What do we do when the costumes come off?
It’s hard to believe we have already reached mid-season in Barkerville. We are half-way through July, which means we have come through the rehearsal period of early May and the school program of mid-May and early June. We have changed gears into our main season programming. We have seen the successful completion of many of our start-of-season traditional events like Victoria Day, the Theatre Royal Opening Gala, and Dominion Day. We are up and running.
Now, finally, we are at that place where we can relax and really start to enjoy our supernatural location, and our brimming-with-arts community. Summers spent in Barkerville and Wells are full of hard work, but also some damn hard playtime. At the end of a long day in Barkerville we strip off the wool trousers and hoop skirts and bustles and corsets and petticoats and hats and boots, put on our “civvies,” and are met with a crazy array of opportunities to fill our leisure time.
I started working in Barkerville in my mid-twenties, and when I reflect back on those early seasons it is a blur of arts events and nature outings and social life. I currently have a few more responsibilities that challenge my freedom to leave the house (yep, kids) but I still try to take advantage of the spectacular amount of stuff to do in our community.
The Barkerville area is rich with staggering natural beauty. Hiking, canoeing, fishing, mountain biking – these are a big part of our time off. And then there is the arts scene.
Wells and Barkerville are very arts-rich places all year long, but in the tourist season this revs up to a boast-worthy level. On any given evening we might stay in Barkerville after our shift for a dinner at the heavenly Lung Duck Tong restaurant or the amazing Wake Up Jake. On Saturday nights we might attend the 1940s-themed “live” radio show at the Theatre Royal. If we are in Wells in the evening we may attend a theatre show or concert or cabaret at the Sunset Theatre preceded or followed by a meal at one of the excellent local eating establishments where there may be live music or a book reading or guest speaker. On the BC Day long weekend we pull out all the stops for the Island Mountain Arts ArtsWells Festival, a mind-blowing multi-day event with venues in both Wells and Barkerville.
Barkerville performers often use evenings or days away from work to collaborate on other theatre or music projects, or to perform concerts, or to just get together and jam. During an average summer season there are numerous coffee houses, art openings, dances, and other events resulting in there being something to do every single night of the week.
Of course, we Barkervillians also find plenty of time for barbeques, potlucks, and good old fashioned sitting around a campfire or at the pub talking about this crazy job in this unique place, and how lucky we all are to find ourselves here.
– Danette Boucher
The above one-panel cartoon by Dirk Van Stralen, with accompanying editorial by Danette Boucher, is the ninth of twenty weekly entries that will be logged – and subsequently blogged – as part of a 2013 collaboration between Barkerville, British Columbia and The Prince George Citizen aimed at introducing some of the quirkier advantages to living, working, and playing in the Cariboo Goldfields. We hope you enjoy!