Far From the Tree Productions presents Cariboo Magi, a new production by Trinity Western grads Joelle and Shelby Wyminga. (Far from the Tree/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Trinity Western grads form their own theatre company

Far From the Tree unveils first production, Cariboo Magi, running Dec. 4 to 14

Far From The Tree Productions was dreamed up from the heads of two Langley theatre majors to go about stage productions in a new and interesting way.

Shelby Wyminga is one of the founding members of Far From The Tree Productions, which is based in Vancouver and Richmond.

Both Shelby and her sister Joelle are grads of Trinity Western University’s (TWU) theatre program.

They started their own company with a desire to produce theatre that is environmentally sustainable and minimalist in nature while still maintaining the highest artistic standard.

“In theatre, so much is uncertain, and especially as an actor, it can feel like one’s career trajectory is entirely in the hands of others. I wanted to really build something, and when it came to choosing a creative partner I couldn’t think of anyone better than my sister and best friend,” Shelby explained.

“We are both passionate about environmental sustainability and in our initial brainstorming sessions, one of the biggest topics of discussion was the waste so often created in the theatre production process,” Shelby added.

She said sets and costumes are often built for a particular production and then never used again – a practise she wanted to stop with her own company.

Read More: Cinderella, seventies style

Written by award winning Vancouver playwright Lucia Frangione, their inaugural production Cariboo Magi is a story that follows a drunk and discouraged ex-Anglican minister, a sassy French saloon owner with a mysterious past, a disgraced child star, and a Canadian miner with the soul of a poet,who all seek a better future.

They intercept a contract meant for a San Diego theatre company, form a bedraggled troupe of players and head north, making the treacherous journey through the wilds of the Cariboo Gold Rush to perform a Christmas play for the people of Barkerville, B.C.

On their way, they rehearse a ridiculous pastiche of Hamlet, The Last of the Mohicans, and A Christmas Carol, gradually finding a way to legitimize their only true talents as “professional liars.”

“The four characters in the show make the treacherous journey from San Diego California to Barkerville BC in the dead of winter to perform a Christmas play,” Shelby added, noting that there is certainly a holiday connection to the production.

“The name, Cariboo Magi, is a direct reference to the Biblical Christmas story, with the four characters experiencing sweet and silly parallels with their first century Galilean counterparts. They even ride a camel! It is irreverent, entirely unique and incredibly touching,” she continued.

Cariboo Magi will run from Dec. 4 to 14 at The Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Dr. in Vancouver.

Tickets are available at www.havanavancouver.com.

More information on the theatre company can be found at www.farfromthetreeproductions.com.

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