Thursday, January 22, 2015

Our website for our new video project is now active with a few videos linked to my Vimeo channel.
Have a look and sign in as a follower.

Hope you enjoy it.

About to hit the road for the US Southwest with more visits to goldrush opera houses so stay tuned for catching up on this blog.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory update

The Thomas Hardy tree at St. Pancras church, London, England. Richard Wright photo.

What is the connection between the famous Thomas Hardy tree in London, England, the Theatre Royal and Barkerville?

The answer is in "Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory".
The answer is why we want this project to come to completion.

Why is this important to Cariboo folks or Barkerville friends someone asked? Well, if you work or live in this area the Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville are important economic drivers for you. This project will build connections between the people of the "Back Story" areas, such as Tombstone, and the Cariboo. It will bring more people to our area. When the Tombstone Epitaph asks me to write the story of Van Houten and Stilwell (as they have) it turns research into marketing. When someone in London finds the connection to Barkerville they plan a visit.
Support from locals will make this happen.
Sharing will spread the word.
For the price of a couple of lattes you can be a contributor.

Go to: 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Newman & Wright have embarked on a new project.
Read the information below and go to:

Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory

When we began to shoot this story Amy heard me speak about
 Col. John Van Houten at Brunkow mine, near Tombstone Arizona:
“You know,  it matters. It matters that we come to this place and pay some kind of homage to this Barkervillian, to Colonel John Van Houten who had his face bashed in, until he was dead - by Frank Stillwell.

"It matters because no one in Barkerville even knows his name. He was one of us. He was one of the miners in Barkerville … and we don’t even know his name.
This is where he died, right here. John Van Houten, a Barkerville miner.”

"We have to shoot that," she said. "You have to say it again."

Help us remember these pioneers lives.

Support this campaign.


Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory is a series of short videos telling the back stories, the hidden stories, the later stories, of the men and women who made the British Columbia Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville such a significant part of their lives.

We know the men and women who were here on Williams Creek, but where did they come from? Who were they? Where did they go? Their stories did not begin or end here in Cariboo and unearthing their full story makes their life and our understanding of them more complete.

Who knew that Cariboo's Doc Keithley of the famed Keithley Creek later ran for mayor in Deadwood in the Black Hills? Who knew that Capt Jack Crawford, a former partner of Buffalo Bill Cody lived in Barkerville for a year and wrote poems about the people of this place? Cariboo miner Col. John Van Houten was murdered in Tombstone by Wyatt Earp's nemesis Frank Stillwell and mill owner and Cariboo miner John Adams shot a constable in Tombstone?

These stories and more are the basis of the Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory project.

Richard Wright and Amy Newman
have been telling the stories of British Columbia's Cariboo gold rush for decades. As Newman & Wright Theatre Company they have been operating Barkerville's Theatre Royal for 11 years. Here they have written, acted and produced 25 different shows about this time and place.
As an author and historian Richard has written 23 books, most of these on the history of the Cariboo. He has filmed 14 shows for CBC on a variety of subjects and has worked on several films shot in the Cariboo. He excels at bringing history alive. One of his projects was to bring back camels to Barkerville - after 150 years. He operates Winter Quarters Productions.

As an artistic director, actor, writer, costumer and performer Amy has developed a deep understanding of the people and the culture of the time. Her stage work is remarkable in its authenticity.

Together, their gold rush knowledge is seldom equaled.
Now they are combining their skills to film and produce Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory -  short videos telling the hidden stories of the men and women who made the gold rush part of their lives, as Richard and Amy have done.

What We Need & What You Get

This funding will allow us to complete two pilot films of 5-10 minutes. Examples are:

The story of Cariboo miner Col. John Van Houten who was murdered in Tombstone, Arizona by an enemy of Wyatt Earp - who then avenged his death.

The story of  Barkerville miner John Adams who shot and killed a constable in Tombstone and was sentenced to years in Yuma State Prison, Arizona.

The story of Scot Jessie Heatherington, a vigilante's wife - murdered in Richfield, B.C. in 1862.

