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Award-winning play honouring Veterans coming to Coaldale

Posted on October 19, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

A live production of the multi award-winning play, “Jake’s Gift” is making its way to Coaldale this month.

The upcoming performance will be hosted in the Atrium of the Coaldale Civic Centre, thanks to sponsorship by Glenn Miller, Warrant Officer (retired) and local historian, with a passion for educating the future generations on the importance of Remembrance Day.

To commemorate the end of poppy tag day, locals will have the opportunity to watch the performance on Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Civic Square Atrium in Coaldale. The Poppy campaign runs from October 27 to November 11, but Miller said the intent of poppy tag day is to get out and fundraising  on the first day of the campaign.

Inspired by playwright, Julia Mackey’s experience attending the 60th anniversary ceremonies in Normandy back in 2004, the play depicts the story of a reluctant World War II veteran’s journey back to Normandy, France, 60 years after the D-Day landings to find his brother’s grave. While overseas, the veteran forges an unexpected friendship which forces him to confront some of unresolved pain surrounding his grief.

Miller said, one of the main reasons the play resonates with audiences is because it offers, “insights of the experience of seeing a loved one’s grave, halfway around the world,” and added Jake’s Gift, “gives a snapshot of just one story and experience.”

In a recent press release, Mackey indicated experience of interviewing veterans is among the most “moving” experiences  of her life, and is quoted as saying, “the play is really a love letter to all veterans to thank them for their service.”

The release also included comments from Jack Van Rijn, Mayor of Coaldale, who expressed his gratitude and excitement that the play would be performed for an audience in Coaldale.

“This will be a great opportunity to showcase our new Civic Square Atrium with a live performance. I have had the pleasure of attending the show four times, and Julia Mackey’s performance still amazes me each and every time. When it comes to Canadian theatre at its best, this is a must-see performance.”

Tickets may also be purchased by contacting Glenn Miller at 403-360-6076 or Jack Van Rijn directly.

Jake’s Gift will also be performed on Oct. 26 and 27 in Vulcan, and Oct. 29 in Medicine Hat.

Due to the nature of the subject matter, the play is suggested for audience members ages 10 and up. Doors will open at 1 p.m., and curtain’s up at 2 p.m. Jake’s Gift has a 65 minute run time, and there will be no intermission.

For additional information about the productions, visit

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