Father and daughter Brittany and Mel Leonard have collaborated to present a new children’s book, ‘The Life of a Shadow’. (Brittany Leonard illustration)

A&E column: New children’s book, Shakespeare Festival, comedy classes

Check out what's going on in Cowichan arts and entertainment

Cowichan Valley teacher Brittany Leonard has written a book with her dad Mel Leonard for all the children out there who may feel alone.

The Life of a Shadow is also illustrated by Brittany, and is the retelling of a story Mel used to tell her growing up. Mel always enjoyed making up stories for his three daughters, and this is one of them.

The book answers the question: why do we have shadows?

“This beautiful father-daughter collaborative retelling is fit for all types of families, and will bring a feeling of comfort to children of all ages,” the book jacket reads. And it is a lovely story.

“As a teacher in the Cowichan district, I know that there are many children who will be returning to school in September who either haven’t attended school last year, or who struggled to attend regularly,” said Brittany. “I know that these children are resilient and will find success back at school, but getting back to school may be a daunting idea at first. I think this book will bring comfort to many children at a variety of times in their lives, but particularly this school year.”

The book also includes instructions on how to make a variety of shadow puppets.

Brittany Leonard will be doing a signing of the book at The Great Canadian Dollar Store in Chemainus on the last weekend in August and selling copies of the book along with back-to-school bundles.

Her book is also available for purchase on Amazon.


The Cowichan Valley Shakespeare Festival, where people can enjoy the best of the Bard in an outdoor setting, is back this year.

Running from Aug. 5-8 and Aug. 12-15, the festival tackles The Winter’s Tale, which the festival describes as “a story that takes place in warm, far-away countries, royal palaces and strange beaches with man-eating bears!”

This year play is being produced on the grounds of Evergreen Independent School in Cobble Hill.

Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/cowichan-valley-shakespeare-festival-2021-tickets-160397696829?aff=ebdssbeac

You can also get them in person at Ten Old Books in the Duncan Garage and Mason’s Store in Shawnigan Lake. They are $16.93 for an individual and $32.84 for a family pass.


Blind Tiger Comedy School is offering free improv courses to people in small communities across B.C. this summer.

“This is an incredible opportunity for those interested in trying out comedy for the first time, and is representational of the continued work Blind Tiger Comedy School is doing to make their classes more diverse and inclusive,” says a press release for the courses.

They are offering the free classes if you self-identify as black, indigenous or a person of colour; are transgender, gender fluid or gender non-binary; are over the age of 50; or live outside of British Columbia’s largest urban centres (Greater Vancouver, Greater Victoria, Kelowna, Nanaimo and Kamloops).

Welcome classes can be taken online through Blind Tiger Comedy’s Digital Comedy School or in-person through their new safety-first Fresh Air classes (check out more information on Fresh Air here: www.blindtigercomedy.ca/classes#fresh)

Check out what classes are available at https://blindtigercomedy.ca/classes and go from there. For questions or registration, contact general manager Sasha Mark at sasha@blindtigercomedy.ca

Cowichan Valley Citizen