August 7 2019

The summer feels like it is just whipping by. We’ve had a very busy time in Wells running the Sunset Theatre w/ Karen and Dave Jeffery, Amy Collison and Maggie Lees. We’ve welcomed some incredibly talented Theatre artists and musicians from BC and Alberta. #LuckyUs

This past weekend was the annual ArtsWells Festival, and it was an incredibly rewarding and exciting Festival w/ artists from all over the world arriving in our little town for the August long weekend.

As well as the business of the Sunset, we of course are looking forward to working on the upcoming performance of Jake’s Gift at Gabriola’s Cultivate Festival and our Fall 2019 Tour.

There is still plenty of summer left, and we are enjoying our days! We hope the same is true for you.

Happy August!

July 20 2019

Dear Bud

It's hard to imagine that we won't see you again. You have been the dearest of friends these last 9 years. When we met back in March 2010 after you came to see Jake's Gift, I knew we were kindred spirits. We are so lucky to have had the time we did with you. You were always so kind and welcoming - sharing your home with us every time we ventured out your way, be it for Fringe (#bestbilletever!) or holidays or just passing through. We shared so many laughs and amazing meals, shows and conversations. It has been the greatest honour to be your friend and to meet veterans like you over the last 15 years. You were such a gift to us and to so many people. Both Dirk and I will never forget all the good times we shared. We hope you and Johnny and Charlie are sharing a beer or three somewhere in the cosmos. Thank you for your service to this country that you loved so much and thank you for your fierce friendship. Rest in peace my dear dear friend. You've earned it. We will miss you more than words can say. <3 :( xoxo

31791278_10160257393875246_7580717960063352832_o.jpg

May 28 2019 • Nous sommes arrivés en Normandie!

We arrived in Normandy last night, May 28th, via Ferry from Portsmouth, UK. A rocky ride, here and there, but nothing compared to what our the D-day soldiers must have endured on June 6, 1944.

My dear cousin, Rachel, had arrived at our accommodation a few hours before us and set up the place with french food and wine and beer and we had the most wonderful reunion. She has been working so hard on the tour and has been our rock solid translator and invaluable team member. We could not have done this tour without her.

This morning we made our way to Bernieres-sur-Mer, where we met the Mayor Lapoitier, and his assistant Caroline, at La Salle de la Mer, where we will have 2 performances on June 3rd @ 2PM in English and 8PM in French. Everyone was so kind and welcoming, and they seem keen to see the show. This afternoon, we had the same warm welcome at OMAC in Courseulles-sur-Mer, where our first performance will take place this Saturday, June 1st in French at 8PM. We had toast with Normandy Apple juice and delicious biscuits and a reunion with Jackie Lamay, the very kind woman, who first hosted a performance of Le Cadeau de Jake back in June 2014 in Bernieres-sur-Mer for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

So Day 1 has been a fabulous start to our tour. We are now nestled back in our lodging and each of us is working away on prep for the upcoming shows. Rehearsing soon, then a long walk along Juno Beach…we are so grateful to be here.

Alberta Spring Tour

Spring sprung and it’s hard to believe we are already here at May 9th, and I have no idea where how the days are slipping away so quickly. We started our Spring tour in Nanaimo April 25 to 27 as part of Theatre ONE’s MainStage Series, and we had an incredible time. Four performances at the Malaspina Theatre, and we met so many people after the show who had generously stayed after to share their own Jake stories. It was a fabulous time, and we’re so grateful to the whole team at Theatre ONE for inviting us to be part of their Season.

After Nanaimo, we headed East to Lethbridge for a fundraiser performance on May 4th for the Lethbridge Unites Services Institute. We helped raise some funds for a beautiful Bronze statue they are having commissioned to commemorate the last gun fired in WW1, which also happened to be from Lethbridge. We had a great turn out, and a very appreciative crowd.

May 7th had us in Red Deer, Alberta, for a performance to raise money for the Red Deer Legion Pipe Band’s 2020 trip to Europe. We’ve been back to play with the RDLPB a few times over the last 4 years, and they’ve become dear friends. We dedicated the show to our dear friend and WW2 veteran, Alex MacAskill, who passed away in Nova Scotia on May 6th. Alex was a vibrant, loving and caring soul, and we are so grateful for the time we had with him. He will be missed by so many.

Tomorrow we head to Drumheller for our final Alberta show on this spring tour. Saturday, May 11th @ 8PM we’ll be performing for the AB Yukon Royal Canadian Legion Convention at Badlands Community Facility. You can find out all the details on our Where We’re Going page.

