Tree Hugger at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Tree Hugger
Acacia Hall (10433 – 83 avenue) August 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23

An interview with Alyson Dicey

Allyson Dicey and Ellie Heath in Tree Hugger. Photo credit: Evan Smith

Allyson Dicey and Ellie Heath in Tree Hugger. Photo credit: Evan Smith

Describe your show in five words. 

Magical, whimsical, inspirational, educational, fun!

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Billie is about to make the biggest decision of her 11 year old life when she meets Charlie, a scrawny tree that lives on the other side of the fence on her family’s Christmas tree farm. Charlie’s great dream is to become a Christmas tree, but with his small stature and thin-limbed branches, he doubts that he’ll ever make it a reality. Billie’s eleventh birthday marks the time when she must decide if she wants to go to public school, or continue to be homeschooled on the farm. The two navigate through these issues together, while spending a summer underneath the stars, and learn many important lessons along the way. Most importantly: to have a best friend is to be a best friend.

This is Foundation Theatre’s first show – can you tell us a bit about the company and your mandate?

We founded our idea for this company and show over nachos and friendship at the Foundation restaurant in Vancouver. We hope that each subsequent show we create combines the same mixture of fluidity, companionship and tasty ingredients that we experienced over our first plate of nachos. Most importantly, we are actors, creating theatre that is fun and challenging for us and the audience!

The term “tree hugger” has negative connotations – or, at least, it did. Can you tell us a bit about the decision to name the show Tree Hugger. 

While we understand the implications of the title Tree Hugger, it was ultimately decided upon in the most positive, literal sense of the term. While there are opinions that people will associate with the title, it is meant in a playful sense and less as a political statement. We want  to reclaim the term “Tree Hugger” in a positive sense. This play is light hearted and family friendly. Our mandate as a company is to create shows that are fun and thought provoking for the audience as well as the players on stage. If we’re having fun, so are you!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Tree Hugger is family friendly! It has a strong message about friendship, and growing up. There is audience interaction in the show. There is a puppet (designed by Syd Gross) in the show. Original music (by Jesse Northey) is a huge part of the show. Tree Hugger is visually exciting and dynamic!

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Steve Pirot has been a huge supporter of Tree Hugger, as we did a reading of it at Nextfest 2014 and he encouraged us to keep going with it! Sheiny Satanove at Punctuate! Theatre has been a big help. It is my first time producing a show, as she has been giving me some tips and advice along the way. Jesse Northey of Jesse and the Dandelions has created original music for Tree Hugger.

Morgan Smith is also in Ligature Marks at the Fringe. Sydney Gross is also a part of Gossamer Obsessions at the Fringe. Ellie Heath is also in One More Time at the Well of Stories at the Fringe.

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at


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