see the show again!”

By |June 23rd, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

Cut Footloose!

BarbaraTomasicBarbara Tomasic

Dance can be a way to express our deepest emotions – joy, love, and sometimes even sadness. We dance at weddings, birthdays, and great celebrations. There is a sense of abandon when we dance, a loss of intellectual control.

Footloose is a story about dancing, but it’s also about a family and a town that is grieving a great loss. It’s a story about how fear and grief can cause us to control the things around us, when what we really need is to let go.

I love this story and I’m so grateful to be telling it with the team here in Chemainus who are so generous of spirit and creativity. It takes me back to my teens, a time when, as an adolescent, I struggled to make the adults around me see what I believed to be the truth. I didn’t understand that they were dealing with their own emotions and fears and that perhaps there was a meeting ground where we could connect and learn from each other.

It is also a musical filled with love, heart, and open youthful energy, something that we can all use a bit of in our sometimes challenging and adult lives. So, we invite you to let that energy take you beyond your worries and cares and CUT FOOTLOOSE!!!

Feel free to dance in your seat.

About Barbara

I’m thrilled to be making my debut at CTF with this terrific cast and creative team! Favourite credits: Cathy – The Last Five Years, directing Crazy for You, Goblin Market and completing my MFA at UBC. Upcoming: Directing The Music Man at Gateway Theatre this winter and 42nd Street at Studio 58 in the spring. Thanks to my friends and family, and my team at Da Costa Talent.

By |May 30th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|2 Comments

Book Sale Fundraiser!


Chemainus Theatre Festival Society is a not-for-profit registered charity and ticket sales covered roughly 81% of our expenses in 2015. Every year we raise funds to help cover the remaining expenses.

This year we are holding a Giant Book Sale Fundraiser on July 9th in front of the theatre and we need your help.

We are looking for books of every imaginable genre, in both soft covers and hard covers. If you can donate your used books, they can be dropped off at our Administration Building 9574 Bare Point Road Chemainus, Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Thank you for your generous patronage and support!


By |May 25th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes with Footloose!


Footloose, The Musical, will give you more flashy dancing, live rock music, and a powerful experience of the sweet story that made the original movie a world phenomenon.

Musicals adapted from movies are popping up in theatres around the world. And that’s no big surprise. Classic song and dance shows like 42nd Street, The Producers, and Singing’ in the Rain have been adapted from other sources for decades (including books, song, and radio).

What is changing is that the adaptations are more frequent, and springing from more modern films (The Lion King, High School Musical, South Park). We think that’s good news. The live telling of a terrific story is the best form of entertainment, and we’re thrilled to see more crossover!

In the tradition of great screen-to-stage adaptations, we’re excited to bring you Footloose. In today’s show, you’ll find the plot stays faithful to the 1984 film’s spirit of youth, rebellion, and romance. However, you’re in for a treat as the adaptation includes some clever improvements. Footloose, the musical, will give you more flashy dancing, live rock music, and a powerful experience of the sweet story that made the original movie a world phenomenon.

Bringing a major Broadway production to our stage is a big task. Our greatest thanks goes to our artistic team, actors, production team, sponsors, volunteers, and all those who have truly “kicked off their Sunday shoes” to make the show sizzle.

And thank you as always to our audience. We couldn’t be happier that you, too, like it live.


By |May 16th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

Review: Harvey is Not All Black & White



Erin Ormond and Ella Simon start out seeing the world in black and white but before long, their characters’ lives take on a more colourful tone. Photo: Cim MacDonald

All is not what it seems in the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s presentation of Mary Chase’s play, Harvey, which runs until May 28.

Of course, it all starts with Harvey, the six-foot white rabbit, who can apparently only be seen by Elwood P. Dowd, but the story unfolds surprisingly from there.

“He’s nuts, he needs to be committed,” claim Elwood’s relatives, Veta (Erin Ormond) and Myrtle Mae (Ella Simon), but once the audience meets Elwood, they realize he’s a pretty cool guy, for all his oddities.

This production welcomes the Festival’s artistic director, Mark DuMez, back to the stage in the role of Elwood, and there couldn’t have been a better choice to breathe vibrant life into the gentle fellow with the imaginary pal.

All DuMez’s own well-known courtliness is a superb asset in this production; Elwood looks on the world through his own colourful kaleidescope.

And colourful is a key word here.

When the play begins, the set and the characters, are monochromatic, indicating subtly the sterility of their lives.

The only dash of colour is supplied by Elwood with his brilliant turquoise sweater and socks. Slowly, as the scenes change, more and more colour is added to the costumes and the set as his exuberant life flows outward, warming the world around him.

But no one sees it.

Veta is obsessed by trying to climb the social ladder, but, in some of Erin Ormond’s best work at Chemainus, we see that she’s not as sure of herself as she hopes to portray.

As her daughter, Myrtle Mae, Ella Simons is in her element, bringing all her delicious abilities in physical comedy to bear.

At the sanitorium, Bernard Cuffling as Dr. Chumley, Mack Gordon as Dr. Sanderson, and Jay Clift as Duane Wilson are ably joined by Simon in her other role of the flirtatious Nurse Kelly.

