SOAP Theatre wins awards


















SOAP Theatre took their spring show, Since You Left Us to the 2017 Okanagan Zone (O-Zone) Festival in Salmon Arm this year.  And now Since You Left Us is officially an award-winning play!

According to the organizers in Salmon Arm, the Festival was successful beyond expectations – attendance at the seven performances averaged 81% of capacity, including three sold out shows. More than 200 people came to Salmon Arm from Princeton, Oliver, Kelowna, Vernon and Armstrong to participate in the Festival.
One of the highlights of the Festival from the participants perspective was the “Coffee Critiques” conducted the morning after each performance by Festival Adjudicator James Fagan Tait. The sessions, open to Festival audiences, were full of positive energy as Tait explored details of each production with the directors, actors, designers and stage managers who presented the plays.

The SOAP Theatre cast and crew had a terrific time!  Since You Left Us was very well received by audience and adjudicator, and  took home FOUR AWARDS at the awards banquet on Saturday May 27. They include:

Runner Up To Best Production: Only two productions win an award: first place, which goes on to compete at the provincial Mainstage Festival, and runner-up. For only a second showing at the O-Zone, and competing against many seasoned troupes from Vernon the Shuswap, and Kelowna, this is a tremendous achievement. SOAP Theatre edged out several serious contenders.

Best Newcomer: This award is presented to an actor in their first appearance onstage. Valerie Heathman, who played sexy grandma Dolly, won the award hands down for her terrific performance.

Best Sound Design: Trevor Leigh’s sound design skills were rewarded with this trophy. He also directed the production.

Backstage Cooperation Award: Members of SOAP Theatre know that there is no show if the teamwork between cast and crew is lacking. The troupe has a history of making the camaraderie between onstage and backstage their first priority, always. The most frequent acknowledgement from cast to crew? “We’re a well-oiled machine folks!”

Congratulations to Trevor Leigh and his creative team, the cast and crew and everyone whose hard work made this possible.  Next year’s Okanagan Zone Festival entry will be Outside Mullingar, directed by Tom Szalay. Polish up your Irish accents for this one! Visit SOAP Theatre’s website at to keep up-to-date on auditions and productions.

Front row:  Diane Gludovatz, Valerie Heathman, Aimee Grice

Rear:  Nathan Linders, Tom Szalay, Jeff Smith, Trevor Leigh

Not present for the photo:  Louise Szalay, Christine Rothwell, Brian Hesje, and Jenn MacNeil.  Many others worked hard so this lucky eleven could attend in Salmon Arm and blow them all away.

Great songs with Sons of the Pioneers

The legendary Sons of the Pioneers will be appearing in concert at 7PM on Saturday June 24, 2017 at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver.

The Sons of the Pioneers are synonymous with the ultimate in Cowboy music.  For decades the premier western singing group has musically painted unforgettable images and stories of horses, cattle, cowboys, “night herds”, tall timber, cool water, canyons and prairies.  Their original songs like “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, “Cool Water” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” are classics forever entwined into the lore and mystique of the American West.  Both “Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water” have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

First started by Roy Rogers and the gifted songwriters Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer the group garnered national and international fans through appearances  in almost 100 western films during the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.  Numerous albums were recorded under contracts with Decca, Columbia, RCA and others.  The group provided songs for several John Ford westerns including the soundtrack for “The Searchers” starring John Wayne.  When television came along they regularly appeared on the Roy Rogers Show and had guest appearances on such programs as the Barbara Mandrell Show.   Walt Disney called upon the Pioneers to supply the soundtrack for the film “Pecos Bill”. They were the first cowboy musical group to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first to headline in Las Vegas casinos.

