|Taking part in Spectacular! Spectacular!, are from front to back: Tyson Sigler, Tia Rose Hatley-Webster, Janel Filipiak, Konar Sanderson, Antony Knight, Quinn Bates.|
The old warehouse sandwiched in Cannery Lane is a happy jumble of dangling puppets, a paper mache alligator, orange and turquoise phones and rack upon rack of costumes.
Sets for upcoming performances and sets from performances past stand ready in various corners, as do the odds and sods of interesting props.
In this cavernous space, youthful talent infused with boundless creativity and energy runs rampant.
In what may, on the surface, look a little higilety-pigiltey, there is much order and focus to the troupe of young performers who are part of the children's theatre called Bumbershoot.
The brainchild of artistic director Tracy Ross, Bumbershoot is an oasis for wanna-be performers who need a guiding hand in drama, dance and singing.
There are programs for young performers, workshops and clinics, educational theatre, mainstage productions and a school residency program run in conjunction with the school district.
But the plum in the pudding is the annual summer show that this month will feature 45 young talents in Spectacular! Spectacular! A Musical Review, which will hit the Mary Irwin stage this weekend for three days of musical fun.
The high-energy show will feature favourite classic and contemporary musical numbers and short scenes from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Mary Poppins, Anne of Green Gables, Bye-Bye Birdie and the Wizard of Oz.
"We choose songs and themes that are relevant to them, to their age group," Ross explained. "All of the songs relate to children in some way or another, from the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins to the 'revolting children' high-energy scenes from Matilda.
"They put on an amazing show, its audience friendly, family friendly and will entertain all ages," she added.
"We've been working on this show for a month, we've put in hours and hours of rehearsals, and had lots of support and help from parents. The dedication and focus of the performers is also amazing. There's magic that happens behind the scenes when they all pull together."
A testimony to their abilities is a challenging performance of the song Masquerade from the Phantom of the Opera.
"Yes, this number is definitely vocally challenging," Ross admitted. "But they have been very focused on the performance, bring lots of energy and talent to the stage."
The performers range in age for 8 to 19 and bring to the production a variety of musical skills, honed to perfection at Bumbershoot programs.
Many have never performed before coming to Bumbershoot classes, where every ability is welcomed and respectfully polished.
Among those who have found a theatre-family in Bumbershoot are friends Georgia Kemp, 16, MacKenzie Denis, 13, and Victoria Miller, 12.
The girls have been part of the children's theatre company for several years, and have performed in several of the year-round shows as well as the summer production.
"I love being in the spotlight, I love dancing and singing," Victoria enthused. "I'm a show-off and I know it and I love it, too. Bumbershoot is like another family. Everyone is friends, everyone helps each other."
Georgia found Bumbershoot when she moved to Kelowna a few years ago and decided to "try it out" when she saw an ad for Camp Rock.
"Theatre is a great way to be yourself, or be someone else," she said. "It's a way to express yourself, even to go over the top when you're on stage. I got some of my friends to come and try it, too. It really is a lot of fun."
MacKenzie fits well into the Bumbershoot family, adding that she "always wanted to act, and this has really given me a good foundation in acting."
All three agreed the upcoming production is on all levels "exciting, challenging and fun."
All three also poured accolades on director Ross, who they see as a "great role model" who "thinks very highly of us, and expects a lot from us."
The non-profit registered charitable theatre company extends welcome arms to all young people in the community and surrounding area who may be interested in experiencing acting. There is no-turn-away policy.
"It's a no child left behind attitude," Ross added. "No child who wants to be here will be turned away."
Other performers in Spectacular! Spectacular! are well-versed with the lights of the stage, including Quinn Bates, Antony Knight, Konor Sanderson, Nikki Wilkinson and Jamie McLean. Joining them are many Bumbershoot newcomers, including Ayla Buckberry and Francesca Drummond.
The summer production complements the regular season of four productions staged by the entourage.
What: Spectacular! Spectacular! A Musical Review by the young performers from Bumbershoot Children's Theatre.
When: Friday to Sunday, Aug. 23-25, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m.
Where: Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts.
Tickets: Available at the RCA box
office, 250-717-5304 or online selectyourtickets.com.