We’ll be back in Wells next week to do a Fundraiser at the Sunset Theatre on May 18th to help get us over to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. We cannot wait to be back in Normandy for such a special anniversary. Exactly 15 years since Julia first travelled to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. The very experience that inspired the creation of Jake’s Gift. We’ll be sure to update you on our adventures as they unfold.

Happy Equinox: A new season, a new website...

We are loving this first day of spring! It’s 22 degrees outside and the four feet of remaining snow is melting quickly.

Today is the day we launched our new website, which we hope you enjoy. Dirk Van Stralen has re-designed the whole site and got us into the 21st century. Our old site was no longer editable as iWeb has long since expired.

We have about 4 weeks to go before starting our Spring 2019 Tour, which will take us to Vancouver Island, Alberta and then onto Normandy, France, for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

We learned yesterday that our Touring Initiatives Grant Application was accepted by the BC Arts Council so we are extremely grateful to BCAC for their amazing support of this very special bilingual tour of Jake’s Gift. See our Touring section for full details on our shows. Have a great week and Happy Spring!

Past posts (we've just created a new interwebs-site)

AUG 29, 2018

That was an amazing experience being back at the Edmonton Fringe Festival to celebrate 10 years since our first visit to Edmonton back in August 2008. It was great to be back at La Cite in Venue 35 with the top notch Poiema Productions Team and our awesome technicians Mike and Hunter. We feel very lucky to have had the chance to head back to Edmonton, and it all happened thanks to some persuasion from our dear friend Kelly Finnegan who was with us back in 2008! Kelly worked so hard over the 2 weeks at Fringe. He flyered, postered and promoted the show like nobody’s business. We are so grateful to him. We sold out 6 of our 9 shows and had over 1500 people attend the performances. We sold 237 Button packages and raised $1124.00 to donate back to the Edmonton Garrison Military Family Resource Centre and the Edmonton Fringe Festival Artist Fund! What generous Audiences we have!

Despite having our own show every day, we managed to see shows too! Jules saw 11 shows and Dirk saw 10 shows. Each one was unique and so good. The quality of work was so impressive, and we felt very lucky to be part of such a great Festival. We can’t thank the Fringe Staff, Technicians, Artists and Volunteers enough for the incredible amount of work each person did. It was so impressive, and we were just thrilled to be back after a 5 year hiatus from the Fringe circuit. 

We are now at home for two months prepping for our fall tour, which starts October 27th, and we will also be working on The Occupation of Heather Rose, which we are thrilled to be part of in February 2019 as part of Theatre NorthWest’s 25th Anniversary Season in Prince George, BC.  

Enjoy the rest of summer, and we will be back here soon again as we have news and updates about our Fall 2018 Tour of Jake’s Gift, which will be taking us to BC and AB.

Oh and before we sign off, we got word yesterday evening from Artistic Director Del Surjik at Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon that Julia has been nominated for a SAT Award - The Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards - in the category of Outstanding Leading Performance. This from Del:

“The SAT Awards were the first professional theatre awards in Canada to remove gender from the acting categories (this is the second year in this format).  As a result, there are about twice the nominations that are 'normal' in both Leading and Supporting Performance.  Also, there are two recipients in each of those categories (still without reference to gender) so there is not a reduction in the number of awards handed out.  

Saskatoon leads the way!”

Way to go Saskatoon! #leadingtheway

AUG 17, 2018

We just love Edmonton! Can’t wait to get our shows underway today as part of the 37th International Fringe Festival. We are at the beautiful L’Uni Théatre at La Cité Francophone (Shows are all in English). We loaded in today with our amazing Tech, Michael. He was awesome. The buzz around town is just great and we are excited to see the shows of many talented friends. Come join us Edmonton! Get Your Fringe On!

AUG 10, 2018

We had a truly amazing time in Chester, Nova Scotia. We loved our time at the beautiful Chester Playhouse and everyone there was amazing and very welcoming! We had as many lobster rolls as we could handle and managed our way through the very humid and hot days and nights. Our audiences were so generous and we were able to raise $340 for the local Legion from our Button Package Sales. 

Now, we are getting laundry done and re-packing and getting ready to head to the Edmonton Fringe Festival for our 10th Anniversary Fringe Tour. It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since we first performed at the Edmonton Fringe back in August 2008. Looking forward to spending some quality time in Edmonton with some dear artists and friends. Check out the UPCOMING page for all our show dates and times in Edmonton.

Enjoy the rest of summer everyone, and thanks for checking in with our travels! #moresoonagain

AUG 1, 2018

We arrived safe and sound in Nova Scotia and now nestled in the beautiful community of Chester on the South Shore. We are so lucky to be here for the next 5 days. We open tonight at Chester Playhouse and are so excited for the run. We had a wonderful tech and run through yesterday and look forward to our 5 performances here August 1st to 4th. See Upcoming for ticket details! Have a great August everyone! 