The Pioneers are known around the world for their unique three and four part harmonies.  According to their “trail boss”, Tommy Nallie who joined the group in the 1980’s,  “We are honored to be returning to Canada.  We had western Canadian tours in 2015, in 2016 and we were parade marshalls for the Calgary Stampede in the 1990’s.” Nallie said , “Every concert is pure Cowboy music packed with our timeless hits, solid western swing and a good measure of comedy and banter.  Each of the five members share the vocals and instrumentals.”   Part of the hallmark sound comes from acoustic fiddles, mandolin, upright bass, and lead and rhythm guitars.

Oliver tickets are available through or by phone 1-250-498-1626.  There is limited seating so we encourage everyone to get their tickets early.”


Audition for murder mystery

Dates have been set for open auditions for SOAP Theatre’s fall production of The Game’s Afoot (or Holmes for the Holidays) by Ken Ludwig.

Ted Osborne has agreed to direct this play which was named the “Best Mystery Play of 2012” by The Mystery Writers of America.

The Game’s Afoot (or Holmes for The Holidays) is a fast-paced ensemble piece filled with great roles, and keeps everyone guessing “who done it?” right up the very end of the show, says the veteran SOAP director. Patrons will likely remember the non-stop laughter when SOAP presented Lend Me A Tenor, also by Ludwig.

It’s December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry.

But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears.

The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit set during the Christmas holidays.

Anyone interested in acting is welcome to the auditions which will be held over two days. The first session takes place on Thursday, June 8 in Room 1 of the Sonora Community Centre in Osoyoos starting at 6:30 pm.  For a second night,  Sunday, June 11 at 6:30 pm. come to the Big Blue Building at Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, 5840 Airport Road in Oliver.

Osborne will need to cast eight characters for this farce which is built around the historical character of Gillette. Three male and five female actors will be required, ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-70s.. The roles are as follows:

William Gillette (early 50s): Eccentric yet lovable, actor extraordinaire.

Martha Gillette (mid-70s): Always a mother, Martha lives with William in his Connecticut castle.

Felix Geisel: (mid 40s) Member of William’s theatre ensemble, friend since childhood.

Madge Geisel: (mid 40s): Wife of Felix and also a member of the ensemble.

Simon Bright: (mid 20s): Sometimes naïve but always earnest member of the ensemble.

Aggie Wheeler: (mid-20s): A sweet, lovable and adoring member of the cast.

Inspector Goring: (40-50): Local police officer, she is sometimes addled but known for closing cases.

Daria Chase: (early 50s): The most unexpected guest, Daria is a local critic who never stops.

The producers will also be looking for people interested in working behind the scenes.

Four shows are planned at Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver on Nov. 2, 3 and 4. Some rehearsals may be called during the summer period.

The Game’s Afoot will be the first in a series of three productions planned for next season. The current season ended with a performance of Since You Left Us at the Okanagan Zone Drama Festival in Salmon Arm on May 25. A review of the past season and discussion on the plans for the next season will be on the agenda when the South Okanagan Amateur Players Society hold its annual general meeting on June 22 at Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Meeting time is 7 pm but will be preceded by a pot luck dinner at 6 pm.

More information on SOAP Players activities can be found at or by e-mailing info @

Art – hot off the “press”

SOSS teacher Lindsey McVicar encourages the community to come out and view the work of her fine arts students. It’s always exciting to see fresh youthful ideas! Visit the library on Wednesday May 24. Refreshments provided by the Friends of the Oliver Library.

Take the opportunity to speak to Lindsey about the “Artist in Residence” program at SOSS. She is already planning her roster of visiting artists for next year. All media welcome! Spend a few days sharing your process and artwork with some curious minds. Space for you to work and exhibit on site. Pottery kiln and tools are available for your use as well. This is a great opportunity to connect young artists to the arts community around them. Be an inspiration!


Wine Capital Art Walk begins

It may only last an evening, but it is the vision of downtown Oliver that artists would like to see 365 days a year. The Wine Capital Art Walk converts the 6200 block of Main Street into a feast for the senses on Thursday May 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. A dozen businesses host two dozen artists in a variety of visual and performance media. Wine barrels come to colourful life on the Mesa Hotel lot, under the creative hands of several artists. Children from Sen Pok Chin proudly display their mural and join other youthful artists to paint the town – or at least its sidewalks.  Wine tastings and restaurant fare tempt the palate. All the excitement culminates at Medici’s Gelateria at 8:30 p.m. when winners of several draws are announced.

