Kelt Eccleston, Margo Milton, Mark Hellman and Colleen Eccleston (clockwise from top-left) are starring in the upcoming historical musical revue ‘Flotsam and Jetsam.’ (Photo courtesy Mary Desprez)

B.C. history gets musical treatment at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre

The Other Guys Theatre Company presents 'Flotsam and Jetsam'

A musical journey through B.C. history is returning to a Nanaimo stage for the first time in four years.

On Sept. 19, the Other Guys Theatre Company presents Flotsam and Jetsam at the Port Theatre. The production features an acoustic folk band performing songs about people, places and events from the province’s past.

Artistic director and VIU theatre instructor Ross Desprez said this is the third time Flotsam and Jetsam is being performed, having last been staged at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre in September 2017.

“It’s going to be interesting to see it again and hear it,” Desprez said. “It’s been a while and I’ve kind of even lost touch with it so it’s going to be interesting to revisit it.”

Island musicians Kelt Eccleston, Colleen Eccleston and Mark Hellman are back to reprise their roles. They’re being joined by new cellist Margo Milton. The other change is how the show will be staged, as Desprez said lighting will be used to help turn the larger venue into a more intimate space.

Throughout the performance the musicians will play before a backdrop of video and photographs to illustrate the songs.

Desprez said the Other Guys’ focus has always been on promoting British Columbia and creating art that speaks to British Columbians, “rather than do plays by some dead Englishman.”

“We want to create pieces of theatre and pieces of art and music that’s coming out of our own culture,” he said. “So we’re just trying to advance and keep those historical elements alive and the best way to do that being theatre people and music people is to put them into songs and stories and put them on a stage.”

Desprez said it’s part of the folk tradition of music as a means to pass history on.

“People can learn a song about an event and maybe they’ll sing it to somebody else and it gets passed along,” he said. “And there were a lot of events in B.C. history that probably people don’t know about and things that we found interesting and that we thought would make good fodder for a folk song.”

WHAT’S ON … Flotsam and Jetsam comes to the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $27 for adults, $24 for members and $15 for students with a valid ID. Includes post-show chat. Tickets available here.

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