JULY 13, 2018

Hello! We hope you are all having a wonderful summer so far. We are just 2 weeks away from our trip out East to Chester Playhouse, and we are really excited to get back to the Maritimes. It’s always such a wonderful place to visit and to share Jake’s Gift. We were first at Chester Playhouse back in November 2013 so it will be a great reunion with some wonderful people. If you have friends or family near Chester, please do tell them about the show! August 1st to 4th! 

After Nova Scotia, we head to The 37th Edmonton International Fringe Festival to celebrate 10 years since we first performed at the Edmonton Fringe back in 2008. During that year, we were a last minute replacement show, and so we were not even in the program. Luckily, a great review from Colin McLean, and the generosity of other artists telling their audiences about our show, got us some great houses and we went back a few times after that in 2010 and 2013. It will be great to be part of such a vibrant festival once again, and to visit some dear old friends. Edmonton has been really good to us over the years, and so we want to give back to the Festival by donating a portion of the Profits from our Button Sales back to the Edmonton Fringe. We will be making a donation to the Wounded Warriors as well. Our show dates and times are now listed on the Upcoming Page. We have shows between Aug 17th and 26th! Hope to see you there if you’re near Edmonton! Tickets go on sale on August 8th.

JUNE 8, 2018

Hi everyone! We hope you are well and enjoying June wherever you are in the world. We are working away prepping for our summer tours in Chester, Nova Scotia and Edmonton, Alberta. Enjoy the rest of the lovely month of June, and we will be in touch again as we get closer to our summer performance dates. Cheers!

MAY 15, 2018

After a 13 hour drive from Calgary we are finally home from our Spring Tour. We had an amazing time, and met some incredible people. A big thanks to the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation, and everyone that came out to our performances. We are home for a bit now while we tend to the winter ravaged greenhouse and prep for our summer tour. Hope to see you in Chester, Nova Scotia or Edmonton, Alberta in August! Have a wonderful May everyone, and we will be back here soon to say hi and to post any new updates. 

MAY 5, 2018 • ONE MORE SHOW IN ALBERTA

It’s hard to believe we just have one more performance in Alberta and then onto Moose Jaw for the final 2 shows of the Spring Tour. It has been a beautiful few weeks, and re-connecting with some Legion pals and starting this first venture with the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation has been a really rewarding and fulfilling experience. We are grateful.  Tomorrow we head to Brooks in prep for our Monday, May 7th 7PM performance at the Griffin Park Theatre. Tickets are $30.00 and are available at the Legion until around 2PM on Monday afternoon. After that, they will be available for purchase at the door. Doors open @ 6:30PM. Show starts at 7PM. This performance is a fundraiser for the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation. 

APRIL 17, 2018 • RED DEER, ALBERTA

After a wonderful kick off to our spring tour, we are now settled in snowy Red Deer for tonight’s performance of Jake’s Gift. This is our 3rd time at the Red Deer Legion and we are thrilled to have the Red Deer Pipe Band open the show for us, and to be our gracious hosts once again. Don’t let the snow deter you! Come and join us at the Red Deer Legion. Doors open at 6PM and the show starts at 6:45PM. Also - It’s Dirk’s birthday so much to celebrate! 

APRIL 13, 2018 • LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA

We arrived in Lethbridge last night after a very snowy drive from BC. Winter is still holding strong. We are touring Alberta this month, and of course over the past week we have been thinking so much about the terrible crash in Saskatchewan, where 16 members of the Humbolt Broncos Hockey Team lost their lives - all from the prairies. Our thoughts are with all the families and friends and of course the survivors as they come to terms with such a terrible loss. It has been very moving to see all the support the whole country and people around the world have been sending to Humbolt and the Broncos. #humboltstrong

MARCH 31, 2018 • EASTER WEEKEND

Happy Easter everyone! We hope you’re having a relaxing weekend wherever you may be. We left Wells a few days ago, and we are enjoying a fabulous long weekend with family in the beautiful Okanagan region of BC. Next week we head to Vancouver for the BC Touring Council’s annual Pacific Contact Showcasing Conference, where we will be giving a Q & A style workshop on Touring. From there we head to Lethbridge for our first show of the spring tour exactly 2 weeks today, Saturday, April 14th @ 2PM. We will be sure to update you on our adventures along the way!

MARCH 1, 2018 

The first day of March is unfolding as another  snowy day arrives in our small Cariboo town. It’s a true winter wonderland! We are certainly getting way more snow than we’ve had over the last few years so that is a great thing for our town’s water supply come spring/summer. 

