A theatre professional of over 30 years Karen juggles her passion for theatre between directing, 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
a recovery program, he recorded his breakthrough album Crazy Maker at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2001. The album was nominated for a Best Music of Aboriginal Canada award in the Juno Awards of 2002. He has produced two other albums. Marcel Gagnon graduated with a degree in addictions counselling in 1997. He announced himself as a recovering alcoholic and a person affected by fetal alcohol syndrome disorder. Gagnon became a member of the Board of Directors of the Whitecrow Village FASD Society upon its inception in 2002. Marcel has become a prominent advocate and counsellor for persons affected by the Canadian Indian residential school system. Currently, Marcel Gagnon is an elder of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation.
Banff Centre for the Arts. In Vancouver, Jenn freelanced in location recording, sound design for TV and film, music production and helped build a studio downtown. In 1994 Jenn stumbled into the game audio community at Electronic Arts Canada and was drawn in completely. Her game credits include the top-selling series: Need For Speed, James Bond 007, SSX, March Madness, NHL & NBA. She created the sound department at Relic Entertainment where she worked on the Company of Heroes & Warhammer 40k franchises. She has also enjoyed 15 years of teaching sound through the Vancouver Film School, Arts Institute, OIART & UBC. Her last project, a film called The Doctor’s Case, introduced her to the amazing people of Wells, who fed her passion and stole her attention. Jenn currently resides in Wells.
August 2 at 8:00 pm
Arts Wells August 4 & 5 at 2:00 pm
August 9, 10, 11 at 8 pm
by Marcel Gagnon
"I don't know who you are my boy,
but the drum is calling you home."
Join Lheidli T’enneh Elder and Juno Award Nominee, Marcel Gagnon, as he shares his journey as a young boy struggling with his identity and finding himself being called to his Indigenous roots; unfolding in a fusion of Theatre, Storytelling, Ceremony & Song, from Wolf to Raven, Frog to Bear.
Writer/Performer, Marcel Gagnon
Director & Creative Facilitation, Karen Planden*
Cast: Aaron M. Wells*
Stage Manager: Duncan Gillespie
Costume Design: Lahna Lampson
Traditional Costume Pieces: Keom Johnson
Sound Designer: Jenn Lewis
Set Designer: Hans Saefkow
Development Cast: Zach Running Coyote
Development Stage Manager: Amy Collisson
*with special permission by Canadian Actors Equity Association under the DOT Agreement.
From Wolf to Raven to Frog and finally Beaver, Elder, of the Lheidli T’enneh Band and Juno Award Nominee explores the four rounds of life's journey from an Aboriginal youth come leader. Through story and song, Marcel Gagnon's main message is "The Awakening of my people thru Sweat Lodge" which is ‘The Womb of Mother Earth.'
The Sunset Theatre is proud to premiere The Drum Is Calling You Home by Marcel Gagnon. Evocative, unique, and immensely powerful, The Drum Is Calling You Home headlines the Sunset Theatre’s 2018 Exploration Series.
The Drum Is Calling You Home, originally titled Awakening My People Through The Sweat Lodge, takes its audience on a journey spanning over sixty years - depicted in four rounds. Each round tells Marcel’s story; from a young man discovering his aboriginal roots to making peace with the inner callings of his heritage, searching for his identity. This is the story of an awakening – of one man’s spirit leading him home – with echoes that resonate through his community and beyond.
AUDIENCE RESPONSE AND TESTIMONIALS:
"The work is a courageous and powerful offering that reveals the heart of reconciliation. Great respect for the artist. You will be deeply moved. Keep up the good work!"
Michael Margolick, BC Movement Arts
"Witnessing Awakening My People Through the Sweat Lodge was a powerful and informative experience. The level of honesty and passion with which Gagnon's story was delivered was an honour to witness and I would highly encourage anyone with the opportunity to experience this piece to do so."
Britt Meierhofer, Music Director, CFUR Radio UNBC
"I think my jaw hit the floor at the beginning and stayed there until the end. Beautifully voiced stories, gorgeous choreography and lighting, and songs I kept humming all night..."
Cass Chowdhury, Audience Member
"I highly encourage you to attend the Sunset Theatre's performance of Awakening My People Through Sweatlodge by Marcel Gagnon and developed by Karen Jeffery. The storytelling is beautiful, awakening, humorous, and heart-wrenching. The music and singing reaches into your soul."
BJ Bailey, Actor, Playwright
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 shares two incredible stepchildren, Michaela Jeffery and Daniel Jeffery with her husband Dave. In her spare time, Karen enjoys painting and building inspirational silver jewellery under the moniker, Time of the Soul is Now.
From Prince George, British Columbia, Marcel is a member of the Lheidli T'enneh Band and 1 of 20 children in his family. As a youth Marcel Gagnon was involved in music, playing for dances, weddings and private functions as well as for radio shows in Alberta and British Columbia. His career was interrupted by severe alcoholism, but after undertaking
Jenn has been working with sound across many genres, for 35 years. She graduated from the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology and has been the house engineer at several music recording studios. She helped create some of the earliest virtual reality projects, as well as recorded jazz, orchestral and electro-acoustic music at the
Thank you to the generous support from the Canada Council of the Arts, The British Columbia Arts Council, New Pathways to Gold for helping bring this story to life. This project was developed through the Exploration Series at the Sunset Theatre in 2017 and received funding for further development and production with the goal to tour throughout the Cariboo, the Province and beyond.