Thespians Alycia Dunbar and James Matthews fell in love on stage, so it only seems natural the couple would tie the knot at the Village Theatre where their whirlwind romance began.
Dunbar and Matthews, both from the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, met byway of a play neither auditioned to be in — and two years after that fateful production the duo headed back to the stage, but this time to get married.
Dunbar shared their serendipitous love story with The NEWS Friday morning, the day before her wedding.
“The director (Wendy Putin) was having a hard time filling the role of a younger woman because most of our acting community consists of retirees,” she recalled. “So she (Wendy) came into the restaurant I was working at and said: ‘You should come and do this play.'”
Dunbar, who has a history in theatre, said she immediately agreed to take on the role.
She remembers her first day of rehearsals, where she met the actor who was supposed to be her character’s love interest, Arthur.
“There ended up being a conflict-of-interest,” Dunbar said. “So the guy dropped out of the play.”
In a last minute scramble to fill the role of Arthur, the production manager sought out Matthews, a young Qualicum Beach man who is known in the Echo Players family.
But it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
Dunbar said the first time she saw Matthews was at a rehearsal in the midst of Movember, a well-known month-long fundraiser in November where men are challenged to grow a mustache and proceeds are donated to prostate cancer research.
Matthews was taking part in the fundraising campaign.
“I was looking at him thinking, who is this guy?” said Dunbar, who described his mustache as “gnarly, really it was just horrible.”
But once they got to talking, Dunbar said “I realized he was super cute and really funny and we just clicked.”
She said there was a lot of rehearsing “the kiss scene” before the production took to the stage.
“We met November 20, started dating December 1, moved in together January 1 and did the play in February,” Dunbar said. “It was really fast — but you just meet those people you don’t need any time with.”
The play was called You Can’t Get There From Here and it debuted to glowing reviews, but the real-life romantic comedy that ensued for Dunbar and Matthews is what the couple took away from the production.
Shortly after their play ended, Dunbar said she and Matthews went to see another production at the Village Theatre where she half-jokingly mentioned “it would be cool if we got married on this stage.”
“From that moment the seed was planted,” she said. “Echo Players really was a huge part of us meeting.”
Dunbar said she is “forever thankful” for theatre.
She describes Matthews as “charismatic and amazing and so funny, I mean I’m pretty funny too but he keeps up with me, he’s absolutely just wonderful — especially when he finally got rid of that horrible mustache.”
Most of the cast and crew from You Can’t Get There From Here attended the ceremony, as well as family and friends of the bride and groom, who were happily married Saturday afternoon at the Village Theatre. The bride and groom and their bridal party pranced down the aisle singing — true to theatrical style.