We hope you’re all well and enjoying life wherever you are. Things are slowly coming together for our 2018 Tour plans. We will hit the road one month today! We will be touring Alberta in April, and just before that first show date in Lethbridge (April 14th) we head to Vancouver for the annual Pacific Contact Showcase Conference, which is the BC Touring Council’s annual performing arts conference. Jules is the Artist Representative on the BCTC Board for one more year, and it has as also been 10 years since we first showcased Jake’s Gift at Pacific Contact back in 2008. It really was that showcase that opened the Touring doors for us, and so we are looking forward to setting up in the Contact Room and connecting with some of the amazing Presenters who first hired us all those years ago. We are planning a big tour for 2019. We hope to get back to Normandy and do an extensive Cross Country Tour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Enjoy the coming month, and we will connect with you soon again!

FEBRUARY 7, 2018 

Hello from the Cariboo District of BC and very snowy Wells! We are now at 25 hours of non stop snow, and it is supposed to continue until tomorrow AM. It is beautiful, and we are loving the feeling of living in a snow globe. 

While the snow falls, in between shoveling snow and chopping wood, we have been working away at planning our 2018 Tour and have confirmed a few bookings, which are listed under the UPCOMING page above. 

We will be in Alberta this April and look forward to working with the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation on a few shows this Spring. They will be presenting their beautiful and moving Memorial Plaques to honour the Fallen of a few communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan,  and we look forward to being part of those special evenings. For more information about the Foundation visit their website www.canadianfallenheroes.com 

We will also be returning to some favourite Alberta Legions for a few performances too. 

We will post our confirmed shows as things come together. In the meantime, I will get back to shoveling all that snow, and will be in touch soon again! Have a great week. 




JANUARY 2 2018 


HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! We hope you had a lovely Holiday Season. We sure did. We arrived home today and are getting settled back in after a busy December with family and friends. Soon we will start to plan out the map of where we will be in 2018! We will update our schedule as soon as dates are confirmed, and we hope we can come and visit your community this year! All the best to you for the New Year and here’s to much Hope, Happiness and Good Health for you all in 2018 and always!



DECEMBER 19 2017


We are so grateful for all the places and people we visited and met in 2017, our 10th Anniversary Year of touring Jake’s Gift. Thanks to everyone for all your support and love this year an over the past 10 years. We appreciate your support more than you can ever know. Happy Holidays, everyone, and all the best to each of you in 2018. 


 

NOVEMBER 22 


We are unpacking and settling back in at home after finishing up a fabulous Fall Tour. Our final show was in Toronto at RCL Branch 31 Mount Dennis. It was a perfect end to a perfect year, and our dear friend and Queen’s Own Rifles D-Day Veteran, Jack Hadley, was able to attend. It was an honour to have him and his daughter-in-law, Janet, at the show - front row centre!


Thanks to everyone who hosted us this year and to everyone who came out to see the show. We never imagined we would get to 10 years of touring with this little play. Both Dirk and I are so grateful every day for the chance to share Jake’s Gift with so many people across Canada and Internationally. We feel very lucky. 


Not sure where 2018 will take us, but we hope to see you there, wherever there may be. 


All the best to each of you. Enjoy the final month of 2017!




OCTOBER 26 • LINDSAY, ONTARIO


We are continuing to have a wonderful Fall Tour, and we want to send a big THANK YOU to the fine folks at Persephone Theatre, and in Oliver, BC, who hosted us this October. We are loving this 10th Anniversary Tour and have been so grateful to our hosts and to everyone who has come out to the show. We arrived in Ontario on October 24th and are now settled in Lindsay in prep for our performance here on Saturday, October 28th. We had a great radio interview today at the Local station and hope to have a big house for the show. We will keep updating you with our latest news as we can. A new bit of info to share is that we are now approaching $45,000.00 in total donations we’ve made to local Legions with our Jake’s Gift Button Sale profit Donations! We have such generous audiences. 


OCTOBER 5 • FIRST WEEK IN SASKATOON AT PERSEPHONE THEATRE!

After a fabulous 3 weeks in Prince George, we are now in the heart of the Prairies at the beautiful Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon! We opened a few nights ago and have had 3 performances so far. The response has been just fabulous and we are really looking forward to being here for the next 10 days!


When you use the code HOME INSTEAD to buy tickets for the show, Greg and Karen Charyna, who own and operate Home Instead Seniors’ Care here in Saskatoon, will donate $5.00 per ticket sold to a local Veterans group up to $3000.00. A very generous gift indeed! 


We are here until Oct 15th so please come out and see us at the Backstage Stage. Ticket info. and showtimes are under the UPCOMING tab!