The Nutcracker Returns to the North Peace Cultural Centre

Travis Fortnum

You might call it the holiday season, but for ballet fans and dancers alike - it’s Nutcracker season.

The classic charm and pageantry have been entertaining audiences for more than a century, and has become a staple of festive family fun.

The ballet is adapted from a German folk tale, where a young girl’s Christmas toy comes alive in her dreams. It was first brought to the stage in Moscow in 1892.
Three dance schools are teaming up to present this production at the North Peace Cultural Centre, with local talent at the forefront.

"We wanted to bring a Christmas tradition to the community,” Says director and dance instructor Shauna Milne. “We wanted it to be a community event. In the past we've had Dawson involved, and to work with Stage North and Northern Dance Theatre Society, along with Studio 2 Stage, it just brings the community together."

This particular Christmas tradition is relatively new to Fort St. John. This is just the 4th run of the show here, with the production returning every other year since 2012.

"We do it every even year,” Milne says. “Just because we don't want to saturate the market, really.

“We want to make sure it's an event where people say 'we have to go this year, we won't be able to see it for another couple years!"

The rotating runs means rotating cast members, as students of the dance school come and go.

"A lot of them graduate and move on to go further their training,” says Milne, “but some have come back."
Some like Mackenzie Gosling - who steps into the lead.

"The first year, 2012, I played a mouse,” says Gosling, who stars as Clara this time around.  “Then the second year I was a soldier. The third year I was columbine, which is the doll, and a tonne of the dancers and people in act two. And this year I got Clara and it's my last year."

Gosling says she will stick with her hobby, even after graduating the academy. As does her co-star.

"Unlike Mackenzie, this is my second one,” says Makayla Connolly, who plays the titular Nutcracker.  “I skipped last year and this year I’m coming back as the Nutcracker."

The ballet starts its 2018 run tomorrow night.

For tickets, head to the North Peace Cultural Centre box office, or

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