Shows & Events
About The Show
Jake’s Gift is a multi-award winning Canadian play about a World War II veteran’s reluctant return to Normandy, France, for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. While revisiting the shores of Juno beach, Jake encounters Isabelle, a precocious 10-year-old from the local village. Isabelle’s inquisitive nature and charm challenge the old soldier to confront some long-ignored ghosts – most notably the war-time death of his eldest brother, Chester, a once promising young musician. At its heart, Jake’s Gift is about the legacy of remembrance and makes personal the story behind one soldier’s grave.
Since 2007, Jake’s Gift has gone on to play at festivals and theatres in 240 communities across Canada, including International stops to Washington State, the UK and to Normandy, France, for the 70th & 73rd Anniversary of D-Day. The company hopes to return to Normandy in 2019 for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. The production is available in English and French.
2017 marked their 10th year of touring, and Juno Productions and Jake’s Gift continue to garner awards and rave reviews whether playing in small rural towns or big city centres.
For more information, please visit www.jakesgift.com
TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL | JULY 2007
Paul Isaacs | EYE WEEKLY |
A grumpy WWII veteran meets a precocious 10-year-old girl during a visit to Juno Beach in
Normandy, at the time of the 60th anniversary of D-Day.
This economical one-woman show is impressively written and performed by Julia Mackey, and should be a great draw for
younger kids and their grandparents. The narrative itself is fairly clichéd, and the conclusion too obviously
attempts to tug at our heartstrings, but this is largely a successful and tasteful production.
(Never underestimate the importance of sensible good taste at the Fringe.)
GABRIOLA THEATRE CENTRE | JAN 2007
Gabriolans blown away by a vet’s
play, Jake’s Gift
Thirty-nine year-old actor/playwright Julia Mackey took Gabriola by storm last
weekend with the world premiere of a one-woman show, based on her experiences during the 60th anniversary of D-Day,
in 2004… more …
CALGARY | LUNCHBOX THEATRE | FALL 2011
Lois Hobson | CALGARY SUN |
Jake’s Gift – which Mackey conceived, wrote and performs – is theatre in its purest form. It is
an instant love affair between performer and audience. This is a jewel of a show you simply can’t afford to
VANCOUVER | PACIFIC THEATRE | APR 2011
Jo Ledingham | VANCOUVER
COURIER | 13 APR 2011
Jake’s Gift wrapped in history and emotion
Jake’s Gift, created and performed by Julia Mackey, has been seen by thousands of school children across the
country. I took a pass when it was performed at the Cultch in 2008 (after touring B.C. and other parts of Canada). I
missed it again at the Firehall and the Shadbolt Centre. I don’t know what took me so long to see this remarkable
60-minute jewel, but it had something to do with the subject: the meetings over a few days in Normandy between a
10-year-old French girl and a Canadian Second World War veteran returning for the first time to Juno Beach where his
older brother was killed. I think I wanted to put that war behind me.
WINNIPEG | MTC & MTYP | OCT & NOV 2010
Marlo Campbell |
UPTOWN MAGAZINE | ★★★★★
The battle scars you can’t see
Jake’s Gift is an
authentic, moving portrait of a Second World War veteran struggling with survivor’s guilt
A hit at the 2009 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, this one-woman play lives up to its hype.
Alison Mayes | WINNIPEG FREE PRESS | ★★★★½
Moving work a real
gift for audiences of all ages
Recently, my 13-year-old and I had a conversation about The Diary of
Anne Frank. We talked about how one person’s small-scale narrative can generate greater empathy and understanding
than a recitation of staggering statistics.
BC FALL TOUR | NOV 2009
Teresa Mallam | PRINCE GEORGE FREE
Jake’s Gift a true gift to the audience
Julia Mackey is an actor of
extraordinary talent. Following her beautifully poignant performance which notably fell on Remembrance Day…
WINNIPEG FRINGE FESTIVAL | JULY 2009
Katie Nicholson | CBC WINNIPEG
I’ll admit to having misgivings about the subject matter of Jake’s Gift. What, I wondered,
could this piece say about WWII that hasn’t been said a thousand times over? I hunkered down ready for a barrage of
tired cliches… more …
HALIFAX | SUPERNOVA FESTIVAL | MAY 2009
Elissa Barnard | CHRONICLE
HERALD | 15 May 2009
Mackey’s amazing transformations bring war home
Jake’s Gift, powerful Out of Frame make for fascinating, thoughtful journey
SuperNova Theatre Festival’s pair of one-person stories about
war makes for a fascinating journey, one emotional, the other intellectual…
CHAUTAQUA FESTIVAL | JULY 2009
Bowditch | SOUTHWEST BOOSTER | July
Jake’s Gift a gift to all
Chautauqua unveiled a number of hidden gems
Chautauqua once again unearthed a hidden gem. “Jake’s Gift” proves without a doubt that some of the best talent in
Canada… more …
VICTORIA FRINGE FESTIVAL | AUG 2008
John Threlfall | MONDAY
MAGAZINE | ★★★★★
If you missed Julia Mackey’s award-winning debut at the Fringe last year, or her
return to this year’s UNO Fest, please, please, don’t pass up the chance to see Jake’s Gift…
MONTREAL – WILDSIDE FESTIVAL – JAN 2008
Pat Donnelly | THE MONTREAL
Former Montrealer, Julia Mackey, is making a triumphant return to her former hometown with
her solo play Jake’s Gift, which also opened at the Wildside this week. It’s a poignant piece, directed by Dirk Van
Stralen, about a Second World War veteran who visits Juno Beach on the 60th anniversary of D-Day.
Mackey plays the veteran, as well as the 10-year-old French girl who looks after his brother’s grave, and the girl’s
grandmother. It’s a play that wears its maple leaf on its sleeve.
Single-minded in its desire to pay homage to those who fought and died for their country, Jake’s Gift leads,
artfully and predictably, to a two-hanky ending.
EDMONTON FRINGE FESTIVAL | AUG 2008
Bryan Birtles | VUE WEEKLY |
Issue #669: The Fringe of What?
Jake’s Gift is a deeply moving play about a
young French girl and a Canadian war veteran who visit Juno Beach for the 60th anniversary of D Day. They strike up
an unlikely friendship and both learn about the losses and gains of war. A late addition to the festival, this play
was not even in the program and yet deservedly had a nearly full house on opening night. Julia Mackey, who wrote and
stars in the play, is an eminently watchable actor and her transformations between characters are stunning and
nuanced, right down to the perfectly angled arthritic fingers of Jake. This is one to watch.
Liz Nicholls | EDMONTON JOURNAL | ★★★★½
Contrary to popular belief,
it’s harder, not easier, to create dynamic theatrical experiences for people when their emotional alignment to the
subject matter is already firmly in place before the curtain goes up…