The stars of the Snow King Festival

The Amuse Troupe entertained the Town of Golden with their version of Alice in Wonderland

The Amuse Troupe entertained the Town of Golden with their version of Alice in Wonderland

The Snow King is a mystical being that rarely compares to any menial human life form, that was until matched at this year’s Snow King Festival by the wildly creative, always entertaining Amuse Troupe. The group, troupe, or gaggle of circus-like entertainers are merely cutting their teeth, as a collective bunch, but are certainly beginning to garner the attention such an act deserves.

“Our performance (at the Snow King Festival) of Alice in Winterland was greatly appreciated by all those who attended; it was a huge success for us. The turn out was amazing in Golden. People were amazed at how professional the show was. We also performed the same act in Field at the Yoho Blow Dayz for around 40 or 50 people, much smaller than Golden’s festival, but they too loved it. Many people came dressed in their fluffy coats on the cold night just to see our show,” Director of Amuse Troupe, Tammy Castonguay said of the recent success.

It was a clever show, self-directed entirely by Amuse Troupe. Everything from the Steampunk style costumes to the original soundtrack that filled the crisp air in Golden during the stellar routine, the Troupe did it all themselves, and all right here in Golden.

“Everything was done right here in Golden. Hjeron, from Myth Makers in Nelson definitely helped us out with the production, but for the most part it was all done locally. Our entire soundtrack was created by Blair Hudson and Alison Stadnyk (or Alice) in his living room. It was incredible how we all worked together,” Castonguay explained with much sincerity.

Through a grant received during the summer of 2010 from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, the circus group was able to piece together their ideas for Alice in Winterland; it was an idea that came to fruition after Tammy saw the movie Alice in Wonderland.

“I got the idea for Alice in Winterland after watching Alice in Wonderland, twice. Tim Burton is truly inspiring to me,” Castonguay explained of the inspiration for their marvelous show.

It was such inspiration that motivated Tammy, and the Troupe, to start putting their ideas down on paper. From the story itself to the costumes and even the choreography, Tammy had her fingers wrapped tightly around the entire lot.

“I was a little nervous directing the entire Troupe myself. It took me some time to actually find enough confidence in my story, to actually order and direct the 20-some people production. But in the end, it was the entire team that came together and made the production what it was,” Castonguay said modestly.

It was this “entire team” that the town of Golden, and likely soon to be beyond, can be expecting more of in the not so distant future.

The Troupe, although taking a short break after the considerable production of Alice in Winterland, has great plans for 2011. With a pair of grant applications in the works, Amuse Troupe is hoping to expand as a top-tier act in the Kootenays.

“We have a couple of ideas for this year. First off, we are looking to bring some teachers in to help us grow theatrically and to learn a few more tricks regarding clowning. We are also looking to start a program we call Arts in the Park in Golden; we are currently waiting for approval of a grant which was applied for. The idea is to start a six-week program, running in July and August, that will feature different members of Amuse Troupe at different parks around town. Children and parents alike will be able to come to Arts in the Park and learn circus skills, crafts, and much more. It is something we are all excited about,” Castonguay said, speaking with zeal.

The Arts in the Park is likely an idea that would certainly be well accepted in an art-filled community such as Golden. It is Amuse Troupe’s mantra to not only grow as a circus group in 2011, but also to become more interactive in Golden and in the entire Columbia Valley.

The group is currently looking to bolster their own portfolio and gather content for their upcoming website. They are seeking any video footage or photos of their performance at the Snow King Festival from anyone who happened to be there with a camera. If you have any such content or wish to learn more of Golden’s very own circus, contact Tammy at: tammy@rainbowthreads.net.