ougar Annie trapped over 70 cougars while raising a slew of children in a home in the remote Clayoquot coastal rainforest in the early 1900s.
Singer Songwriter Katrina Kadoski has captured the incredible story of this legendary B.C. character in a multimedia one-woman show that was Pick of the Fringe at Victoria’s 2012 Fringe Festival and nominated Best New Play by the Victoria Critics Choice Awards.
Kadoski is performing the show at the Errington Hall Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Kadoski lived and worked at the late pioneer’s homestead for three years, during which time she took people on historical tours while also writing songs about Cougar Annie’s life. After Kadoski left the property she went on to do further research about Cougar Annie for a number of years, including traveling to interview her family and collecting photographs, news clippings and letters.
Life was not easy for Cougar Annie (born Ada Annie Jordan), Kadoski said, as she lost a number of husbands as well as children while living in Clayoquot Sound, and had many close calls with cougars. She was born in California and moved to the homestead in 1915. She lived there until old age and blindness forced her to move to Port Alberni, where she died at the age of 97.
“It’s inspiring that somebody had that much grit and determination to survive,” she said. “There were just so many circumstances that happened that anybody else probably would have given up.”
Kadoski has been singing in bands and solo for years, and she is no stranger to the stage. It started off with her playing the lead role in a play in Grade 1 and continued with her starring in a number of musicals. But this is the first time she has written her own script. She said it started with a collection of songs she wrote about Cougar Annie which she performed around Vancouver Island, Alberta and Manitoba to help fund her research.
She’s now had support developing the script into a multi-media show, singing, performing monologues and showing photographs of the site and Cougar Annie.
“It’ll be her on the screen and then there’s songs that I wrote and then there’s letters written to her and from her, so (the audience) will get an authentic experience as to what was going on, what was being said, and what was really happening,” she said.
The show is $15 and tickets are available from the Errington Store, Cranky Dog Music in Parksville and Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach.
Partial proceeds from the show will go to the Boat Basin Foundation, helping to maintain Cougar Annie’s garden in Clayoquot Sound.
Kadoski had recorded the songs she’s written for the show and they will be available on a CD at the show for purchase.
For more information on Kadoski visit her website www.katrinakadoski.com.