Karen Berkhout, board president of the Electric Company Theatre, has confirmed that the young victims of a cabin fire on Shuswap Lake early Thursday (July 23) morning included the 14-year-old daughter and only child of company founders Jonathon Young, artistic director, and Kim Collier, artistic producer.
An RCMP news release this morning (July 24) confirmed the victims as Azra Young, 14, her cousin Fergus Conway, 14, and his sister Phoebe Conway, 10, all of Vancouver.
The release also contained the following statement from the family:
“The fire occurred at their family cabin which, together with their extended family, the Collier Family in Kamloops, has been their summer home for four generations. This tragedy is being grieved by three families of cousins, parents and grandparents as well as by their wide community of friends in both Kamloops and Vancouver.”
“Everyone is feeling very protective of the family,” said Berkhout in an emotional call. “I think it’s hit everyone in their circle of friends and colleagues incredibly hard. It is just an unfathomable tragedy and honestly, it’s very difficult to absorb. But we’re all feeling incredibly protective of their entire family and just offer our deepest, deepest condolences.”
RCMP have deemed the death of the three children as non-suspicious. The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.
The Electric Company is one of Vancouver’s most respected and innovative theatre groups. Co-founded by Collier, Young, and artistic associates David Hudgins and Kevin Kerr, it has received 31 Jessie Richardson Awards, including, most recently, for outstanding production and critics’ choice for last season’s No Exit, a co-production with Virtual Stage directed by Collier. In his review of No Exit, the Straight’s theatre reviewer Colin Thomas proclaimed Collier “a visionary”.
The Electric Company's biggest upcoming project is Tear the Curtain!, a co-production with the Arts Club Theatre Company, for the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in February 2010. Created by Young and Kerr, in collaboration with Collier and Hudgins, the work is a thriller set in and inspired by the history of the Stanley Theatre.