Kirkwood Academy presents The Nutcracker at the Port Theatre on Nov. 22 and 23. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy presents 20th production of ‘The Nutcracker’

More than 150 dancers of all ages to participate in classic Christmas ballet Nov. 22-23

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy is staging a Christmas classic for the 20th time, and co-director Bev Martyn said while some things have changed, others have stayed the same.

On Nov. 22 the local dance studio presents Tchaikovsky’s 1892 ballet The Nutcracker at the Port Theatre. It tells the story of Clara, a young girl who at Christmas goes on an adventure when she is gifted a magic nutcracker by her godfather, Drosselmeyer.

Kirkwood is Martyn’s family’s business and she’s been a part of every Nutcracker performance since they started staging the ballet in 1988. Her first role was as a reindeer, but she’s been on the production side since 2008.

“I’ve always been involved in the background helping my dad paint the scenery and my mom [with] choreography so it was a natural transition to be this role that I’m taking on now,” Martyn said. “It’s been a lot of fun and you don’t realize what you’ve learned along the way.”

Kirkwood’s Nutcracker has become “much grander” over the years, Martyn said, going from a 50-cast member miniature version of the ballet in its first year to a production now numbering more than 150 people from age four to “grandparent age.”

She said there are about two dozen adults in the ballet, many of whom will be joined onstage by their own children.

“A lot of those parents coming back are actually ex-dancers, so that’s been really neat. Two of them were once Clara, who is the main role, and so that’s been lovely to have them back involved,” Martyn said. “And other kids have just grown through the roles, starting as buffoons and going up to principal roles now.”

This year the part of Clara is shared by 10-year-old Lilika Kovacs and 12-year-old Naiah Kulla, who have both been dancing for the past six years. They’ve been a part of past Nutcrackers but this is their first time in the lead role.

“It was hard at first to memorize everything but it’s so much fun when the whole production starts coming together,” Kulla said.

“I’m sort of both nervous and excited,” added Kovacs.

New to the production entirely is Doug Roszmann, who plays Drosselmeyer. He’s never worked with a dance company before as his background is in drama, but he said it was a challenge he always wanted to take on.

“It’s been really exciting,” he said. “I mean, the skill level these kids bring is really quite remarkable.”

While Kirkwood’s Nutcracker production has grown and changed over time, Martyn said there continues to be a connection to the past. She said the scenery she painted with her father has stood the test of time.

“We’ve added to it but he was a scene painter in South Africa so he when he first came to Canada he painted these beautiful sets that we still use,” she said. “So that’s a neat part that’s stayed with it.”

WHAT’S ON … Kirkwood Academy presents The Nutcracker at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 23 at 2 and 7 p.m. $30 General admission, $25 for students, $18 for children under 12, $25 each for groups of 10 or more. Available at the box office.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo doctors asking for donations of masks and gloves during COVID-19 fight

Nanaimo Division of Family Practice co-ordinating efforts to collect supplies

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: COVID-19 symptoms must be taken seriously

Plausible pandemic scenarios could prove catastrophic for community, says letter writer

Nanaimo MLA part of historic near-empty legislative sitting that passed COVID-19 measures

A dozen MLAs alter Employment Standards Act, approve $5-billion spending package

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Food program available for Nanaimo youths during COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo Youth Services Association offering food initiative on Thursdays

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam, cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo hospital staff say lives depend on stopping spread of COVID-19

President of medical staff association, chief of staff at NRGH asking for community’s best efforts

RCMP, prime minister warn of text scam related to COVID-19 relief

Text message alerts about $,1375.50 deposits should be ignored or deleted, Nanaimo RCMP say

Home-schooling about to become the rule, not the exception, in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Suspension of in-class instruction to take effect in Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district March 30

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Most Read