Travis Harfield is an outgoing and smiling seven-year-old and at his young age seems to be adapting well to the stage.
Travis, a Sidney Elementary School student, is playing Tiny Tim in this month’s Peninsula Players’ production of A Christmas Carol: the Panto. With his custom-made crutch and Charlie Brown Christmas tree, Travis really chews the scenery during rehearsal — which is what an actor is supposed to do in an over-the-top pantomime.
Travis came to the role after his parents, Beverley and Tyler, asked him if acting would be something he was interested in. It was an important decision, because Travis is still making friends after his family moved to Sidney — and Canada — after living in the U.K. for a decade.
Tyler and Beverley are both originally from Sidney. After high school, Tyler said he wanted to travel and see the world. Beverley said she went to England to be with her family. The two young people met, continued to travel together and would eventually get married.
They also decided to adopt a child and start a family together.
Adoption in the U.K., however, was not an easy process.
“We were part of a nine-month program, a pre-adoptive program,” Tyler said, adding Travis at that time had been deemed not a good candidate for adoption.
Tyler, however, works with children (he’s a teacher on call in School District 63 right now) and teens who are in the autism spectrum. Beverley is a private tutor. They outlasted the adoption program and what they saw as an overworked and understaffed system in the U.K.
“Travis made so much progress in the program,” Tyler continued. “He was their statistical star.”
In all, it took more than a year for the couple to adopt Travis. And once that process was complete, the adoption official, Tyler said the new family looked at taking a trip wit the money they had saved up. They decided to come back to Sidney and visit family — and that fateful choice set in motion a big move.
“This is where I grew up,” Tyler said, “so it’s where I would want to raise my son.”
They enjoyed a great summer and decided to move back to Canada. They had a lot of support from family and friends, who helped set them up with furniture and more in a new home in Sidney.
Their biggest worry was how Travis would adjust to his new home.
So far they said, so good. He’s making new friends at school and is really enjoying theatre with the Peninsula Players. Tyler said he’s a bit of an actor himself and it’s nice to see his son taking to it so readily.
Travis said he’s enjoying the acting and likes the role of Tiny Tim.
“He’s the one who is happy all the time,” Travis said.
He added he’s memorized all his lines and has learned to sing and dance as well.
Travis, who enjoys science and arts at school, also likes that he sometimes gets to stay up late while performing. Mom and dad make sure he gets his rest, however.
“He really is a talented little boy,” Beverley said.
A Christmas Carol: the Panto, runs Dec. 19 to 21 and 26 and 27 at the Mary Winspear Centre.