Creator and Director: Opal (Jennifer Elchuk)

Artists: Sammi Blanchard, Jeffrey Cadence, Kollene Drummond, Jay Edmunds, Jess Gentle, Victoria Kopf, Ceinwen Perks, Kayla Stanistreet, and Thomas Vaccaro

The Flying Canoe, presented by the Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts, tells the story of a French-Canadian folktale, the Chasse-Galerie (“The Flying Canoe”), with live fiddle music by Jay Edmunds. Brought to life through live theatre, dance, fire spinning, and acrobatics, the piece follows four lonely woodcutters who strike a deal with the devil. Witness the spectacle, the woodcutters’ comical, action-packed adventures, and their dealings with a fiery devil as they traverse an innovative circus apparatus—the aerial canoe—rigged to the roof of The Canadian Canoe Museum atop the Grand Portage. Performers include Opal (Jennifer Elchuk), Kayla Stanistreet, Jeffrey Cadence, and Victoria Kopf as the woodcutters, Thomas Vaccaro as the devil, and dancers Sammi Blanchard, Jess Gentle, Ceinwen Perks, and Kollene Drummond.



Artist Biographies

Opal (Jennifer Elchuk)

Opal (Jennifer Elchuk) took up aerial circus in 2012.  Prior to this, she completed degrees in Visual Arts and Education and spent 7 years guiding wilderness canoe trips, painting, and practicing Contact Improv dance.  A continuation of her site-specific body of work, The Flying Canoe brings together the spirit of adventure she has found in all of these practices.  Previous productions include Elements (2016) and Lepidoptery (2015) for Artsweek Peterborough and Creatures of Flight for Erring on the Mount (2014).  Opal is currently an instructor, director, program coordinator, and performer with The Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts.  She also performs aerial and fire dance with the Pyroflys.


Kayla Stanistreet

Kayla Stanistreet moved to Peterborough in 2008 to study at Trent University and stayed here for the community.  She fancies herself a yogi, adventurer, entrepreneur, and aerialist. She has been dangling from a multitude of apparatuses since 2014 and it has become an extension of her yoga practice.  Like yoga, she loves that aerial silks are playful, empowering, and super challenging. She recently brought these two practices together at Salti Yoga, where she offers aerial yoga classes.


Victoria Kopf

Victoria Kopf is a fish biologist by day and dabbles as a circus performer by night.  As an experienced rock climber and guide, she started taking classes under Opal’s talented instruction and her passion for this new form of movement has blossomed.  She and her partner Jeff are excited to be on stage together in The Flying Canoe.  Victoria hopes to continue working with the circus community at every opportunity!





Jeffrey Cadence

Jeffrey Cadence encourages others to express themselves as part of his psychotherapy practice, and expresses himself through movement on stage.  He was first drawn to aerials when looking for a form of expressive arts to participate in with his partner Victoria. After climbing rocks for over 15 years and introducing many others to that activity, climbing silks and ropes fit right in to his repertoire.  Jeff is thoroughly thankful to be a part of the

circus community in Peterborough!



Thomas Vaccaro

Thomas Vaccaro was born in the United States and moved to Canada after marrying his husband in 2008.  He studied Japanese language at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, which he never really did anything with beyond watching anime.  He dabbled with writing comic books and other artsy projects until he found Circus Arts in 2009. Since then, he has become a champion fire dancer, a graduate from the National Circus School’s Instructor Program, and a full-time coach to many youth in the local area of Peterborough, Ontario.  His primary disciplines are flow arts, aerial silk, and cyr wheel.


Jay Edmunds

“Fiddling” Jay Edmunds has been playing, composing, teaching, and producing music on string instruments for more than two and a half decades.  He likes to play folk ukulele and classical guitar, hillbilly banjo, and jazz mandolin.  And, of course, fiddle music in the old-time Canadian style.  His hobbies include: juggling ukuleles, flipping flapjacks, and growing a lumberjack beard.

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