The Amara Zee is a tall ship performance venue currently docked at Point Hudson. The Caravan Stage Co. will present “Nomadic Tempest,” an original rock opera, through Saturday night. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

The Amara Zee is a tall ship performance venue currently docked at Point Hudson. The Caravan Stage Co. will present “Nomadic Tempest,” an original rock opera, through Saturday night. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Tall ship venue for rock opera in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — After a two-month delay in obtaining visas for its international performers and technical artists, the Caravan Stage Co. sailed into town this week, its tall ship performance venue docked at Point Hudson ready for musical theater.

Performers and crew will present “Nomadic Tempest,” an original rock opera with an environmental theme, today through Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event is performed entirely outdoors.

The site opens at 7:30 p.m. and arrival time should be no later than 8 p.m., organizers said.

Tickets are by donation, with a suggestion of $25 per adult, $20 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 14 and younger. Tickets for the Point Hudson performances are available at the venue, through www.Eventbrite.com or through the website caravanstage.org/tickets.

Attendees should dress for the elements and bring low chairs or blankets. Seating will be along the Point Hudson Marina on Jackson Street, which will be closed to traffic. Parking is expected to be limited around the area.

The Victoria-based theater company built its own 90-foot-tall ship, the Amara Zee, a replica of a Thames River sailing barge.

The ship is 98 feet in length and has self-lowering masts and on-deck winches that allow the boat to access virtually any waterfront community. It is specially designed to be a musical theater stage.

The company has been touring internationally for the past eight years throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. on rivers, lakes and along seacoasts.

“Nomadic Tempest” is the mythical story of four monarch butterflies searching for a refuge on a planet drowned through climate change.

Multi-cultural performers use the ship’s deck as its stage, and aerial acrobats use its masts and riggings.

The performance is set to original music and song, accompanied by lighting and visual projection for special effects. The water and shore also are used during the performance.

Artistic Director and Capt. Paul Kirby and his partner, Adriana Kelder, began their theater company in 1970 as a one-wagon puppet show traveling to venues across Vancouver Island.

It grew to become a 25-person company touring in six large wagons, each pulled by a team of Clydesdales, borrowing from the mythology of the old West. Their caravan traveled more than 20,000 horse drawn miles throughout Canada and the U.S.

The idea of a performance barge was a dream of Kirby’s.

“We thought about how musicals were performed on the old showboats cruising up and down the Mississippi River,” Kirby said. “There is a history there and we wanted to take that concept into a new contemporary direction.”

It took four years and $2 million to create the self-contained theater, complete with lighting and a sound system, hydraulics and generators, and both diesel and sail power, according to information about the troupe.

Today, Kirby’s stage company has 25 actors, musicians, artists and technicians who perform original productions with the 21st century environment as a main theme using poetry, masks, props and special effects.

Inclement weather might cause the show to be cancelled to protect the safety of the performers. Tickets may be refunded or used for another performance at any location on the tour. Information will be posted at www.facebook.com/caravan.stage.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or [email protected]

Caravan Stage co-founders Paul Kirby and Adriana Kelder discuss the performance venue at Point Hudson. The company has logged about 20,000 nautical miles in its 17-year run. After Port Townsend, the show heads to British Columbia. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Caravan Stage co-founders Paul Kirby and Adriana Kelder discuss the performance venue at Point Hudson. The company has logged about 20,000 nautical miles in its 17-year run. After Port Townsend, the show heads to British Columbia. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Stagehands set lights at the top of the mast of the Amara Zee for the performance of the Caravan Stage Co. presentation of “Nomadic Tempest,” an environmentally themed rock opera to be performed at Point Hudson Marina. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Stagehands set lights at the top of the mast of the Amara Zee for the performance of the Caravan Stage Co. presentation of “Nomadic Tempest,” an environmentally themed rock opera to be performed at Point Hudson Marina. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

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