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Tree grows from Vernon gymnastics, Cirque and muralist for unique show

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club and Cirque Theatre Company performance Nov. 24&25
Okanagan Rhythmic Gymastics Club and Cirque Theatre Company team up, with help from special guiest stars, to present TREE. Three shows will be performed over two days, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25. (Contributed)

A Vernon-based theatre troupe and rhythmic gymnastics club hopes the North Okanagan will embrace a Tree.

Cirque Theatre Company is the performing arts branch of the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club. Together, the two companies present a unique theatrical production called Tree, to be presented in three shows Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

Founder and original production creator Camille Martens of Vernon, who competed in rhythmic gymnastics at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, has teamed up with world-renowned master muralist artist Michelle Loughery, and theatre production master Dave Brotsky – both of Vernon – for a unique and captivating experience.

“Tree invites audiences of all ages to embark on a visually enchanting journey, promising an emotional adventure that explores the ideas of scarcity, differences, purpose, belonging, community, hope, and love,” said Martens. “When the tribes gather to share in the harvest, the idea of scarcity is introduced.

“Tribes of Water, Earth, Fire and Air start to turn on each other, hurt grows into bitterness, judgement and accusations. When all hope is lost, will they find a way to come together or will the division be too strong?”

Martens’ original production uses a dynamic fusion of drama, dance, music, circus arts, gymnastics, theatrical set designs and cirque-like storytelling to relay the captivating tale of Flora, the blossoming mother Tree.

This athletic and artistic endeavour has been creatively crafted to captivate young and old alike.

“We are all connected,” said Martens, emphasizing the universal theme that resonates throughout Tree.

“You must experience a Camille Martens production; you can see and you feel, but only when you experience the production will you understand,” added Loughery.

What drew Brotsky to the project is the unusual way the group creates something from nothing.

“Seeing the the way they work together to explore problems, to then tap into universal truths and then share their findings with the broader community is always titillating,” said Brotsky. “It’s a huge credit to Camille and the unique and skilled teams she puts together. The athletes are skilled, attentive and brave. This production will be magical to say the least.”

The talented cast includes national rhythmic gymnastics team star Noelle Brierley, together with Brie MacPherson and Macey Steinkrug, who bring their exceptional skills and artistry to breathe life into the characters. With a dynamic combination of seasoned performers, emerging talents and the entire Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club team, the ensemble cast ensures a rich and immersive experience for the audience.

The play promises to engage, entertain, and provoke thought, making it a must-see event for theatre lovers in the Okanagan, as musicians, athletes, dancers and actors take the stage in an engaging production to take you on an unforgettable journey.

Performances are Friday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m., and there are two shows Saturday, Nov. 25, at 2:30 and 7 p.m.

Tickets are on sale at

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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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