by Phil N Rossner
Sooke has an amazing and diverse history and a new show is being staged this month at the exact location where one of the feature stories originally unfolded. The audience will thereby be given the unique opportunity to discover the history of this famous landmark through theatre and song.
In 1925, a Czech immigrant by the name of Anthony Kohout purchased the property that Sooke Harbour House is now located on from the Muir family who originally obtained the land through a crown grant from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Kohout originally set up the land to be used as a motor camp until 1929, when he went to work erecting the original Sooke Harbour House. He maintained it until 1947 at which time he sold it to the Lavertu family. The present owners, Frederique and Sinclair Philip, subsequently purchased the property in 1979.
By way of bringing the historic characters to “life” by having each of them introduced by a modern day ‘17 Mile House pub band,’ the original stories of the lives of these pioneers is weaved through a parallel story about another location which figures prominently in the history of Sooke, that being Leechtown. Locals might be amazed to discover that, during the heady days of the gold-rush, Leechtown had 6 general stores, 3 hotels, 30 saloons (!) and 1200 mines (!!). Today it is difficult to find any remnants of the town which originally drew thousands, all in the hope of striking it rich.[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]This musical theatre presentation is the brainchild of producer, actor, musician and writer Katrina Kadoski who is well known for the stellar presentation of her one-woman show, Cougar Annie Tales. The dramatization of the history of Sooke Harbour House was co-written with other members of the cast – Ross Pratt, Linda Abraham and Marjorie Baskerville. The story section entitled “Jake Goes To Leechtown” was written by Linda Green Abraham.
Guest director Kate Rubin has worked professionally in Victoria as an actor, director and drama teacher for the past 28 years and has previously worked with theatre companies throughout the Greater Victoria area.
Seasonal Sooke Stories is produced in conjunction with Sooke Harbour House. With a cast of 15, five of whom presently work at SHH (including owner Frederique Philip), this show is a unique opportunity for Sookies and non-Sookies alike to learn a bit more about our local history, all the while being entertained by a cast of local actors, singers and musicians. To welcome everyone, members of the T’Sou-ke Nation will be giving a short presentation at the beginning of the show. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!
Where:The Pavilion at Sooke Harbour House, 1528 Whiffin Spit Road
When: July 4, 5 and 6
Time: Doors – 7:30 p.m.; Show – 8 p.m.
Available at: Sooke Harbour House; Sooke Regional Museum; The Stick