There’s an element of French farce to this play: people are whisked on and off stage through doors, but Elwood meanders surefootedly through it all without even realizing he’s in any danger.

In fact, it’s his family who realize they are in danger as the play nears its conclusion, and act decisively to bring this fun evening to a surprising conclusion.

This comedy has a lot to say, comments star, artistic director

DuMez talked about Harvey and playing Elwood.

Older theatregoers may feel they know the story or even have seen it on TV.

“They did a movie of it with Jimmy Stewart and also did a remake of the play when he was older. But the original play came before the movie; Mary Chase wrote it in the 1940s. What I’m finding is that a lot of people have a vague, or a fuzzy memory of something about a rabbit,” he said, adding that the story stands up well.

“The premise has a lot to say. It’s a really interesting and engaging comedy in its own right. The idea that Elwood sees a white rabbit that he hangs out with and is one of his best friends taps into Celtic mythology and into the trickster legends of other cultures. But, of course, there is also the question: is he mentally ill or does he have a drinking problem? And how does that impact his community and his family?”

The possibility of mental illness may sound a bit grim, but this is a comedy.

“I say it’s got a lot of hop, when I’m being facetious. It’s got a lot of bubble,” DuMez said. “It’s funny. The characters are very sturdy, they have very strong agendas. And the actors, the company we’ve got, are all people I’ve been on stage with or had the pleasure to direct. That’s making it a lot of fun.”

The costumes are gorgeous and they’ve been working with two revolving sets, he said.

“I think the play leaps off the page a lot; for being an old play, it really pops.”

Younger audiences who’ve never heard of Harvey, or the concept of an imaginary friend, can just sit back and enjoy the comedy, he said.

“It’s very approachable, very understandable.”

The idea of having an imaginary friend can be found in many cultures, and at many times of life, but “if that friend is substantial enough in your imagination you have to question if it’s imaginary or not. That’s what the story plays with,” he said.

And then, there is the utterly useless “reality” of the social climbers in the story.

“That allows people to consider the idea: if we don’t have kindness, what are we living for? To be present with people in the moment is important.”

Wearing his artistic director’s hat, DuMez said he’s delighted with the way this season is going at Chemainus.

“It’s been wonderful. Last season was good and I think we’re reaping some of the benefits of that audience loyalty and enthusiasm. We’ve had a great start to the season this year. It’s been really fun, and we’re hoping for more of the same.”


Original Story Link


By |May 12th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season, Reviews|0 Comments

All the Magic Possible

JulieMcIsaacJulie McIsaac

I had two imaginary friends growing up: Lulu and Jyson. Turns out my older sister had a couple as well: Teeman and Coca. Naturally, when my little brother came along, I assumed he would introduce us to his invisible pals. I waited. He grew. Started talking. But never mentioned his imaginary friends. Because – shocking! – little bro didn’t have any. No lack of imagination on his part; that boy has always been very good (scarily good…) at talking himself out of sticky situations. But when I asked him what his friends’ names were, he had no idea what I was talking about.

Wanting to fix what to me seemed desperately broken, I quickly bestowed three upon him: Ketchup, Mustard and Relish. But despite their great names, he wasn’t interested. He couldn’t see them, he said.

As an adult, I realize now: he had no need of them. For whatever reason – possibly my sister and I provided ample entertainment? – my brother was always perfectly at ease with the (visible) world as it was. I’ve always felt a little sorry for him, though.

May Harvey remind you of all the magic that is possible between people, both visible and invisible.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

About Julie

Julie is a director, playwright and performer, recently returned from the UK where she earned her Master’s degree from the University of York. She is a three-time Jessie nominee, was an apprentice at CTF in 2005-2006, and directed the holiday hit Countryside Christmas (2011). Her play The Out Vigil recently premiered in Vancouver, and was featured in the 2015 New American Voices Festival in London’s West End. For Lulu and Jyson.



By |May 3rd, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

The More We Know . . .


A sweeping statement: Science often discounts mystery. The quest for knowledge might sweep the jester off the stage, clean up the fool and try to cleverly eradicate, through measure, fact and study, the place of the trickster. Some think the more we know – the more we know. Others are of the mind that the more we know, the more there is to discover. And in this dance of knowing and not knowing, we might be mindful to keep the jester at the party.

Enigma, myth, the profound mystery – the wise recognize at some point that we are not as big as we think we are. The trickster, in many cultures, helps to illuminate this child-like understanding.

And so, we welcome Harvey. Like Shakespeare’s Puck – he is a Pooka. And, in being a thing unseen for some and seen for others, examines our faith in what is beyond the regular senses. Perhaps he is a mask for a drinking problem, perhaps a debilitating mental illness, or, in another reading of his antics, a bearer of light and levity into Elwood’s once dreary life – enabling him to be present with all. If the latter, wouldn’t you like to meet him? It’s been a thrill to tread the boards again – enjoy the show!


By |April 18th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

Welcome to 2016 From Our Managing Director


Randal Huber

Greetings Awesome Audience!

We couldn’t be more thankful for your show of support by attending today’s performance.

