Chemainus is a highlight of many tourists’ holidays on Vancouver Island. It has wonderful shopping, great food, historic homes, and colourful murals providing a beloved ambiance. With the arrival of Spring Break and sunny days it is easy to see there are so many things to do in our little town. To make your trip here extra memorable we want to share with you our top 5 things to do before or after a show at Chemainus Theatre:
- If the weather is cooperating (or you have a good umbrella and boots) go for a walk and enjoy one (or two) of Chemainus’ many parks, trails, beaches and lakes – Stocking Creek and Chemainus Lake boast beautiful walks through scenic West Coast forests, Kin Beach is a perfect place to have a picnic or sit on a bench and enjoy the panoramic views of local islands and sometimes Mt. Baker on a clear day.
- Chemainus boasts many delicious eateries to satisfy all tastes. For a satisfying lunch try Chemainus Theatre supporters Owl’s Nest or Willow Street, they are right across the street from each other and you are guaranteed yummy food while you eavesdrop on local gossip. If you are craving something more exotic try Odika Café for good food and great service. There are also great Thai, Japanese, bakeries, and pub-style options in town. Our biggest tip for any lunch in town – don’t eat too much so you still have room for dinner at the incredible Playbill Dining Room right before your show.
- Discover the history of Chemainus – check out the museum next to the visitor information centre to learn about what makes Chemainus special, walk amongst the murals to see the history larger-than-life, or take a horse-drawn wagon tour for a laid-back, delightful experience.
- It’s easy to treat yourself in Chemainus. Locals are lucky to live here and often comment on how we don’t have far to go for great boutique shopping. Get a new outfit or a quality pair of shoes at a store like ‘Beyond the Usual’ or Kinney Clothing. You can find opulent handmade soaps, beautiful gifts, and maybe even a spa treatment. If you are in the market for antiques you will definitely be able to find something special in Chemainus.
- Chemainus is a unique town, full of unique experiences. Many visitors who have been here before have enjoyed listening to live music in Waterwheel Park, right in the middle of town. Even if there isn’t a concert during your visit grab a hot chocolate or ice cream cone (depending on the time of year) and walk the park’s newly installed labyrinth for a meditative experience.
We hope you enjoy your next visit to Chemainus. We encourage you to take your time and stay a while to soak up that slow, small-town charm. The Best Western Plus offers great deals on your next stay – you can even book when you call the Chemainus Theatre Festival box office to get a great package deal. Drop in and say hello to the friendly folks at the Chemainus Visitor Centre while you are here too – they can give you more information about self-guided walking tours, dining and shopping option, local parks and more!
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/)
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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 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
Between now and December 1, 2016, every dollar donated to the Chemainus Theatre Endowment Fund will be matched by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Our goal is to raise $15,000
Current 2016 donations are $7,350 Help us raise $7,650 by December 1, 2016!
The Chemainus Theatre Endowment Fund helps the theatre keep pace with the rising cost of producing and presenting professional theatre, and preserves our role as a leading cultural institution for the region.
All donations to this important initiative stay in the fund forever, yet the Chemainus Theatre benefits from the interest earned on the fund. The bigger the endowment grows, the more interest revenue we receive! This new source of income is important to our survival and that’s why we’ve set a new target – to raise $15,000.00 towards our endowment.
You can help us reach our goal by giving a one-time gift, making a multi-year pledge, donating public securities, or leaving us a bequest through your estate planning.
You can donate by clicking here or by calling our box office at 1.800.565.7738.