One night in late August of 1963, in the prairie town of Millard we meet 14 year old Jeanne McCate: her sixteen year old sister is pregnant; her Dad has been drinking; her Mom has been swearing; and Jeanne is hanging on for dear life in her own hilarious and heartfelt way… and all before the big dance! Caught between her own family crisis, community mores and the limits of family loyalty, Jeanne turns to pop songs, 45s and her imagination to, as her mother says, “pull herself together.”

Shangri-La Performance Trailer

Shangri-La premiered to sold-out audiences in the fall of 2013 as part of the 2013/2014 Shumiatcher Sandbox Series at Regina’s Globe Theatre. Shangri-La was written and created by Judy Wensel, directed by Michelle Kennedy, with dramaturgical guidance from Denise Clarke and Michelle Kennedy. Original production set and costume design concept by Shaunna Dunn. Original production lighting design by Patrick James.


JUDY WENSEL| Playwright/Performer
Judy is a Regina-based actor, director, improviser, teacher and creator. Since receiving her BFA in Acting from the University of Regina she has been active at Regina’s Globe Theatre as an actor, director and theatre school instructor. Her theatre and improv work has brought her across North America working with such companies as Instant Theatre Company (Victoria, Vancouver), One Yellow Rabbit (Calgary), 2b Theatre (Halifax), Rapid Fire Theatre (Edmonton) and Philly Improv Theatre (Philadelphia). She also founded Regina’s Combat Improv in 2007 and was the show’s Co-Artistic Producer for five years. Judy’s work was nationally recognized in 2011, when she received the Stage West/Equity National Emerging Theatre Artist Award.
MICHELLE KENNEDY| Director & Dramaturge
Michelle is a director, writer, and producer from Edmonton. Favourite directing credits: Shangri-La (Globe Theatre) Trout Stanley, Apocalypse: A Period Piece, PornStar.USA, (Edmonton International Fringe Festival) Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom and the Fabulous Buddha Boi in both Edmonton and New York. She has been nominated for four of Elizabeth Sterling Haynes awards and won one for Outstanding Fringe Production. Michelle is in her fifth season at One Yellow Rabbit in Calgary and will follow that up by co-directing The Velveteen Rabbit with Chris Craddock at Fort Edmonton Park. Michelle holds a BA (Honours) Degree in Drama from the University of Alberta.

DENISE CLARKE | Dramaturge
Denise began working with One Yellow Rabbit of Calgary, Alberta in 1983 and became Associate Artist and a permanent member of the Ensemble in 1986. She has created or co-created several shows for including The Erotic Irony of Old Glory, Touch, CD Dance, Breeder, So Low, Permission, Featherland, Sign Language and Heavens to Murgatroid.
Denise created and became director of the Summer Lab Intensive School in 1997. She continues to teach, give master classes, and lecture, most recently at the University of Regina, Queens University, UC-Drama at the University of Toronto and the Quebec Drama Federation. Other work includes choreography for Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Citadel Theatre, Crows Theatre and the Canadian Stage Company.

The Buzz

“Wensel imbues her character with grit and bonafide substance.”
– Victoria Times Colonist

“The most charming piece of theatre I have seen in a long time.”
– CFUV Victoria

“She’s so good. Shangri-La is lovely. Go watch.”
– The Marble, Victoria

“Hilarious and smart… Wensel is an exceptional talent.”
– CVV Magazine

“This performance was amazing! Touching, hilarious and so real! I thoroughly enjoyed it!”
– Samantha Ecarnot, Vibank SK

“Judy Wensel had me transfixed throughout her performance. Funny and poignant, this is not a show you want to miss.”
– Sabrina Cataldo, Regina SK

“Moving, delightful, hilarious theatre by a brilliant lady with a huge heart.”
– Tess Degenstein, Toronto ON

“Judy Wensel is a gifted actor and writer who’s one-woman play Shangri-La broke box office records during its two-week run in the fall of 2013 as part of Globe Theatre’s Shumiatcher Sandbox Series. Judy’s performance was outstanding and her play about a young girl besotted with rock and roll and worried about her ‘reputation’ transported audiences back to the straight-laced, judgmental world of a small prairie town in the 1960’s. Shangri-La is a terrific performance and production by a rising star in Canadian theatre.”
– Ruth Smillie, Artistic Director, Globe Theatre, Regina SK

“This is a heart-warming play which engenders nostalgia for the 1960s whether you grew up in that era or are experiencing it for the first time through Wensel’s bubbly and conflicted teenage character. Music and dance punctuate this entertaining and original performance, but at the same time you come to appreciate the challenges faced by young women growing up in small town Canada of the sixties. Wensel’s engagingly animated performance takes you on a roller coaster sharing hopeful dreams and precious memories; laying bare human fallibility, family tensions, and personal anger–and in the end bringing you to value the importance of courage, integrity and loyalty in the face of small-minded ostracism. Wensel’s performance is not to be missed.”
– Mary Blackstone, Regina SK

“This one woman play rocked me back to those teenage years in a time with many rules and boundaries. Judy Wensel not only captured the essence of that time, she portrayed the confusion and thoughtfulness of an intelligent young woman caught between community mores and family realities. I thought her portrayal of these youthful struggles outstanding and I wouldn’t even think of missing anything she does in future. I think she will keep bringing creative freshness and depth to the stage. I laughed and laughed and was deeply touched by this production.”
– Joanne Crawford, Regina SK


To request a copy of the script or a weblink to see a full performance; for details regarding technical requirements or touring/booking information; or if you have any other queries please contact Judy Wensel at judywensel@sodhousetheatre.com