Dazzle and Delight: Caravan Stage Company – July 12 – 14

Nearly five decades after it’s birth at a Kemp Lake Road farmstead, the Caravan Stage Company is returning to Sooke’s Government Wharf for a three-night run of its urgent and spectacular “climatopian” rock opera Nomadic Tempest.

Moored at the foot of Maple Ave. South, the company’s troupe of actors, musicians, aerial artists and sound/visual technicians will perform aboard the tall ship Amara Zee. They’ll mount one show per night at 10 p.m. on Thurs., Fri., Sat. July 12, 13 and 14.

Nightly attendance is limited to 250 people. The site will open each night at 9 pm and it’s recommended you arrive no later than 9:30 to ensure a prime view. Dress warmly for this outdoor show. Please bring your own low-slung chair or blanket. 

Thanks to a community grant from the District of Sooke, tickets are by donation. Reserve and print-out tickets online at Eventbrite

A limited number of tickets may be available at the gate each night. Please consider purchasing your tickets in advance to guarantee admission.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of positions in return for a free ticket. If you’re interested, contact tour coordinator Miranda Feldtman at amarazee@gmail.com with the subject line “Sooke volunteer”, cc sooketransition@gmail.com.

Nomadic Tempest envisions a world devastated by climate change. The Vancouver Sun described it as “an outdoor Cirque du Soleil and IMAX hybrid with a smattering of J.R.R. Tolkien and David Suzuki.” The production continues a long Caravan tradition of presenting accessible agitprop theatre that delivers impactful wake-up-calls about the planet and modern culture.

Paul Kirby and his life partner Adriana Kelder (ne Zigay) rolled out of Sooke in 1970 with their one-wagon, horse-drawn puppet show to perform in communities across Vancouver Island. In time, the company grew to feature six wagons drawn by teams of Clydesdale horses that toured every corner of North America from its base in Armstrong, BC, racking up more than 20,000 horse-drawn miles.

After a hiatus in the mid-1990s, the Caravan switched from dry land to open water aboard the custom-built Amara Zee, a 30-meter long ship modelled after a traditional Thames River sailing barge. A shallow draft of 1.2 meters has allowed it to access hundreds of waterfront communities large and small around the world.

Audiences gather on the shore and experience original music, soaring vocals, aerial artistry and large scenic elements backed by spectacular lighting and sound effects. The production is a continuous cinematic panorama of originally designed video graphics, animations and images. Within the upper trusses and the lower decks, as the Aerialists cavort, a palette of surprises, colors, and mechanical transformations unfold.

After performing Nomadic Tempest along America’s gulf coastline last summer, the ship was transported through the Panama Canal for dates on the BC coast in the fall and a local moorage over the winter. Performances in Nanaimo and Courtenay will have preceded the Sooke dates, following which the tour will sail to Port Townsend, Bellingham and Seattle.

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