Chair of the Board
I grew up in the South Cariboo with a passion for the arts that has taken me far and wide. I have worked and volunteered as both a technician and administrator in professional theatre for over 20 years. Working for the Banff Centre, Princess Cruises, Richmond Gateway Theatre, Evergreen Cultural Centre and Vancouver TheatreSports I have experience working with producing and presenting companies on both large and small budget endeavours. In my free time I sing with the Roots ‘N’ Wings Women’s Choir and was with High Spirits Choir for 6 years as a singer and board member. I first joined Sunset Theatre as a Technician for the 2006 and 2007 seasons before joining the board of directors in 2016. Excited for the future and reflective of the past, I am proud of the work that Sunset Theatre is doing providing a space and support for both established and emerging artists to find their unique voice and tell their stories. The Cariboo and the North are rich with stories and creative energies just waiting to take flight.
Michelle is a new resident in Wells, although her roots here go back to 2000, when she first came up from the Coast and discovered the magic of Barkerville. The Cariboo captured her heart then, and although it took over 15 years, she is so incredibly happy to finally be back, and thrilled to become part of building the future at the Sunset Theatre. A professional Actor, Historical Interpreter, Costume Designer, and Educator, she completed under-graduate training in Canada and post-graduate training in the UK, bringing a wealth of understanding in both North American and European approaches to theatre; she has worked in the world of professional theatre for 20+ years. Stage & screen credits include work on both sides of the Atlantic, and range from Shakespeare to Stephen King (The Doctor’s Case), and from Children’s Theatre to gritty dramas - such as Godhead by Michaela Jeffrey... which was her first appearance on the Sunset stage (2015). - Since that time, the Sunset Cabaret has continued to bring her back time and again! When not engaging in her first passion - inhabiting the streets of Barkerville - she can be found designing clothes for (often) imaginary people, dialect coaching, training actors, cooking, and enjoying family life with her twin daughters and musician husband.
Board Member -
Sunset Cabaret Chris first stepped on stage at the Sunset Theatre in 2007. Since then it has become his favourite place to perform. Chris has performed in Kamloops, Victoria, Vancouver, and of course Wells. In Kamloops he studied theatre at Thompson Rivers University, where he was one of the founding members of the T.R.U.D.A.T (Thompson Rivers University Drama and Theatre) Club. He has performed for Project X Theatre and The Saucy Fops. In Victoria Chris performed for Launch Pad Theatre Productions, Pacific Opera, and This is Twisted Theatre. While living in Vancouver Chris began doing stand up comedy at open mics. The Sunset Cabaret is what Chris is most known for at the Sunset Theatre, and it is what played a big part in him coming to Wells back in 2007. Chris is extremely happy to be on the Board of the Sunset Theatre and is looking forward to helping it grow.
Director of Presentation
Julia was born in Birmingham, England, and grew up in Beaconsfield, Quebec, in the1970s & 80s. Both her maternal and paternal families have had strong ties to the performing arts for many generations. Julia first began creating and writing theatre in the mid 1990s in Victoria, BC, with an exciting independent theatre company called Theatre SKAM. Since 1997, Julia has worked as a professional actor in theatres across Canada. In 2007, she and Dirk Van Stralen created Juno Productions. To date, they have toured their multi-award winning play, Jake’s Gift, to over 250 communities across Canada, including stops in the US, the UK and Normandy, France. When not on the road with Jake’s Gift, Julia lives in the historic town of Wells in the Cariboo District of BC.
Director of Production
Dirk is a four time Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Nominee for acting. Also an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, his single panel cartoon, vanstralen, appeared in Vancouver’s The Georgia Straight for 17 years. He is also the illustrator of two wordless kids books: Ben’s Big Dig and Ben’s Bunny Trouble. When not on tour with Jake’s Gift,Dirk sometimes directs plays like Mike Delamont’s Mama’s Boy and 17 by Morag Northey, while supporting the Sunset Theatre and doing graphic design for Barkerville Historic Town and Park, the largest historic site in western North America.
Brendan Bailey is a writer and performer now based out of historic Wells where he seasonally portrays an 1860’s Cornish miner in Barkerville Historic Townsite. Throughout 2016 and 2017, he toured with ZarYevka Ballet. For six years he sang tenor in the seasonal Christmas Revelers a cappela caroling quartet in Vancouver. His Goldpan Poetry, an emotionally and physically exposed erotic performance piece regularly performed at the Sunset Theatre’s Sunset Cabaret, is quickly becoming a widely recognized element of his diverse performance repertoire. A graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, Brendan also has appeared in film and television and various theatre productions along with an additional mentorship in playwriting.
Dorothea has acted only once, as a reporter in a high school play. A few years later she became a reporter (did life imitate art?) working for CBC radio in La Ronge, Saskatoon, Inuvik and Prince George.
