Showcase of locals avoids the ‘B word’

The talent of many local artists is hitting the stage at the Cleland Theatre Feb. 21 as part of the Children's Showcase.

Showcase of locals avoids the 'B word'

Penticton has a wealth of local talent, and many local celebrities are taking the stage to inspire kids to avoid using the “B word” in the latest show being put on by Children’s Showcase.

“There’s no shortage of things to do. So what we wrote into the show was ‘the B word.’ Bored,” said Jake Evans, local hip-hop dance instructor who’s son, Damien, is the main character in the Big Fish Variety Show which takes place at the Cleland Theatre Feb. 21.

Damien plays himself, a typical eight-year-old Penticton kid, as the main character  who finds himself bored at home playing video games.

“There’s nothing wrong with games, but that doesn’t always have to be the only option. There’s music, there’s dance, there’s sports,” Jake said.

A cast of local character take Damien on a journey through the local arts community, showing him just how much there is to do after putting down the iPad.

Music, dancing, magic and much more is in store.

“It’s not all the local talent in town, it’s some, and it just goes to show that there’s even more,” Jake said.

Jake and Damien will also throw down some hip-hop dancing skills during the show, something the two are used to performing having released a hip-hop dance kids book in the past and performing in Jake’s troupe JEDI (Jake Evans Dance Instruction).

The Princess Margaret Secondary senior jazz band is set to act as the house band for the show, with students showing off some of their hidden talents.

Staving off boredom is a theme that rings true with Maggie senior and band member Matthew Mackay, who plays a neighbour who helps Damien discover all the things to do in Penticton.

“I remember for most of my life I felt really bored, I played video games, I just sat around and didn’t get around to doing that much. But in the last few years I’ve really picked up music and volunteering and all these things that I didn’t realize were actually there until I went out looking for them,” Mackay said.

Former Maggie grad Kadin Bergen will also help expose Damien to the wonderful world of the arts. He currently volunteers teaching music at Princess Margaret and will be performing a few musical pieces.

He remembers going to Children’s Showcase shows fondly.

“As a kid I remember my mom always taking me to Children’s Showcase shows. I still remember them super clearly because they were some of the coolest parts of my childhood, so it’s fun to be able to be that person now,” Bergen said.

While the show is aimed at getting kids off the couch, Bergen feels the message can apply to anyone.

“There’s music, dance, drama and visual arts. I think everyone owes it to themselves to get into the arts at some point just because it’s such a cool, unique experience you can’t really get anywhere else,”

Maggie band teacher Don Grant came up with the concept after chatting with Children’s Showcase organizers about featuring local talent on the showcase stage.

“A lot of the kids in there have a lot of other talents,” Grant said. “I just draw from that group of kids to make it a real variety show.”

“When you’re dealing with high school-age, teenage kids there’s usually a lot of variety and this year is certainly no exception.”

Grant said the variety format is a good fit for children, having played band concerts at elementary schools for years. Unicycles, skipping ropes, gymnastics and much more will take centre stage at some point in the show, and local percussionist Mike Treadway will be performing in a variety of capacities including music, magic and what has been described as the “circus” part of the show.

“Younger kids don’t want to sit and watch the same kind of thing for 45 minutes. They want variety,” Grant said.

Tickets are $12 at the door and are also available in advance at the Tumbleweed Gallery and the Oliver Veterinary Hosptial. For more information contact Jacinta Ferrari at 250-493-0475.