From Art to the Arts, and Musicals, Too

The massive complex in the heart of Charlottetown might seem a tiny bit intimidating on first glance – imposing architecture, a full city block, four large sandstone cubes. But once you’ve stepped onto the property of Confederation Centre of the Arts, you soon sense the people-friendly atmosphere that permeates this cultural centre that is officially Canada’s memorial to the founding fathers. Visitors enjoy ice cream and a live brass quintet, families crowd into the amphitheatre for a rousing (and free) noontime show by a corps of young “triple threats,” and culture buffs study public works of art.

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Venture inside and the fun continues. Newly opened in 2015 is “The Story of Confederation,” a startlingly realistic replica (also free) of the original Confederation Chamber, where the 1864 Charlottetown Conference discussions led to the creation of a country. The original chamber in Province House next door is currently closed for conservation work, but the first-rate film and interpretation provide a full and entertaining explanation of nation building Canadian style. For more on Confederation, visitors take in a vignette or walking tour with the Confederation Players, easily recognized by their warm wool suits and charming gowns – really the only folks around town wearing top hats and carrying fluttering fans.

Stepping across the pavilion and into Confederation Centre Art Gallery, you find yourself in a completely new setting, surrounded by contemporary art exhibits and historical artifacts. The exhibits extend from the four upstairs galleries into the lower concourse of the complex, and the classic Brutalist-style architecture of the 1964 building protects the treasure trove of culture within, but a pleasant surprise in the partly underground hallways is the beautiful light-filled, marble-clad space called Memorial Hall, where the founding of Canada is officially commemorated.

It’s not possible to leave Confederation Centre without taking in some live theatre. The Charlottetown Festival is noted for its first-class Canadian musicals, most famously for Guinness-record setting Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™, in 2016 running alongside the blockbuster Mamma Mia! and Soulpepper’s latest success Spoon River. With tickets in hand, fully inspired by visual art and historical anecdotes, it seems a perfect moment to settle at a table in Mavor’s courtyard – the finest outdoor dining in the city – with dinner and a drink before the show.

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Art for Music, Space and Time

Art for Music is a celebration of achievement in the visual arts and media. The performance at The Guild will feature four young, up-and-coming Island artists: Jenna Cyr, Angelina MacKinnon, Julia Dunn, and Emma Doucette. Art for Music is happening on Thursday, May 19th, at 7:30pm.

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During the event, Music PEI will be presenting industry awards for Media Person of the Year and Visual Artist of the Year. This year’s nominees for Media Person of the Year are: Blair Arthur Dewar, Karen Mair, Mikey Wasnidge, Todd Maclean.

The 2016 nominees for Visual Artist of the Year are: Sandy Kowalik, Ryan Hutchinson (Visual Communicator), sixeyedcatprintco.

The Gallery at The Guild will feature an exhibit with work from the Visual Artist nominees.

Admission is by donation.

Here Come the Fiddlers

The fiddlers are coming, the fiddlers are coming – from all across the Island to perform in PEI Fiddlers in Concert at Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside on National Fiddle Day, May 21, 2016.

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PEI Fiddlers in Concert is a unique opportunity to see and hear so many of your famous and favorite fiddlers and their tunes, including highlighting our most proficient fiddlers and stepdancers.

A great fun evening for the whole family to enjoy the young and old who carry on the great island tradition of fiddle playing. And we insist on clapping and toe tapping!!

A Musical Mess Up at the Guild

An obsession with Debbie Harry of Blondie turns awkward during a meeting after a concert. The sweet and sour notes of a father teaching his daughter how to play guitar. A musical mess up at a small town beauty pageant nets a prize. Do musical tastes predict compatibility in love?

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Seven people will share how music has helped shape their lives in ‘Playlist’: Dave Atkinson, Laurie Brinklow, Lindsay Carroll, Laura Chapin, Gordon Cobb, Lori Mayne and Dave Stewart.

“I ran a similar show in Prince Rupert, BC for three years when I was living out there,’ says ‘Playlist’ producer and participant Laura Chapin. ‘It became a very popular event that I was sure would work here.” The main difference with the PEI monologue show is that a theme focused around music has been added, giving the program a through line and a subject for the participants to work with.