The theatre is off to an excellent start for 2016 and (drum roll please) recently set a new all-time record for season tickets, eclipsing the old mark set back in 2007.

We send an extra shout out to all of the donors who make charitable gifts to support our programming.  Take time to peruse the list of amazing folks at the back of this program.  If you’re names not there, we would love to add it.  As a not-for-profit, we rely on charitable support to provide a financial base that allows us to plan ahead with confidence and continually pursue artistic excellence on stage and off-stage through various outreach opportunities.

“The perks build from there as we strive to pull back the curtain and provide exclusive access to interact with the stars of the Chemainus stage.”

As a thank you to donors (whom we call Members), we bestow all sorts of special perks: including being first to hear company news such as the season announcement and advance access to tickets for hot selling shows.  When two shows were added to our sold out run of Elf the Musical, Members had first crack at snapping up the seats.

The perks build from there as we strive to pull back the curtain and provide exclusive access to interact with the stars of the Chemainus stage at exclusive Member-only events.

This year we’ve added a few new events – including a workshop and play reading in Victoria and our inaugural Member Day in July. Member Day will provide a chance to experience the inner workings of the costume shop, rehearsal halls and scenery shop followed by a time to dine together in the Playbill before taking in our summer blockbuster Footloose.

The Chemainus Theatre will only flourish with the support of its patrons.  Hopefully this has enticed you to look in to Membership.   Give because the arts are worth supporting and give because it opens up the world of live theatre at behind the scenes events.  After all, sometimes the best seats in the house aren’t even in the house.

[separator top=”20″ style=”single”]

By |April 14th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season|0 Comments

Review: Ring of Fire Full of Johnny Cash Favourites


Johnny Cash (Jonas Shandel) partners for a duet with June Carter (Samantha Currie) during ‘Ring of Fire’. The show is a musical journey through the life of Cash, a country music legend. It plays April 6 to 23 at the Chemainus Theatre.

— Image Credit: [Cim MacDonald Photo]

  • by Paul Brian – Cowichan Valley Citizen

The ultimate tribute to Johnny Cash will be back in Chemainus by foot-stompin’ demand.

Ring of Fire runs April 6-23 at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, featuring many of Cash’s greatest hits woven together with his fascinating life story from farming to iconic superstar.

“It’s a musical journey through Johnny Cash’s life,” explained musical director Kraig Waye.

“It’s not extremely heavy on story, but through a series of little interludes and vignettes it takes you through his early life in Arkansas through to the beginning of his musical career in Memphis, of course some of the Gospel songs in his career. Then as the show progresses it lightly touches on some of the troubles he went through, obviously his relationship with June Carter.”

The show features over three dozen Cash songs including such favourites as ‘Walk the Line’, ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’, ‘Country Boy’, ‘A Thing Called Love’ and, of course, ‘Ring of Fire’.

“It’s really interesting. You really get a chance to touch on all the genres and the different styles that he was able to incorporate into his career over the decades,” Waye said. “You get a little flavour of his Gospel roots and his early boom-chicka-boom, the train chuggin’ country, and then even some features later like the ’70s country like ‘Man in Black’ and the Kris Kristofferson song ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’. There’s even a murder ballad in the show, the song ‘Delia’s Gone’.”

The cast includes artists who will be familiar to the audience and newcomers to the festival stage. Performing stories and songs that were stepping stones on Cash’s journey are Alexander Baerg, Timothy Brummund (as narrator and voice of Cash when he looks back), Scott Carmichael, Andrea Cross, Samantha Currie (as June Carter), Daniel Kosub, Mark MacRae and Jonas Shandel (as the up-and-coming, youthful Cash).

“There’s one who’s playing sort of the younger Cash, that’s Jonas Shandel, so he does the bulk of the lead singing and then the other is Timothy Brummund, who acts as the narrator and also the older conscience of Cash, the reflective version,” Waye explained. “The rest of the folks lend wonderful support in various roles musically and through some of the scenework.”

The show runs around two hours and has been a pleasure to musically direct, Waye said.

“It’s been fantastic. This show’s a real treat,” Waye said, adding that his good friend Zachary Stevenson who directed last year’s Ring of Fire gave him a number of helpful tips in the runup to rehearsals. “I’m putting a little bit of my own flavour in, but a good majority is just to stay true to Zach’s vision from last year,” Waye added.

Outstanding work has also been done behind the scenes, from set/projection designer Erin Gruber, costume designer Crystal Hanson, sound designer Paul Tedeschini, live mixer Andrew Nicholls, lighting designer Rebekah Johnson, stage manager Anne Taylor and apprentice stage manager Linzi Voth.

Conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr., Ring of Fire is a musical biography that portrays a story about hitting rock bottom and finding the faith to carry on.

“We’re excited to bring this show back for a second season,” said Sales and Marketing Director, Michelle Vogelgesang. It’s exceptionally performed, and many people asked to see it, both again and for the first time. It seems that everyone can connect with his character: as a wild gentleman, a rustic poet, a saved sinner, and an American music hero.”

Ring of Fire runs April 6-23. For tickets call 1-800-565-7738 or visit www.chemainustheatre.ca.

Original Story Link


By |April 7th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season, Reviews|0 Comments