Beaver Dreams puppet show gnaws at Nanaimo Fringe Festival

Beaver Dreams runs from Aug. 11-19 at the conference centre

Beaver Dreams runs at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre from Aug. 11-19. (Photo submitted)

Maggie Winston remembers spending her summers at the family cottage on a lake in Laurentians in Quebec.

She also remembers her family having to deal with the year-round neighbours – a bunch of determined beavers.

“Over the years of having our cottage we’ve had this ongoing battle with the beavers to just maintain the level of the lake,” Winston said. “We would have to break the beaver dams about once in a week in the summer so that the water levels go down so we can access the our dock.”

It didn’t matter how many times the family would knock down the dams, the beavers would build it right back up. It was a cycle that has continued for as long as Winston can recall.

“The beaver would build up the dam again and the water levels would rise again,” she said.

Her family’s constant struggle with the beavers at their Quebec cottage over the years has become the basis for an award-winning puppet show created by Winston called Beaver Dreams, part of the Nanaimo Fringe Festival.

Beaver Dreams tells the story about the history of beavers and how human development has threatened their natural way of living in Laurentians by combining physical comedy, puppetry, animation and storytelling into a 30-minute show and is performed by Winston and Mika Laulainen.

“It’s really like a family show,” Winston said. “It basically tells the history of this specific place, but from the beaver’s perspective. There is hardly any dialogue in it, it is mostly physical theatre, puppetry and sound design.”

Winston was born in the United States and grew up in Baltimore, but has lived in Canada for nearly a decade. She said summers in Maryland are very humid and heading to their Quebec cottage was an annual tradition for her family.

Although Beaver Dreams, which has won two Montreal Fringe Festival awards, is not an educational show, Winston said some people learn a thing or two about beavers from the production.

“Some people don’t really know what they do and how they live and this show kind of gives them a glimpse into that but a very comical, silly, imaginative way,” she said.

Beaver Dreams runs at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre from Aug. 11-19. Tickets $12. Show times vary.

For more information and tickets, visit

Just Posted

Vehicles crash at Mary Ellen Drive intersection

One vehicle was towed after a car crash in the north end of the city on a rainy Sunday night

VIDEO: Campaign begins to keep Nanaimo Recycling Exchange open

Lease for recycling exchange on Kenworth Road site expires in March

Woman accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture compliments an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

Most Read