Art Walk organizers, a partnership between the Oliver Community Arts Council and the Oliver Tourism Association, want to help revitalize the downtown with their creative energy. “We know Oliver is a hub of artistic talent,” says Penelope Johnson of the arts council. “This is our dream of what could eventually become a typical evening in Oliver.” Tony Munday, OTA chair, agrees: “Our aim is to inspire residents and visitors: This event is a celebration of everything that makes Oliver a unique place to live and visit.”

In anticipation of the art walk, several artists will begin wine barrel painting on Monday May 8 and continue daily between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lot between Amore’s Pizza and OK Photo Lab. Visitors to the downtown are invited to stroll through to view the barrels in progress, chat with the artists, and place “silent” bids each day. The finished barrels, which make attractive show pieces for gardens, patios, and homes, will be auctioned off at the conclusion of Thursday’s Art Walk. Minimum bid: $150. Marion Trimble, co-ordinating the wine barrel event, adds, “On May 11, we will have demonstrations by chainsaw carver Mary Kay Crawford on site.” Trimble also invites donations to Highway 2 Healing that evening: “The Main Street event is on the highway after all.” H2H volunteers will sell wine glasses and T-shirts.

Under the guidance of Arty Smarty teacher, Leza Macdonald, a group of elementary school children will be adding vibrant colours to the Town Hall rose garden. They will transform the drab sidewalks between the beds into a rainbow of chalk drawings. Sen Pok Chin students will display a mural created with their instructor, celebrated Cree artist Jerry Whitehead.

Each participating business between Fairview and Bank will host two artists. Media including photography, jewelry, wood carving, dance, encaustic (wax), fibre arts, paintings, quilts, digital art, poetry will be on display and for sale. Visit with all the artists on site. Three businesses are licensed to serve wine tastings: OK Photo Lab, Beyond Bliss Esthetics, and Baguette and Brioche, courtesy of the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association (OOWA). To satisfy serious appetites, Gecko’s Grill, Amore’s Pizza, and Medici’s Gelateria will be open.

For a chance to win prizes, pick up an Art Walk passport, available now at any of the participating businesses on the 6200 block of Main Street between Fairview and Bank or at the wine barrel painting site. During the Thursday Art Walk, passports will also be available at the welcome table on the grounds of the Town Office. Take it with you as you visit each business to view art and do a little evening shopping. Have your passport stamped at each shop before you leave, then submit your passport to be entered in a draw for a gift basket.

Country rock duo Rebel Luv will pump out the tunes from the steps of the Town Hall starting at 6 p.m. Visit the welcome table on the municipal office grounds, not only to pick up an Art Walk passport, but also to learn about upcoming arts events. Sign up on site for the Canada 150 Mosaic Mural Project: choose a one-hour slot between May 30 and June 1 to paint your tile in a large mosaic artwork to be installed in the downtown later this year.

After the downtown closes at 8 p.m. a Wine’d Up Party continues at Medici’s Gelateria. Sip a latte and view an exhibit of artwork by the Oliver Sagebrushers while you wait for several winners to be announced. One lucky Art Walk passport holder will win a gift basket of art and wine. Winners of the wine barrel silent auction can roll on home with their prizes. The Uncork the Sun (OOWA) colouring contest winner will also be revealed, with a wine fridge as prize. A highly anticipated draw for a Robert E Wood painting, to benefit the new piano in the Venables Theatre atrium, will also be announced. Artwork co-ordinator Tara Hovanes sums it up best however: “When we join in the celebration of Oliver’s artistic talents, we’re all winners.”


Spring drive to gallery!

