An Outdoor Experience with Caravan Theatre

When I think of “arts and culture” in the Okanagan my immediate thoughts are of art galleries and wine tastings, fashion shows, and music festivals. All of which are, of course, staples of the area. But, an understated and key component to the arts and culture scene is live theatre. And not only that, but outdoor live theatre!

Imagine you’re out for a leisurely drive one evening, not really going anywhere in particular. You’re exploring the back roads and beautiful farmland scenery of the Armstrong area and you come across a gravel driveway with a sign that reads, “enter”. Curious, you turn down the driveway and come across an open grass parking lot littered with vehicles and people! You would have never known it was there, yet here are bunches of people eagerly headed towards the gate of a tiny hidden village in the middle of nowhere! Welcome to the Caravan Farm Theatre.


The theatre is one of Canada’s oldest running companies, operating since 1978. Weather permitting, the show is always outdoors and the stage is set up in a close-quartered intimate fashion so you feel like you’re a part of the show.

It was my first time experiencing the Caravan Theatre this past weekend to see the summer production, “Head over Heels”. I didn’t really know what to expect, honestly. I knew it was outside and I had inklings that it would probably be a little on the quirky side (when I told a friend I was going to see the show he laughed and said, “enjoy the hippies!”), but that was it. As soon as I walked through the front gates into the little village they’ve created there, I knew I would enjoy it. The whole atmosphere was a brilliant fuse of relaxed enjoyment and excitement.

The show was awesome. The actors were committed and excellent, the script was wonderfully crafted and touched an array of emotions that kept the audience laughing, sighing, lamenting…laughing some more, and rooting for the characters all the way through. I won’t give away too much of the plot, but the hilarious twists of mistaken identities, who’s who, who loves whom but whom is actually somebody else who is falling for the first who but who isn’t who whom thinks they are (!!)…is at the same time infuriating and amusing. Thus, I’m not one to be an ending-ruiner, but the closing of the show left me satisfied and happy.

The whole experience: the night out, being outdoors on the farm where you can wander around, look at the stars and pet the horses in the pens near the stage, buy snacks and drinks (local brewery support alright!) and just enjoy being in nature. I feel like there isn’t enough of this kind of thing going these days. Taking time to participate in an activity that is a product of real work and real talent that goes back to the basics, the way the Caravan shows do, is very refreshing and inspiring. Yes, the Okanagan is rich in wineries and music festivals. But I believe the inspiration for much of all the arts and culture that is most commonly appreciated comes from the place. The staggering and natural beauty that we sometimes overlook, and is literally right outside our doors.

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