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Nutcracker sleigh ride returns to Spallumcheen theatre

Caravan Farm Theatre presents the holiday classic Dec. 5 to Jan. 7

Caravan Farm Theatre’s enchanting rendition of The Nutcracker returns Dec. 5 to Jan. 7.

It’s been three years since the production was first staged at the Spallumcheen theatre, and artistic director Estelle Shook says the creative team is dialing up the magic.

“As with all revivals, it’s an opportunity to tweak what didn’t work and finesse what did. There will be a new final scene, a new song, and a brand-new set,” says Shook. “We are aiming to build on our 2019 production to make it a little bit more spectacular, a little more magical.”

Now in its 35th year, the sleigh ride show has become a beloved Okanagan tradition. By weaving the dazzling wintry landscape with Caravan’s rural theatre experience, the winter performance brings magnificence and new life to classic holiday tales.

“Around the holidays, there are certain stories we like to revisit every year. Some people read A Christmas Carol, some watch It’s a Wonderful Life on TV and some attend The Nutcracker at the ballet. These stories have been so woven into the holiday tradition that they have the power to evoke warmth and comfort, and we need some cosiness right now,” says Shook.

“The Nutcracker is about the power of dreams, creativity and imagination. As we know, children are very connected to these things but adults, not so much. This is a story that explores the importance of maintaining our connection to the world of the imagination.”

Cirque du Soleil artist Manon Beaudoin returns to direct a stellar team of performers. Lili Beaudoin, Colin Heath and Ruaridh MacDonald reprise the respective the roles of Marie, Drosselmeyer/Mouse King and The Nutcracker. New cast members Jayke Mayne, Krystle Pederson and Elinor Holt step into the shoes of the Sugarplum Fairy, Mother and Pantaloon.

Molly March’s immersive set design, and Jillian White’s lighting will transform the rolling fields into a spectacular vision of Candyland, all set to Cody Cyburn’s playful revamping of Tchaikovsky’s lush score.

And, in classic Caravan fashion, the adventure begins and ends as people gather around the fire. Shook encourages people to arrive early to unplug and connect as the stars come out and the teamsters prepare horses and sleighs.

“The winter sleigh ride show is a popular event to do with others,” says Shook. “It’s such a great way to connect with your family and with your friends in a way that’s enriching for those relationships. It can be easier to bond with others when we are engaged in parallel activity — such as walking, watching a play, or enjoying a sleigh ride — something side by side.”

As a non-profit, charitable arts organization, Caravan Farm Theatre is dedicated to bringing people together. With inflation and the rising cost of living, Shook says the team at Caravan decided to maintain last year’s prices as long as possible and increase the number of pay-what-you-can performances.

“Everyone’s dollars are stretched, and we know that things like entertainment and outings can be the first to go,” says Shook. “We’re here to serve our community with this event, and we want to do everything we can to help everyone experience the magic of The Nutcracker.”

Tickets to The Nutcracker are now on sale but limited with some nights already sold out at or call the box office at 1-866-546-8533. Pay-what-you-can nights are scheduled for the start and end of the show run.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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