Vision of Newman & Wright

When Victorian drama transformed itself in the 1890s it discarded many of its uniquely Victorian qualities, says Sara Hudston in Victorian Theatricals. Drama might have become "better", that is more attractive to modern tastes, but something died in the process, something lively and curious, something peculiarly representative of the particular period in history, she says.

The vision of Newman & Wright, using the Theatre Royal in Barkerville, is to recapture those "Victorian qualities" that were so important. By presenting theatre similar to that of the CADA and various travelling troupes, a mixture of music hall material "a truly popular entertainment for all classes" and the amateur theatricals that were so much a part of Victorian home life and theatre productions we will open a window to Barkerville during its first decades. We will consider that the Victorian audience "wanted to be diverted. Rich or poor, educated or ignorant, they wanted something odd, something new and startling," they wanted entertainment. In its most Victorian incarnation the theatre was a social necessity, not an artistic luxury.

Amy Newman and Richard Wright are both entertainers and are blending those skills and passions with their belief in the authenticity of interpretation at the Barkerville site, having both worked there in various roles.

Their vision is to present what is now being called retro theatre, theatre set in the past, yet using modern technical supports to a limited degree.

Newman & Wright Theatre Company

Known in Barkerville as the Newman & Wright Theatrical Troupe, Amy Newman & Richard Wright are building a Theatre Company of actors and technicians who believe in the entertainment and interpretation of the past.

They are well aware that they are following in some large footsteps, like those of the original Cariboo Amateur Dramatic Association and the later productions of Fran Dowie, Arden Craig, Taylor-Wood productions and Eureka Theatre Company.

Newman & Wright's vision is to tell the stories of the Cariboo goldfields, to recreate some of the entertainments of the day, to present to Barkerville visitors a feeling of being in a goldrush theatre of the 1870s.

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