Longtime theatre director Peter Blacklock accompanies Glitter Esquivias, Ashley Koop, Griffin Webber and Natalie Kearl as they rehearse the opening song that introduces “That’s Not Shakespeare,” the 2022 Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre production at R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

Longtime theatre director Peter Blacklock accompanies Glitter Esquivias, Ashley Koop, Griffin Webber and Natalie Kearl as they rehearse the opening song that introduces “That’s Not Shakespeare,” the 2022 Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre production at R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

‘That’s not Shakespeare’: The history of the Shuswap’s Herald Provincial Park

Learn about the provincial site at the 28th annual Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre production

~Barb Brouwer

Contributor

Herald Park is a favourite summer destination for both tourists and local residents.

Learn how this beautiful site became a provincial park in “That’s Not Shakespeare,” R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum’s 28th annual Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre production.

In 1906, six-year-old Jessie Herald and her family moved to a homestead her father dubbed Bonny Brae.

Accomplished playwright Peter Blacklock says Jessie’s father insisted that she and her two brothers remain on the homestead forever.

“One left and one stayed, but passed away long before Jessie,” he says, referring to the father as a bit of a strange duck. “Jessie never did leave and, in 1974, she sold the 160-acre parcel to the provincial government for a fraction of its value on the condition that it be turned into a park and she be allowed to retain one acre for herself. She remained there until her death at the age of 88.

Blacklock, a history buff who has been writing dinner theatre plays for the Haney stage for 12 years, came across Jessie’s story in a history book and allowed his imagination to embellish the facts with his usual humour and an original musical score.

This year’s talented cast includes Natalie Kearl as the stage manager and Mary, Glitter Esquivias as Jessie Herald, Griffin Webber as William Shakespeare, and Ashley Koop as assistant stage manager and Edith. Accompanying the cast on piano is Rydell Scott.

Glitter Esquivias, Ashley Koop, Griffin Webber and Natalie Kearl listen to director Peter Blacklock, centre, as he makes suggestions for their performance of this year’s R.J. Haney Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre production of “That’s Not Shakespeare.”

Glitter Esquivias, Ashley Koop, Griffin Webber and Natalie Kearl listen to director Peter Blacklock, centre, as he makes suggestions for their performance of this year’s R.J. Haney Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre production of “That’s Not Shakespeare.”

Now turn your eyes to the SASCU Amphitheatre. Jessie is reading a sonnet she plans to recite at the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. When she stumbles on a line in Sonnet 55, William Shakespeare himself appears.

Find out what happens when this year’s dinner theatre opens on July 3 and runs Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings in July and August. A special matinee performance takes place on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Check-in starts at 5 p.m. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with delicious pioneer fixings served from the Sprig of Heather restaurant. Dessert of homemade rhubarb crisp and ice cream is served following the play.

Dinner theatre tickets are $35 for adults, $32.50 for seniors and $15 for children ages five to 12. There is no charge for children four and under.

Seating is limited so reservations are a must. For more information or to reserve tickets, call 250-832-5243. Go online to www.salmonarmmuseum.org or like Haney at facebook.com/Haneyheritage.

R.J. Haney Heritage Village is located at 751 Hwy. 97B across from Drivers Car & Truck Sales.

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