Western Canada Theatre (WCT) is thrilled to launch a dazzling new season of extraordinary live theatre with the world premiere of a new Canadian play. Inspired by true events, Sleight of Mind, by Daniela Vlaskalic, runs October 13 to 22 at the Sagebrush Theatre in Kamloops. 

Based on a notorious true story from post-war 1920s Europe, Sleight of Mind is inspired by reported events surrounding the most documented paranormal psychic in history, Rudi Schneider. Driven by a father’s obsession and his astonishing paranormal abilities, Rudi finds himself caught between two worlds, the living and the next. Torn between science, fame, and love, Rudi must choose between the doctor who discovered his talent, his loving fiancée, and a ghostly woman with a dark secret in his quest to become the greatest spiritual medium of all time. 

“A theme of this show that has become unfortunately topical the past few years is a renewed interest in life after death,” says James MacDonald, WCT Artistic Director and director for the production. “After the shocking death toll of the First World War, there was an explosion in interest around paranormal activity and spiritual mediums as grieving families were desperate to find meaning and connection with their lost loved ones. After all the loss the past few years, questions about existence and the paranormal world have become relevant to bring back into the conversation.” 

Written by award-wining Canadian actor and playwright, Daniela Vlaskalic, who spent years researching and developing this fascinating true story into a magical new play filled with drama, romance, and intrigue. 

Four captivating performers will make their WCT debut on stage in this new production. Starring as Rudi Schneider is Vancouver-based actor and musician, Teo Saefkow; theatre, film, and TV actor Danielle Klaudt will play Rudi’s fiancée Mitzi Mengal; Peruvian-Italian artist and educator Valeria Ascolese will embody Rudi’s ghostly muse Lola Montez; and Jamie Williams, an established theatre artist who has performed in over 80 productions on some of this countries most prominent stages such as Stratford Festival, National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage, and The Citadel to name a few, will play the famed Dr. Harry Price. 

Drawing inspiration from the late 1920s setting while adding in some modern twists, the Sleight of Mind creative team of talented designers are hard at work creating enchanting sets (Set Designer Hans Saefkow), hauntingly beautiful costumes (Costume Designer Beyata Hackborn), moody lighting (Lighting Designer Louise Guinand), and bewitching original music (Sound Designer & Composer Lukas Vanderlip) to bring this dramatic ghost story to life in a fresh and inventive way. 

We’re proud to continue to create and showcase incredible new plays that premiere right here in Kamloops before they go on to play across the country,

–James MacDonald, artistic director WCT,

Directed by WCT’s very own Artistic Director, James MacDonald, who has championed the development of new Canadian plays in his tenure at WCT.

“We’re proud to continue to create and showcase incredible new plays that premiere right here in Kamloops before they go on to play across the country,” he says “Over the past ten years, plays that have started in Kamloops have gone on to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people across Canada, winning numerous awards.” 

Sleight of Mind will have audiences questioning what’s real and what’s theatre magic while provoking the question: is there life beyond this world, and if it is possible to connect to that world…should we? 

For tickets and information, visit wctlive.ca/mind 

SLEIGHT OF MIND by Daniela Vlaskalic | Inspired by true events | In association with Hit and Myth Productions | Dates: OCT 13 to 22, 2022 | Venue: Sagebrush Theatre, 1300 9th Avenue, Kamloops, BC | Running time: approximately 2 hours minutes, with one intermission 

Cast: VALERIA ASCOLESE Lola Montez | DANIELLE KLAUDT Mitzi Mengal | TEO SAEFKOW Rudi Schneider | JAMIE WILLIAMS Dr. Harry Price 

Creative Team: JAMES MACDONALD Director | HANS SAEFKOW Set Designer | BEYATA HACKBORN Costume Designer | LOUISE GUINAND Lighting Designer | LUKAS VANDERLIP Sound Designer & Composer | KARYN MOTT Intimacy Director | TRACEY POWER Movement Consultant | BILLY KIDD Magic Consultant | SUSAN D. CURRIE Stage Manager | ALANA FREISTADT Assistant Stage Manager | ASHLEY HIIBNER Apprentice Stage Manager