The pilot videoing is 80% complete. We need funds to finish the video, hire an editor and lay down music tracks.

This will cost $2500.

We will then be in a position to begin fundraising for another 10 episodes, the website and further production. These next 10 will include stories of Barkervillians and the Overlanders of 1862, who crossed Canada to the gold fields.

These films and project will have their own Website; a Vimeo channel, a Facebook presence, and, be available on DVDs to promote Barkerville and its people.

If we do not raise the entire amount we will use the amount raised to move the editing and pilots forward toward production. Should we raise more than the campaign amount the funds will go toward the next full production phases, estimated at $20,000.

The Impact
Your funding and support will make this project possible.

For those interested in this important part of Canadian history these short videos will tell more of the Canadian story and give a deeper understanding of the people and  their time.

Having produced 11 years of theater in declining economic time; having written and published 23 books; and having filmed 14 half-hour films for CBC in the past, the proponents have a solid track record.

Your financial support will make this happen.

Risks & Challenges
The risks are few, the challenges surmountable.

The research is complete. The stories unearthed.

The major challenge is funding in a depressed heritage economy. This is where you can help. Dollars and support will make this happen.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you cannot contribute you can still help by passing the word to those who can. Make some noise for us!

Indiegogo has share tools.

Or, perhaps you or your business can offer in-kind support or services from fuel to film (digital!), from web design to editing.

And, we are looking for potential corporate sponsors episodes.

If you have an idea drop us a comment.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Boardwalk Barking - Theatre Royal, Barkerville

Newman & Wright at Theatre Royal, Barkerville

This video shows the Theatre Royal, Barkerville, boardwalk barking. Everyday [except Thursday] at 12:45 p.m. the Lafont & Ward Theatrical Troupe present a preview of our show. Many folks photograph and video the boardwalk show we we decided to make our own version.
The video is reduced to web resolution at 12 frames, not 30. For a better version try our Facebook page: Theatre Royal, Barkerville.  Then Share and Like.

Left to right: Miss Rose - Box Office Manager, (Windsong Whitehead); Miss Lily Lafont (Amy Newman); Ella Montez (Alison Jenkins); Tom Lafont (Don Nelson); Ned Ward (Graeme Thompson). Missing is Jim Hodgkinson our Musical Director and pianist. FOH Stan Hack makes just a brief appearance on the right.
For bios on the actors and a schedule of our shows see the PDF of our program on our webstie home page.
Hope to see you at the shows.

Credits: Video - Richard T. Wright
Produced by Newman & Wright Theatre Co.
Copyright: Richard T. Wright 2013

For video and camera details v
isit my blog:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Revisiting the story of Col. John Van Houten

Amy Newman at Brunkow cabin were Van Houten was murdered by Frank Stillwell.
A couple of years ago we wrote an article on Barkerville miner Col. John Van Houten, a failed Victoria merchant who found himself trying to make good in the silver fields of Arizona, around Tombstone.  He was murdered here by Frank Stillwell at a place referred to as the "Brunkow Cabin and Mine." Wyatt Earp, perhaps unknowingly, avenged Van Houten when he killed Frank Stillwell at Tucson a few years later.
This spring Amy and I found the site and revisited Van Houten's grave. I have written about this on my blog. Google's blogger will not allow reposting of blogs in an effort to avoid plagarism, so I cannot repost the article here. The story of this visit is at my blog:
If you are interested in another story about Barkerville miners backstory you will enjoy this ongoing research tale.

The grave of Col. John Van Houten in Boothill Cemetery, Tombstone Arizona.

Please join up as a follower.

Copyright 2013 Richard T. Wright

Monday, December 10, 2012

Casting for 2013

Newman & Wright at Theatre Royal in Barkerville is now casting for our 2013 season. At this point we are looking for one male performer for sure, perhaps more performers and crew. If you are interested, or know someone who is, go to our website for information and email addresses and let us know.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Blog at

Check out a new posting at