Thursday, November 26, 2009

Looking for Louie: L.A. Blanc from Barkerville, B.B.

L. A. Blanc, photographer, last seen in
Barkerville, B.C. still missing.

“Tis a Grand (Christmas) Adventure is moving along nicely. We already have reservations for performances and the Wells Hotel has told us they are offering 10% off rooms that weekend, and, they are having a big Christmas dinner on December 12th. The Pooley Street Café, by the way, is under new management and doing well.

Whenever Amy and I travel we spend time checking out various theatres, and in most cases, try to further our research on Barkerville and Cariboo people.  What could the connection be with say Tombstone? Well, it is clearly evident that there existed at the time of the various gold and silver rushes a “Gold Rush Society”. People followed the various rushes from California to Australia to Oregon, the Fraser River, Idaho, Montana and the Cariboo.  Consider that these were often taking place one after the other.  So we have the outlaw Boone Helm who is found in Idaho and California committing murders in BC only to be hung in Virginia City Montana in 1864.  Bannack, Montana, just over the hill and down the road from Virginia City sprang up in the fall of 1862, just like Barkerville.
            In Tombstone we had dinner in the café that was begun and owned by Nellie Cashman.  Nellie was one of the first rushers to the Cassiar in the early 1870s and may have been in Barkerville as she was “well known to her friends” at that time.  Then she heads for Arizona where she opened several restaurants, and then up to the Klondike. 
            In Elko, Nevada we find reports of a dozen “Cariboo men”, including camel entrepreneur Frank Laumeister, involved in the new silver and gold rush in the late 1860s around White Pine. So folks moved around more than we might expect, given the difficulties of travel.
            Some years ago Ron Young of L.A. Blanc studios, heard that Louie Blanc may have been buried in Tombstones Boot Hill.  It is an intriguing story as Blanc disappears from BC along with most of his negatives and is never heard of again.  Well, according to local historians and research in the Tombstone archives and Boot Hill, Blanc is not there.  We could find no reference to him and no one there had heard of him.  The same story was told in Virginia City, Nevada.  So he remains a mystery.  One day he might be found, along with his collection of Cariboo photographs.
            The research and search for these folks will never end but there is always another story to be found.
            More later on the theatres.
Amy in the Tombstone archives searching in census records for Louie Blanc.
Les More's grave. "Here lies Lester More, 4 slugs from a 44, no Les no More.
The Boot Hill cemetery.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Planning a Christmas show

Amy and I have recently returned from a trip to the United States where we had a chance to visit historic theatres in Wallaceburg, Idaho; Phillipsburg MT; Eureka, Nevada; Flagstaff and Tombstone Arizona and Virginia City, Nevada.
We met lots of great people and learned a few things that we will gradually incorporate into our own operation.
But we arrived home to lots of work - for while our season may be over the work continues. Amy is busy with her Christmas Revelers, there is still accounting to do, I have to plan for a Christmas show with Matt and Marcello and we have starting planning for next year's shows, cast and crew.  Our Spring tour is still up in the air, but we may continue for the fourth year. Time will tell.
Here is information on our Christmas show.

News Release
For immediate release
For more information: Richard Wright - 250-994-3340

“Tis a Grand (Christmas) Adventure”

It will be a Grand Christmas Adventure this year as the Theatre Royal takes part in Barkerville’s Old Fashion Christmas for the first time.
The Theatre Royal and Newman & Wright Theatre Company will be presenting three showings of Matt Quick’s “Tis a Grand (Christmas) Adventure” during the Dec. 12-14th Christmas weekend.
“Tis a Grand Adventure” was one of the hits of the 2009 season and playwright and actor Matt Quick has adapted it for the Christmas season.
                  “We have been wanting to take part in the Christmas weekend,” says producer Richard Wright, “and this year the venues and actors aligned. We present two shows at the Methodist church in Barkerville and will reopen the Singing Camel in Wells for an evening show. Marcello Sequeira is coming up to stage manage the show.”
                  The play is the stories, yarns and tall tales that were never published (nor believed) in the Cariboo. This one-man spectacle, all told by the boundless energy of actor and playwright Matthew Quick, focuses on the little known people in the mining community of Barkerville. The plot revolves around a newcomer in the Spring season, Stephen Blank, who travels to Barkerville in mid-winter to inherit his uncle’s mine, a dog named "Horse" and his uncle’s two workers, Ed and Bernie from the Maritimes, who stay on with or without Stephen's consent. It’s a ‘fish out of water story’ about the trials, good times and little pay of Barkerville. “Tis A Grand (Christmas) Adventure” is a fast and funny comedy that (unfortunately) relates to those of all ages -
a real kitchen party for the soul.
                  The evening show is a chance for folks to stay in Wells overnight and take in a performance with dinner at one of the local cafes.
                  Barkerville shows will be at the Methodist Church at 2 pm on Saturday and 1:30 on Sunday.
There will also be an evening show at the Singing Camel in Wells, across from the Hubs Motel, at 7 pm.
Admission is $10 for adults at Barkerville and $15 at the Singing Camel. Children are $5.

“Tis a Grand Adventure”
Written and performed by: Matt Quick
Directed by: Peter Boychuk
Technical Director: Marcello Sequiera and Ted Harrison
Producer: Richard Wright and Amy Newman


A periodic blog from Theatre Royal, Barkerville's producer

This blog will be a behind the curtain look at the Theatre Royal, Barkerville, written by one of the producers.  All the comments and opinions will be my own.  It will give our many fans and followers a current idea of what is going on at this historic theatre in the heart of British Columbia.

Newman & Wright Theatre Company have now been operating the Theatre Royal for 6 years and it has been an interesting ride.  The company is Richard Wright and Amy Newman, and a great collection of cast and crew which changes each season but with a few who have been consistent performers.

We operate from early May until the last weekend in September. More information can be found on our website at

Should you want to contact us go to our website and find the appropriate link.