This fall, Tranquille Farm Fresh is hosting its annual tunnel theatre show called ‘The Cooney Papers’. For the past eight years, Annette and Tim Mcleod have produced tunnel theatre, which is theatre taking place within the tunnels of Tranquille Farm Fresh.
Annette Mcleod, who works and owns Tranquille Farm Fresh with her husband Tim, said “We have produced what we call Tranquille Tunnel Theatre, which tells true stories of Tranquille,’ Annette Mcleod, Tranquille Farm Fresh owner along with husband Tim, said. “This year, The Cooney Papers is the same, so Tim and I are co-producing The Cooney Papers and we’re working with a lot of different people and groups and have had a very interesting time doing a lot of research for many many weeks on the history, on the family, and also engaging with people.”
The Cooney Papers is the story of Charles and Betsy Cooney, who we’re an amazing couple that essentially built an empire and lived in Tranquille, roughly between 1835 and 1920. Many of the firsts in Tranquille happened because of them.
Mcleod says that they’ve “taken some of the major historical events that happened in that time span and then we’ve woven the story of Charles and Betsy as a couple between those historical pillars.”
This year’s show comes with an extra layer of entertainment, as the show is exploring more than just live theatre, and is adding more cinematic elements.
“The production is not just a theatre production, it’s kind of like a docu-drama so there’s film, there’s live theatre, there’s narration, and there’s music. We have four different components that we’re blending.” Mcleod said. “We’ve custom-built a curved screen in the old laundry building, that’s 37 feet by 12 feet; a huge screen, so when you come, you will start out in another building, and true to our tunnel theatre, you will actually walk through the tunnels, where you will see old pictures of the Cooneys and the walk kind of prepares your soul for the show.”
After walking through the eerie tunnels, theatre-goers will come upon the small cinema, which is allowing more people to attend the tunnel theatre than in the past. The Mcleod’s are always very busy in the fall, and this year is no different. Along with The Cooney Papers, they are also giving heritage tours of the area, have an escape room open called ‘Enigma Women’, and are opening a Jungle Corn Maze later on in the month.
Mcleod says “a lot of people know about Tranquille, but they know certain sections. They know, for instance, if they have a connection with the family or Padova, but very few people actually understand and know the full history that depicts anything from the Gold Rush to the First Nations to where we are today. So, we wrap it all up in that tour.”
Attending any of these events is a great way to learn the finer details of the history of the area.
Luckily, the Mcleods have an excellent team to help them with all of this. Without all of their help and support, they might not be able to pull off all of these events. Andrew Cooper, TRU Alumni, has helped prepare the script for the show, along with other actors from Kamloops and beyond that star in the theatre production and film.
“It’s just us. We’re working with awesome people and groups. What helps to pull it off is to work with good people.”
They hope that they have a good turnout of all ages for their events and that everyone comes to enjoy their events by dressing up and having a good time. The Mcleods believe that people have an emotional connection to the area, and they hope that they can sustain that.
Tickets are available for The Cooney Papers or for any of their upcoming events at tranquillefarmfresh.com. You can go to their event page, check out what they’re offering, select which day and event you’d like to attend and buy your tickets straight from their website. The Cooney Papers show is approximately one hour and opens at Tranquille Farm Fresh on Oct. 19.