Skip to content

Poetry, opera and music of John Denver: April at Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Up first is Shane Koyczan

The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre will host an eclectic mix of shows in April, from spoken word poetry to a local musical, with opera and the music of John Denver along the way.

Up first is Shane Koyczan, perhaps the most famous spoken word poet in the world.

He hits the stage on April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Many will remember him from his performance at the opening of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, which made him a household name. He has also won the US Slam Poetry Championship and the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics.

Promotion for the show describes Koyczan as “an extraordinary talent who has blown the dust off of the traditional designation ‘poet’” and is “known for tackling social and political issues with fierce honesty and tender humanity.”

“There seems no shortage of adjectives to describe a Shane Koyczan show,” says the press release. “Moving, hilarious, challenging, provocative, or inspirational. Take your pick. Here is a writer that takes you on a tour of your own feelings in a way that leaves you grasping for your own heart just to make sure it’s still in your chest.”

Koyczan also displays sculptures when he speaks.

The show will also feature a performance by Alessandra Naccarato, who is the author of the book of essays Imminent Domains: Reckoning with the Anthropocene and poetry book Re-Origin of Species.

This spoken word artist has also won numerous awards for her work, which has been published widely.

Tickets to the show are $42.50.


On April 21 and 22 it’s something totally different with Frozen Jr., presented by St. John’s Academy from Shawnigan Lake.

This is their first ever school musical, and they’ve chosen the popular Disney tale, modified from the 2018 Broadway show.

The show features sisters Elsa and Anna in the magical land of Arendelle, and will include all of the memorable songs from the animated film, along with five additional songs written for the Broadway version.

The show features more than 60 students in grades 4 to 11, and runs for about an hour and 15 minutes. It is directed by Morgan McLeod with music direction by Tristan Clausen and choreography by Kelli McLeod.

“With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humour, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart,” says promotion for the show.

Tickets are $20, with children 18 and under and seniors getting in for $15. Evening shows are at 7 p.m. on both days, with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 22.


On April 24 it’s time to light up the big screen for Reel Alternatives, with film Broker.

“Hirokazu Kore-eda directs this beautifully crafted and achingly touching crowd-pleaser about an unconventional family formed under the strangest of circumstances,” says a press release for the film. “Broker is a film filled with moments of wonder and powerful emotion.”

Reel Alternatives is a monthly fundraiser for Cowichan Hospice that brings critically acclaimed films from the Toronto Film Festival to Cowichan.

Tickets are $17.


Next up in a busy week at the theatre is the first of two operas in April.

On April 26 starting at 9:30 a.m. is The Met Opera’s Falstaff.

The music is Verdi’s and the comedy is Shakespeare’s as a knight is “tormented by a trio of clever women who deliver his comeuppance.” Baritone Michael Volle stars as Fallstaff.

Tickets for the show are $35 for general admission, $32 for seniors, and $5 for students in grades 8-12.


The next night, April 27, it’s a complete change of pace with Rocky Mountain High: Celebrating the Music of John Denver.

The show is in support of HOPE International and starts at 7:30 p.m.

It stars Rick Worrall and brother Steve Worrall, along with a crew of musicians who promise to deliver John Denver’s music as it was at the height of his career.

Audience members are invited to sing and clap along with favourites like ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’, ‘Sunshine on My Shoulders’, ‘Calypso’ and more.

Tickets are $55.


On April 29 at 9:55 a.m. it’s back to the opera, once again with The Met, this time with Champion.

The show tells the story of boxer Emile Griffith who rises from obscurity to become a world champion. Composed by Terence Blanchard, a six time Grammy Award winner, it is his first opera.

Ryan Speedo Green plays young Emile, while Eric Owens is older Emile.

Regular tickets are $35 with seniors getting in for $32 and a special $5 student ticket for those in grades 8 to 12.


To purchase tickets online, go to You can also get them in person from the box office at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan, or by calling 250-746-2722.

Shane Koyczan, pictured at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook, 2017. The spoken word poet hits the stage at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan on April 6, 2023. (Barry Coulter photo) Shane Koyczan, pictured at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook, 2017. The spoken word poet hits the stage at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan on April 6, 2023. (Barry Coulter photo)

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
Read more