Sunset Theatre does Shakespeare

This summer first Shakespearean Festival along with impressive seasonal lineup

Devin MacKinnon will portray Hamlet in Sunset Theatre production.

The Sunset Theatre is launching the Cariboo’s First Shakespeare Festival with two plays running in rep throughout the summer.

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the world premiere of Godhead by award winning Canadian Playwright Michaela Jeffery will be the flag-ship productions for the 2015 summer season.

Hamlet is considered Shakespeare’s most popular as well as revered works.  Considered the last play he wrote, it is an epic classic that delves into the psyche of the human spirit exploring greed, love, passion, power, fear, betrayal good ol’ paranoia and madness play! What is so identifiable with Hamlet, is that all of these emotions touch each one of us in varying ways and it is how we choose to deal with that informs our world. Hamlet’s choices set him on a course from which he is unable to recover.  Hamlet will be played by Devin MacKinnon who trained at the National Theatre School of Canada.

Directed by Tim Sutherland, Godhead, is a new play by Michaela Jeffery, an award winning playwright. Set in rural Canada, a troubled bull rider confronts a tired televangelist and begs him to save his soul. Is he possessed, or just trying to outrun his dark side? This unsettling drama pits our desire for salvation against our fear of being brought to reckoning.

Having an annual Shakespeare Festival has been a life-long dream of owner and director Karen Jeffery,  “it’s taken 15 years to get to this point and it’s really exciting, a little scary but this has been the vision behind the theatre since I purchased it in 1999 and we are ready to take this next step.”

Hamlet and Other New Works is the theme the Sunset Theatre is hoping to carry it into the future.  Along with Hamlet and Godhead, the Sunset is re-establishing its Exploration Series of new plays.  Plays have been submitted from all across the country and will have their first public reading at the Sunset Theatre throughout the summer.  The Exploration Series was originally launched in 2006 and was instrumental in bringing Jake’s Gift to life. Written and performed by Wellsian’s Julia Mackey and Directed by Dirk VanStralen, this multi-award-winning theatrical gem has now played close to 800 performances touching more than 80,000 people. “Finding new Canadian plays that we can produce at the Sunset Theatre is at the core of what the theatre was established for.”

In addition to Hamlet and Godhead running in rep, the Sunset is also presenting the popular The Fred Wells Show with James Douglas, directed by Danette Boucher which tells the story of how the little town of Wells with a heart of gold came to life, Jabberwacky by Zaryevka Ballet based on Lewis Carol’s famous classic and the Sunset Cabaret.

Helping us kick off the season is a special appearance by The Demon Squadron and The Foxx Follies Bottoms Up Burlesque, followed by the deeply moving sounds of Juno Award Nominee and Aboriginal Artist of the Year Marcel Gagnon whose songs resonate with the truth of experiences and issues that affect all of us.

An evening of classical music with renowned cellist Morag Northey and PGSO Music Director Kevin Zakresky will delight audiences with repertoire that explores the themes of love in there chamber concert entitled Ùnstoppable Love. Rounding out the season, TJ Dawe will join us at the Sunset with his one man show Marathon, a funny and enlightening story about running track and field to please his high-school-principal-dad and failing miserably.  Now in its third season, the Moonrise Film Festival will be presenting an array of films that have been submitted from around the globe.

Of course it wouldn’t be a summer without the annual youth drama camp which over the past two seasons has been focusing on musical theatre. This year, the Musical Theatre Boot Camp will be working on the popular Broadway hit, Spelling Bee.

With the launching of the Annual Shakespeare Festival, the Sunset Theatre has been working on establishing itself as a destination theatre where audiences can delight in taking in some great plays, explore the area, visit the galleries, Barkerville and support some of Canada`s top theatre and performing artists.

For more dates, time and details on the upcoming season at the Sunset Theatre, please visit www.sunset-theatre.com, contact Karen Jeffery, 250-994-3400 or e-mail sunsettheatre@gmail.com.