Upon a move to Wells, and becoming executive director at Island Mountain Arts, she organized a summer concert series at the historic Sunset Theatre, recognizing its potential as a performing arts space. Potential was the operative word; old wiring, lumpy seats, but those amazing acoustics! Mercifully, the Sunset was rescued by Karen and Dave Jeffery who transformed the Theatre into the beautiful performing space it is today. During those years, Dorothea was working as a librarian in Saskatoon, and on holidays in Wells, enjoyed an array of exciting shows at the rejuvenated Sunset. Now that she’s retired in Wells, she’s keen to support this vibrant enterprise.
Dorothea says “While I’m don’t have creative talents, I’m a good audience” and as a new Director, wishes to help expand those good audiences at the Sunset.
Founding Chair & Board Member
Doug performs in all manner of live performance across Canada. In the past few months he has been seen in Little Mercy’s First Murder (Vertigo/GZT), Amadeus (ATP), Treasure Island (ATP) and St. Joan (Theatre Calgary). Recently, Doug appeared in several World Premieres: The Optimists at Theatre Junction; X-Ray at Ghost River Theatre and Pinocchio with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop at ATP.
Favourite shows include Into the Woods (Citadel); Arcadia (Theatre Junction) and Kurt Weill: Berlin to Broadway (Theatre Calgary). Doug and his partner Onalea produce concerts for Symphony Orchestras through their company Dandi Productions and recently presented The Twins and the Monster at the National Arts Centre as part of Alberta Scene, and appeared at the Hollywood Bowl as guests of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
A theatre professional of over 30 years Karen juggles her passion of theatre between acting, singing, producing, designing, writing and being an arts administrator. In 1999 Karen purchased the Sunset Theatre in Wells BC and with her husband Dave restored it beyond its former glory. The Sunset Theatre Society was formed in 2000 for the purposes of bringing professional theatre to the Cariboo region dedicated to the creation of new plays. Karen went to theatre school in New York at HB Studios after spending a short time at Studio 58 in Vancouver and has worked professionally in Toronto, Stratford, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver and even spent some time in Nashville, living in a tent pursuing a career as a country and western singer. Not afraid of new frontiers, Karen accepted a contract with the 2010 Vancouver Olympics responsible for creating the cultural programming for the Athletes Villages and an 18 day Arts and Cultural Festival for the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Karen now splits her time between the Sunset Theatre in Wells, and Lions Bay BC, where she calls home with her two younger children, a dog named Stella and her husband Dave.
With a strong academic and practical background in the performing arts, Natasha is an urban professional who has worked across the country in high-level marketing positions at not-for-profit organizations as well as in the corporate sector. Natasha is a team player and an energetic self-starter who earlier this year took on an entrepreneurial venture of starting her own marketing and communications consultancy.
As former employee of the Sunset Theatre, the theatre and Wells hold a very dear place in Natasha’s heart. She is beyond thrilled to be contributing to the Sunset now as a board member.
In addition to an active professional life, Natasha loves making jam (Maple Peach Vanilla is her favourite both to make and consume), knitting and spending time on Kits Beach with her husband Trevor and their growing family.
MARCH 29TH, 2000
Founded in 2000, The Sunset Theatre Society’s Mandate is to: nurture, develop, produce and present professional theatre in the remote and supportive environment of the Sunset Theatre in the remote gold mining town of Wells, BC.
The Sunset Theatre is Governed by a Board of Directors with one full-time volunteer staff person, Executive Artistic Director, Karen Jeffery. The Sunset Theatre has just celebrated its 10th Anniversary season.
If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us at 250-994-3400 or
250-617-2167 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dorothea Funk - Treasurer
Holly Jones - Chair
Natasha McEwan - Secretary
Brendan Bailey - Director
Doug McKeag - Director
Chris Cooley - Director
Michelle Lieffertz - Director
Karen Jeffery - Executive Artistic Director
Julia Mackey - Director of Presentations
Dirk Van Stralen - Director of Productions
Stu Cawood - Sunset Cabaret
Chris Cooley - Sunset Cabaret
Summer Students are supported through the generous employment grants from Service Canada.
BECOME A MEMBER
Lifetime membership fee only $20.
Membership Card with receive a $2 discount for all Sunset Theatre productions except rentals (i.e. Arts Wells) and Sunset Cabaret.
One 'bring a guest' pass - (guest must be a non-member)
Aftershow Bevies - applies to only particular shows
Sunset Theatre Pin
To become a member please contact email@example.com.
BECOME A PARTNER
If you or your company or someone you know is interested in supporting the Sunset Theatre in a bigger way, please contact us directly. We are currently looking for partners who we can get creative with to make this little diamond in the rough a goldmine.
This partnership can be through sponsorship, private donation, creative contribution, volunteerism, advocacy, becoming a board member or service provider, or providing value in kind.