• James Parry

Critically-acclaimed Jake’s Gift comes to Hudson Village Theatre


Former West Island resident Julia Mackey stars in two roles in the critically-acclaimed one-woman play Jake’s Gift playing at the Hudson Village Theatre until September 21.

Following rave-review performances in 200 communities across Canada, a very special one-woman play comes to Hudson Village Theatre Wednesday, September 16 through Sunday, September 21, to which - thanks to a grant from Veterans Canada to HVT - registered veterans are welcome to attend any show absolutely free of charge.

It is titled Jake’s Gift. It is written and acted by former West Islander, Julia Mackey, and is directed by her husband, Dirk Van Stralen. And it tells the story of Jake, a Canadian World War II veteran who reluctantly returns to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

While revisiting the shores of Juno Beach, Jake encounters Isabelle, a precocious 10- year-old from the local village whose inquisitive nature and charm challenge the old soldier to confront some long-ignored ghosts. Most notably, the wartime death of his eldest brother, Chester, a once promising young musician. At its heart, Jake’s Gift is about the legacy of remembrance and personalizes the story behind one soldier’s grave.

Since 2007, Juno Productions has toured this multi-award winning play across Canada including international stops in the U.S., U.K., and Normandy itself for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

Says HTV artistic director, Matt Tiffin, “This show is a knockout and a powerful tribute to veterans. Husband and wife team, Julia and Dirk, have crossed this country countless times, playing virtually every theatre, every concert hall, every Legion and Town Hall in every city, town and hamlet, and theatres keep bringing them back time and time again for one reason. The show is breath-taking. The relationship between Jake and Isabelle is warm, humourous and profoundly moving. Deceptively simple, Jake’s Gift grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go.”

Says Mackey, “We are very excited to be kicking off our Fall 2015 Tour of Jake’s Gift in Hudson, just a short drive from my beloved hometown of Beaconsfield! This past June I returned to the West Island for my 30th High School reunion at Macdonald High School in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, and it was such a reminder of what a beautiful place it was to grow up. I always carry Quebec in my heart even though I’ve lived in BC for over 20 years now. It is so nice to come home.

“We feel very blessed that this marks the beginning of our ninth season of touring Jake’s Gift; we can’t wait to share this story of remembrance, friendship and forgiveness, with the community, and to hear the stories of the ‘Jake’ in their own lives.”

For reservations, call the HVT Box Office at (450) 458-5361 or go to www.villagetheatre.ca.

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