“Our first read -throughs were such a delight, with one piece echoing another in small but surprising ways,’ says Chapin. ‘I think everyone came away from the rehearsal feeling pretty excited. We can’t wait to share this show. And I think people will come away from this show thinking about what music has meant to their lives too.”

Proceeds from the 90-minute show on May 14 at 8 PM will go to support PEI Literacy Allianceʼs Summer Tutoring Program for Kids

Raffi Brings Baby Beluga to PEI

Raffi is a singer, songwriter, producer, author, lecturer, and tireless advocate for children. He is best known for his work as a children’s entertainer whose string of gold and platinum-selling recordings in North America includes his classic song, “Baby Beluga”.

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Once called “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world” (Washington Post) and “Canada’s all time children’s champion” (Toronto Star), Raffi is also a recipient of the Order of Canada and the United Nations’ Earth Achievement Award.

He has never advertised to children or made any commercial endorsements. His commitment to treating his young fans with respect changed society’s outlook on music made for children.

In 2010, Raffi founded The Centre for Child Honouring on Salt Spring Island, BC. With the motto “Respecting Earth & Child,” the Centre is at the heart of a global movement that views honouring children as the best way to create sustainable, peacemaking societies.

Don’t miss RAFFI and his Beluga Grads Concert LIVE at the Confederation Centre for the Arts on May 15th at 2 PM! Sing along to your favourites like Baby Beluga, Down By The Bay, Bananaphone and many more !

Proceeds benefit The Centre for Child Honouring.

Mary Poppins Lands in Charlottetown

Charlottetown Rural High School is proud to present Mary Poppins, the stage musical adapted by Cameron Mackintosh in 1993. Join us as Mary Poppins and her friend Bert lead the Banks family to break with social conventions and re-discover the real wonder of life before it’s too late!

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Mary Poppins needs almost no introduction. The Disney movie released in August of 1964 quickly set box office records as audiences fell in love with the magical arrival of Mary Poppins, complete with talking parrot umbrella and bottomless carpet bag, to take over as nanny to Jane and Michael Banks. With the help of her multi-talented friend Bert, Mary and the children set out each day on a series of adventures all over Edwardian London, circa 1910. Through many escapades, a near run on the bank where Mr. Banks works and in the midst of a dysfunctional home, Mary and Bert lead the whole Banks family to re-discover the true possibilities of life against the backdrop of social conditions, industrial capitalism and the suffragette movement of the day.

The movie’s audience appeal spread across all ages, garnered 13 Academy Nominations and Awards, a host of other film awards and was selected in 2013 for preservation in the National Film Registry for its historic and cultural relevance. A less-known fact about the movie is that it provided the huge financial backing Walt Disney used to purchase land in Florida and build Walt Disney World.

In 1993, Cameron Mackintosh acquired the rights to produce a stage adaptation of Mary Poppins from the author of the original books, P.L. Travers. In 2004, the musical opened in the West End, London and in 2006 the Broadway version opened in New York where it continued until 2013 when it closed to make room for the new production of Aladdin. In late 2014, Mary Poppins became available for amateur performance, perfect timing for Charlottetown Rural!

Mary Poppins is at the Confederation Centre on May 12, 13, and 14 at 7 PM.

A Watermark on the Coast

The artists and staff of the Watermark Theatre on the coast of North Rustico believe our province is a better place to live in and visit because it has a fine classical theatre company. Programs for students, seniors, summer residents, visitors and residents enrich and support our lives. They give us access to some of the greatest thinkers in history, thrilling art work and stories from our own rich history.

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We believe that this excellent art work should be available at a low price so that everyone who wants to enjoy it can. To provide this access, community members volunteer time and donate money, staff and management work for minimum wage or honorariums, volunteer time and donate money; professional artists from across Canada provide top class work for minimum wages.

The Watermark Theatre produces the finest professional classical theatre in P.E.I. You’ll find the greatest works of English, American, and European Literature on our intimate thrust stage in North Rustico, all at incredibly affordable prices.