Who are these peculiar blue men and what are they doing in the Okanagan? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Who are these peculiar blue men and what are they doing in the Okanagan?

These blue men were in Armstrong, Aug. 27, to raise awareness about the Okanagan's wetlands.
Image Credit: TWITTER/@runawaymoonbc

Look to the rivers and streams around the North Okanagan and you may notice a group of paper-mache masked blue men staring silently back at you.

In the last few weeks, residents have noticed the figures at Fintry Provincial Park, and artist and participant Mariel Belanger said a group of mask wearers have donned the outfits to raise awareness about Okanagan wetlands.

The blue men idea began with Runaway Moon Theatre’s Cathy Stubbington, based in Enderby, who is the artistic director, creator and mask designer of the silent, outdoor performances.

Last year, Stubbington, along with other people, performed around B.C. in places being affected by climate change and environmental damage like Fairy Creek, Belanger said.

Blue men performers preparing for a presentation in Armstrong, Aug. 27.
Blue men performers preparing for a presentation in Armstrong, Aug. 27.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Mariel Belanger

Those performances have been expanded this year to locations around the North Okanagan including Fintry Provincial Park, SilverStar Mountain, Juniper Bay Beach and Ellison Provincial Park.

“It’s to bring awareness to the wetlands," Belanger said. "The blue people are people and they’re exploring the wetlands and they are reacting to their surroundings for the first time."

Today’s group of 20 people donned costumes and stationed themselves in Armstrong from Huculak Park to Okanagan Street near Meighan Creek, Aug. 27.

The group doesn’t have any planned upcoming events. “It’s impromptu, we kind of go where the wind calls us,” Belanger said.

“I really appreciate the work Cathy does and how she approaches creatively and recycling and how she’s making the masks… when she asked me to become a part of it I said ‘yes’ because the masks are cool and I like to disturb people.”

While in the masks, the performers don’t speak so some people have approached them and became angry when they didn’t respond.

“When you try to take theatre outside of the stage, people question your sanity,” Belanger laughed.


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