The Book of my Shames

Presented in Partnership with the Living Things Festival

RESCHEDULED FOR July 22-24, 2021!

About the Show

Opera Kelowna is proud to introduce its new Studio Production series with a groundbreaking Canadian work.

The original solo show The Book of My Shames is thoughtful, raw and honest, with achingly funny turns. It is powered by the glowing vocals of Canadian opera star Isaiah Bell, following him through the challenges of growing up in a restrictive fundamentalist commune, making bad choices in men, and pursuing a life on the stage. Combining rapid-fire monologues and personal stories with an unorthodox array of music old and new, this “comic, wrenching, and personal tour-de-force” reminds us that desire, rejection, and acceptance are themes common to us all… Isaiah just does it with a bit of glitz, some operatic pathos, and a campy wink.

The Book of My Shames premiered at Tapestry Opera in 2019 and has been developed with the support of Pacific Opera Victoria and Intrepid Theatre.

Notice: this production deals with difficult and sensitive subject matter.


Tickets on sale now!


Performance Information:

July 22, 23, & 24, 2021

7:30 pm

90 minute run time

note: the July 23rd performance will have cameras at it, and it is possible that some image of audience may inadvertently be recorded.



$46 per person

Seating is at small tables on the stage of the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Ticket availability is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Tickets are sold by table. Each table can be purchased with 2, 3, or 4 seats, and must be purchased by a single patron. No additional seats will be sold at that table, and each table is distanced 10′ from those around it, to ensure COVID-19 safe distancing, and patron comfort.

Tickets are non-refundable.



Isaiah Bell

Creator, Composer & Principal performer

Isaiah Bell is a Canadian-American tenor, composer, and writer. Recently he combined these disciplines in his critically acclaimed solo show, The Book of My Shames; in the performance on film of his original translation/adaptation of Poulenc’s solo opera La voix humaine (a “finely tuned performance, so perfectly married to his own sensitive and intelligent adaptation” – Opera Canada); and in hybrid concept recitals across Canada. Previously Isaiah starred in the premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company, and appeared with the Edinburgh Festival, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and at Lincoln Center. His upcoming season includes world premieres at Opéra de Montréal and Carnegie Hall.

SeanGuist headshot1

Sean Guist

Creator & Director

Co-Creator and Director of The Book of My Shames, Sean Guist is Co-Artistic & Marketing Director of Intrepid Theatre in Victoria, BC/Lekwungen Territory. Administrator by day and queer artist, producer and director by night, Sean is the founding Curator of Intrepid Theatre’s OUTstages queer theatre festival, and has created new residency programs for local artists, and fostered new work through cabarets, emerging artist programs, and mentorship opportunities. Recent directing credits include readings of Sunday in Sodom (Belfry Theatre SPARK Festival), The Empress (Theatre Outre), Tom at the Farm (Puente Theatre) and productions of Side by Side Sondheim and Down Dangerous Passes Road (independent). Sean can be seen on drag stages as the bearded queen, Woofie, and has created queer events in non-traditional queer spaces like the sold-out drag show hit, Drag, Queers & Beers at Phillips Beer.


Rosemary Thomson

Music Director & Piano

Rosemary Thomson is thrilled to be presenting The Book of My Shames as her first show as Artistic Director for Opera Kelowna. She is passionate about opera as a collaborative art form where the layers of text, music, voice, instruments, and drama offer infinite possibilities for musical storytelling.
Rosemary spent four seasons as Assistant Conductor to Richard Bradshaw at the Canadian Opera Company and also trained in opera at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has been on the faculty of the Opera Nuova training program for fifteen seasons and guest conducted for Opera Garden in Scotland, Calgary Opera, Highlands Opera, UBC Opera, and most recently for
Tapestry Opera in Toronto where she was nominated for a Dora award as Music Director for the world premiere of Shanawdithit. Rosemary is also in her fifteenth season as Music Director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. She has received the Kelowna Honour in the Arts civic award and was recently recognized with the provincial Community Spirit award from the BC
Achievement Foundation.

Kolby Zinger-Harris


Composer Kolby Zinger-Harris is from Kelowna, BC. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Music (Composition) at the University of Toronto, they have studied composition with Norbert Palej, James Rolfe, and Gary Kulesha. Kolby collaborated with six other composers to create the new opera Prima Zombie for the University of Toronto Opera Company. Another highlight includes Kolby’s song cycle Precarious, based on texts by Toronto poet Aparna Halpé, which was performed in 2018 as part of the Music Gallery’s Emergents series in collaboration with the Sounds of Silence Initiative, a commissioning project with the goal of highlighting poets who identify with marginalized communities. Kolby is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Musicology at the University of Toronto. Their research, funded by SSHRC, focuses on LGBTQ+ labour and representation in new music, with the goal of creating more opportunities for LGBTQ+ musicians and creators in contemporary opera. Kolby was delighted to work with Isaiah Bell to rescore The Book of My Shames from piano to chamber ensemble.


Nicole Malcolm

Lighting Design

Nicole Malcolm (she/her) is an interdisciplinary Métis artist whose work now takes place primarily on the Coast Salish Territories in and Lekwungen speaking people, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations in Victoria, BC.  A prairie-born horizon-enthusiast, she received a BFA in Stage Management & Technical Theatre (Lighting Design) from the University of Regina in 2007. From 2003-09, Nicole worked in stage management, festival coordination, lighting design, and technical direction with companies including Youth Ballet Company of Saskatchewan, New Dance Horizons, Nightwind Theatre’s Aboriginal Youth Playwrights Festival, Saskatchewan Playwrights Festival, Theatre Calgary, Citadel Theatre, and Banff Centre. In 2005 she co-founded Hectik Theatre, a Saskatchewan indie theatre company with a mandate to present edgy, thought-provoking and entertaining theatrical experiences that challenge both the audience and the artists involved.  When not lighting designing or creating new absurd works of storytelling, Nicole is the Director of Marketing & Communications at Pacific Opera Victoria, and a performer / instructor at Paper Street Theatre specializing in the empowering non-performers with tools from the stage.


Featuring a chamber orchestral ensemble

Photo: Dahlia Katz

COVID Safety Protocols

  • COVID Safety Protocols will be updated based on provincial guidelines
  • All tickets are sold by table.  Each table can be purchased with 2, 3, or 4 seats, and must be purchased by a single patron.  No additional seats will be sold at that table
  • Performers will be minimum 15′ distance from patrons
  • There will be no intermission and no re-entry (performance time is estimated at 75 minutes)
  • All patrons will wear masks unless seated
  • Additional measures will be introduced as needed, based on public health guidelines.
  • All COVID safety instructions will be available with tickets

Please contact us for more information.

This Production is made possible by a Project Grant from the BC Arts Council

Thank you to our generous sponsors.

Opera Kelowna is a non-profit society made possible by these generous sponsors. Please view our support page if you would like to learn more about how you can help support the Arts in our community.