Originally a movie theatre built in1934, the Sunset Theatre has been a gambling house, town hall, and even a temporary morgue. Purchased in1999, the Sunset has been lovingly restored beyond its former glory to bring live professional theatre to the Cariboo - and it can still play movies!

Now in its 13th season of programming, the Sunset Theatre, operated by the Sunset Theatre Society has produced, presented, nurtured and developed dozens of professional productions from across the country and right here at home. What began as a mission to bring new Canadian plays to life against the remote and beautiful backdrop of the Cariboo Mountains has burgeoned into a year-round company. Since reopening its doors in 2006 the Sunset Theatre has presented over 50 professional theatre productions, have had 41 new plays come through our Exploration Series, produced 12 in house new plays, played host dozens of concerts, movies, rentals and much more - all with the goal of creating a sustainable year-round acting company producing world-class theatre in the heart of the Cariboo.

2357 pooley street • wells, bc • sunset-theatre.com
sunsettheatre@gmail.com • 250-994-3400

The Creative Team

Bringing new work, established touring artists, and full home-spun productions to the Sunset stage

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Karen Jeffery

Artistic Director

(Nee Planden) is a theatre professional of over 30 years. Juggling her passions between acting, producing, directing, designing, writing and being an arts administrator, Karen is also the proud owner of the historic Sunset Theatre in Wells BC which she purchased in 1999 on her credit card while still the Executive Director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival responsible for moving it to Granville Island. Besides producing a total of eight years of Fringe Festivals, Karen was also the General Manager of 25th Street Theatre in Saskatoon after graduation from Arts administration at Grand McEwan in Edmonton. She has also worked in theatres 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 has worked for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and most recently the 2015 Canada Winter Games creating cultural programming for both and working with First Nations artists and Protocol. Karen now splits her time between the Sunset Theatre in Wells, and Lions Bay BC, where she calls home with her two younger children, and her husband Dave.

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Amy Collison

Resident Stage Manager

Amy is thrilled to be back for another season in Wells! She is a graduate of Humber College, Douglas College & Capilano University. Amy recently earned a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts along with two diplomas for Theatre Production & Theatre Performance. She has practiced stage management with Sunset Theatre (2017), Artichoke Heart Collective (2012) & the Toronto Fringe Festival (2012). Amy has performed various characters, including Bobbie James(Concord Floral), Ismene (Antigone) and her own devised clown, Lucky (WHODUNNIT?). Amy is looking forward to using her skills in stage management and performance to help mentor and facilitate artists in creating new work.

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Julia Mackey

Director of Presentations

Julia Mackey was born in Birmingham, England, and grew up in Beaconsfield, Quebec, in the 1970s & 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. Earlier this year, she finished a run of ‘The Occupation of Heather Rose’ at Theatre North West in Prince George to acclaimed reviews. Jules joined the Sunset Theatre creative team as Director of Presentations, a position that was developed as part of the Sunset Theatre’s long-term strategic plan.

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Dirk Van Stralen

Director of Productions

Dirk was in the original production of Cariboo Magi as the Reverend William Teller at Pacific Theatre. A four time Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Nominee for acting, Dirk is also an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. His single panel cartoon, vanstralen, appeared in Vancouver’s The Georgia Straight for 17 years. He is the illustrator of two wordless kids books: Ben’s Big Dig and Ben’s Bunny Trouble. He directed 17 by Morag Northey, which premiered at the Sunset Theatre in 2017, having been developed through the Sunset Theatre’s Exploration Series. Dirk’s own art show, Failing Better, a retrospective of Dirk’s 30+ years of work as a visual artist, cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer, had a lengthy exhibit at Island Mountain Arts Gallery in Wells, BC. He also directed Mamma’s Boy, by Mike Delamont (God Is A Scottish Drag Queen). Most recently, Dirk finished a successful run as director and designer of The Occupation of Heather Rose at Theatre Northwest. Dirk has joined the Sunset Theatre’s creative team as Director of Productions, a position that was developed as part of the Sunset Theatre’s long-term strategic plan.

 The Sunset Theatre Society Board

Holly Jones
Board Chair

Michelle Leiffertz
Board Member

Dorothea Funk
Treasurer

Doug McKeag
Founding Chair & Board Member

Brendan Bailey
Board Member

Natasha McEwan
Secretary

Chris Cooley
Board Member

Sunset Theatre

2357 Pooley Street
Wells, BC V0K 2R0
sunsettheatre@gmail.com
250-994-3400

sunset-theatre.com

 
 

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Rentals, Retreats and Residencies

Wells boasts a vibrant artistic community that can be drawn upon for support and camaraderie. With limited access to urban centres yet rich with nature and creative spirit, Wells is the perfect place to present and develop creative works. There are a variety of packages available, from renting just the theatre to renting just an apartment for a creative getaway or the combination of both. Right next door to the Good Eats building, the Sunset Theatre is capable of supporting a wide variety of staging/production requirements and an in-house technician will be on hand when required to help make your project come to life. 

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rentals

Theatre Rentals are available year round and come with a varying degree of services depending on your needs. The theatre is fully equipped. Please see Tech Specs for more information.

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retreats

Retreats can come with the use of the theatre or not. The length of stay can vary from a few days to as long as possible. Accommodations are located in the Good Eats, which is the blue building next to the theatre. It has a large one bedroom apartment, a large bachelor and a small bachelor with a shared bathroom. All units are self-contained.

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residencies

Artist residencies are open to all artists and all disciplines and are based on availability. Submissions are taken on an on-going basis and available year-round.

Our History

Pooley Street, Wells, BC, 1930s

Pooley Street, Wells, BC, 1930s

 
 

way back when

Built in 1934, the Sunset was a movie house built to entertain mine workers during the great gold boom in Wells, which, at its peak, boasted a population of 5,000. It was actually one of two movie theatres in Wells; the other, the Lode, burnt down in the 1980s.

The Sunset has played countless classic movies, and even served as a temporary morgue after a mining accident in the 1950s. The building has been restored and transformed into a live playing space. The doors re-opened in 2006 to host theatrical events and live concerts. The silver screen is still there, and the theatre still screens movies on the silver screen.

 
 

Tech Specs

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What we have to offer…

The Sunset Theatre is a fully equipped professional theatre with a variety of sound, lighting, special effects and projection capabilities. Please take a look at our Tech Specs for the complete list.

We are currently waiting on a grant application to upgrade our lighting and sound packages, so please stay tuned and check back for updates.