Paw Prints Studio & Gallery – The Art of John Salsnek

Invites you to Visit! Browse! Enjoy! Collect!

Season Opening Weekend – May 20, 21, 22 10am-7pm

Originals, Limited Editions and more. Custom framing by Athena Custom Framing, Kelowna 250-765-9627.

Just one of many specials! 2017 Collector’s Thank you… collect your favourite Limited Edition Print and choose a 2nd for only $17.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Stephanie Salsnek
Gallery Manager
Paw Prints Studio & Gallery – The Art of John Salsnek
Spring hours – weekends 10-7pm, weekdays by appointment
Visit! Browse! Enjoy! Collect!
212 Carr Crescent, Willowbrook Valley
Oliver, BC, V0H 1T5



Quilt Show Winners!

The votes have been tallied for this year’s Quilt Show.  Best in Show was Nancy Eichel for her quilt Double Vision:

Cindy Hannah won the Out of the Blue quilt challenge. As the winner, she will come up with the challenge for the next Quilt show here in Oliver, in 3 years time!

And Viewers Choice was The Story Quilt by Lynda Brown (below are front and back views of this quilt):

Your Friday Night

by David Badger

WE’RE BACK Friday Night Live on April 28th! After a 4 week lay-off the music is burstin’ at the seams to get out….We only have so many seats n the place! Be there at 7:00 on the nose to get one….

The great Richard Knox is back…..phew…a last. Two of our most talented artists have returned from wintering in the Hamptons..hint hint.

The very talented Sean Petersen blessed our stage last time out with band member Milan filling in the bottom end. Our star-studded line-up featured Rolly and the Itty Bitty Jam Band, Trevor, Bluesman Don trio (only 2), Mountainview Drive, Rod humming badly in the corner, Marcel and his much prettier daughter Jazz, a DBT wannabe, two very Wildly Organic Humans, the great vocalist Larry Green, Tom and his lightning guitar….and of course our masterful master of ceremonies Marcel…who ate a Nacho.
Sooo the stage truly is ablaze with great talent. Lean and Rod Parrent are holding court at the big Community table. Where the hell is cowboy Shane.

Come kick the doors down with your own vibe. We are gonna be packed. The music is gonna blow the doors off. The beer is cold and the music IS of course always sooooo HOT! We crank it up shortly after 7:00….all we need is you! Bring your music!! Bring your fun!! Bring your mum. Get in here!!

We are licensed. We have beer, wine, coffees with a kick and our usual great gelato and snacks, sweet treats. Medici’s this Friday,April 28th at 7:00 PM. 522 Fairview Road. 250-498-2228.

Youth stars to shine

Although a small town, Oliver knows how to grow big talent, if local youth are anything to go by. Young singers, pianists, artists, photographers, dancers and multi-instrumentalists all get their start under the tutelage of stellar local teachers.  On the evening of Wednesday May 3, some of Oliver’s classiest musicians take centre stage at Showcase of Talent in the Venables Theatre lobby. Music students will perform selections from recent Kiwanis Festival competitions, highlights from musical theatre, and recital pieces from their studies.  Their repertoire is wide-ranging: blues, jazz, and pop, as well as classical. All performers will be acknowledged with bursaries to assist with their music education. Many Showcase “graduates” have continued performing as adults, even professionally. Meet the performers at the reception following:  autographs are welcome!

The rotunda venue allows the students to play the new Petrof grand piano, a memorial to local music teacher Agnes Sutherland. The intimate setting also creates a mellow, bell-like acoustics, with the sound filling the space and floating to the mezzanine above.  An added bonus at this season is the views from the rotunda windows, adding visual beauty to the beautiful sound.

Showcase of Talent begins at 7:00 p.m. Admission is by donation. Refreshments will be served.

Showcase of Talent is sponsored by Oliver Kiwanis, and presented by the Oliver Community Arts Council.

File photo: 14-year old Kelan Harty plays the Petrof Grand in the rotunda of the Venables Theatre, January 28, 2017