A regional Christmas tradition heavy with local talent is returning for its 12th year.
The Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular is happening at the Port Theatre from Dec. 18 to 23, with eight shows taking place during that period. The dates wrap up a series of shows at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay and Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse.
Producer and director Katy Bowen-Roberts said the event will feature tributes to Michael Jackson, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Rat Pack. New for this year is a classical music piece complemented with singing and ballet.
“Again, it’s another random mix of music all tied together with readings and some Christmas music of course and a sing-along for the audience,” she said.
Bowen-Roberts said this year has seen an increase in local performers and production team members. She said more than half of those involved are either from or living in the Nanaimo area.
Among the local performers is soprano Cate Richardson, who grew up in Nanaimo but now lives in Vancouver. She’s returning for her fifth Christmas spectacular after taking last year off. She said it’s the audiences that brought her back.
“It’s pretty thrilling to perform for sold out audiences at the Port Theatre and at the McPherson and Sid Williams, these beautiful, grand theatres, and the production and quality is just so over-the-top, really,” she said. “There’s glitter and sequins and the band is playing these beautiful, rich arrangements … It always just calls me back because there’s something really exciting about the show and then the audience just loves it.”
Getting her first taste of those over-the-top shows is local dancer Nicola Jackson. Originally hailing from England, Jackson has danced all over Europe and on cruise ships in the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. Jackson choreographed the Canada 150 production Blackstones and Bathtubs last summer and recently performed in Crimson Coast’s Infringing festival.
Although this is her first time in the Christmas spectacular, Jackson has been in the audience a number of times and she said she’s excited to make the move to the stage. She said that excitement is increasing as showtime nears.
“You get the costumes, the lights, the live band – it’s such an adrenaline rush,” she said. “It’s my passion. I love to dance and perform so [I’m] mainly excited and to be doing something at the Christmas holiday season just makes it even more joyful.”
WHAT’S ON … The 12th annual Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular comes to the Port Theatre from Dec. 18 to 22 at 7 p.m. and from Dec. 21 to 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $38 for students and $41 for groups of 10 or more.