Alison Jenkins has been a professional musician and theatre artist for the last twenty years. She got started right out of high school, when she spent a year touring Canada with Vancouver Youth Theatre’s musical Canadian Stories. But it was when she picked up the accordion and joined a group of rabble-rousing friends and folk musicians called the Flying Folk Army that things really took off. Over the next few years Alison joined several other bands, including the Latin-inspired Candelaria, Slavic Soul group Zeellia, the short-lived but always fun swing band Bedroom Parrots, and Turkish cabaret sensations Something About Reptiles, where she honed her singing, accordion and clarinet-playing skills. Professional theatre contracts soon followed, including several productions with Chemainus Theatre as a performer and composer. In 2004, a bunch of friends decided to create a play for the Vancouver Fringe Festival. They knew they wanted it to be a musical, and they knew they wanted it to be about a band of musicians from Newfoundland. A surprise hit, The Back Kitchen Release Party went on to win 2 Jessie Richardson Awards, and was picked up for a successful run (and tour) at the Arts Club Theatre. The soundtrack featured several of Alison’s songs, as well as her work as the company’s music director and arranger. But although Alison was achieving some success as a composer and music director, she knew she wanted to do more performing. A 2009 job offer from Theatre Royal in the historic gold rush town of Barkerville, BC was the opportunity she was seeking. From 2010 to 2014 Alison spent at least 4 months of every year treading the boards in Barkerville as an actor, musician and historical interpreter. A truly well-rounded musician, Alison is equally at home performing on stage, recording in the studio, or writing music and lyrics on her laptop (and accordion). She has played music in BC, across Canada, and internationally. She has twice been nominated for a Jessie Award (Vancouver’s professional theatre awards), and plays many instruments, including accordion, clarinet, tin whistle, trumpet and piano. Alison has also been a prolific songwriter in the last 5 years, and hopes to record an album of her own material soon.
Photograph: J. Lyonns