Harley South as Charlie bucket and Caleb Cox as Willy Wonka lead a large cast in rehearsal for Salmon Arm Secondary’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Wonka’s chocolate factory in production at Salmon Arm Secondary

SAS theatre students preparing to stage Roald Dahl classic

Barb Brouwer


Follow five golden ticket winners into a fantastical world as Salmon Arm Secondary’s Theatre Production students present Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Charlie Bucket lives with his impoverished parents and grandparents. The family follows a contest hosted by factory owner Willy Wonka who has hidden tickets in five Wonka Bars, which have been distributed all over the world.

Eventually, Charlie finds a ticket and joins the other winners on a tour of the factory – meet greedy and gluttonous Augustus Gloop and spoiled Veruca Salt, gum-obsessed Violet Beauregarde and television-obsessed Mike Teavee.

Once in the factory, the children are taken to the Chocolate Room, where they are introduced to Oompa Loompas, from Loompaland, who have been helping Wonka at the factory.

Thus begins a magical contest in which the last child to be eliminated becomes heir to the factory.

Teacher Danielle Berger got inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from her four-and-a-half-year-old daughter who loves the film that featured Johnny Depp and is based on the book written by best-selling children’s author Roald Dahl.

“Instantly, they were sold on it because of the colours, props and psychedelic lights,” says Berger of her Grade 11-12 class. “And we can’t forget the Oompa Loompas, they bring a lot of fun, colourful, musical numbers to the show. They do rhythmic speaking and rap and they sing one song, but keep in mind it’s acting, not musical theatre.”

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Berger says students worked very hard to create the many colourful, imaginative props, while her “very generous, handy husband” has spent many hours building the two tiered set.”

The production involves 27 students, four of whom are backstage help.

“This is the first year I’ve ever used understudies, so for the Wednesday night production, Willy Wonka, Mike Teavee and Mr. Bucket will have understudies perform,” Berger says. “So if you want to see everything, you many have to come to more than one show.”

Also fun and colourful are the costumes that were pieced together by borrowing or renting from community members and groups such as Karen Huyter and Just For Kicks.

The students have been working on the production since September and the performance is like a final exam, playing a large role in the marks students receive.

Somewhat regretful that the production is not a musical, Berger says she is fortunate to also be teaching dance and looks forward to her students’ recital on Jan. 16 and 17.

“I am going out with a bang, doing two concerts in one semester before I go on maternity leave,” she laughs. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is very family friendly and super appropriate for all ages.”

The show runs at 7 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 11, and 12 at the SAS Sullivan Theatre. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $10 each and are available at the Sullivan Campus office or at the door.


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