Luke Ignace is 1st Recipient of Erskine Smith Award

Luke Ignace is the inaugural recipient of the Erskine Smith Memorial Award for the Performing Arts at Holland College.

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Despite clearly possessing a talent for theatre, Luke had never considered a career in the performing arts before age fifteen. He was a member of a dance troupe in his native Bahamas, but his plan for post-secondary education was to study marine engineering at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute. Those plans were forever changed when he was spotted dancing by Gloria McGlone, the woman who would become his mentor and benefactor. Ms. McGlone encouraged him to audition for a production of Fame at the Regency Theatre in Freeport. He did and was cast in the role of Tyrone.

Over the next three years, Luke performed parts in several Bahamian plays, as well as the playing Scar in The Lion King.

Eager to develop his talents, Luke applied to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City for a five-week intensive summer course. Shortly thereafter, he applied and was accepted to Holland College’s School of Performing Arts.

International living and student expenses can be daunting and Luke is very grateful to all those who made gifts in support of the Erskine Smith Memorial Award which has helped to make it possible for him to pursue his career in theatre.

Luke’s future plans may include further study of the dramatic arts at the National Theatre School in Montreal. He recently auditioned for a place there. But wherever he ends up next year, he ultimately wants to build on his education and experience before returning to the Bahamas with a view to making a significant contribution to the performing arts in his native country.

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Stop Start Secret Citadel

Opening this month at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery is a traveling exhibition from one of Canada’s most exciting young artists. Graeme Patterson: Secret Citadel explores the trials and tribulations of male friendship through a four part sculptural/video installation and an experimental stop-motion animated narrative.

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Based in Sackville, New Brunswick, Patterson works in miniatures, using tiny figures to explore much bigger themes and stories. Although based on specific memories of the artist’s past, Secret Citadel draws you into its captivating worlds by highlighting universal themes of love and loss, play and competition, companionship and loneliness.

An anthropomorphized bison and cougar represent two boys in the artist’s visual coming-of-age tale that is as playful as it is poignant. Mountain begins their journey. This large wooden and fabric-covered mound connects Patterson’s and his friend’s miniature suburban homes, replicated with 1980s décor. The viewer can peek into the mountain to witness the boys’ creative meeting space. Their camaraderie continues in Camp Wakonda, two life-sized bunk beds with miniatures showing the boys playing games, chopping wood, and burning toys. Yet this childlike world is nuanced by the memory of a school bus crash and an archery match that ends in a fantasized death, hinting at the rivalry to come in adolescence.

Grudge Match overtly shows the competitive nature of teenage boys through a miniature wrestling match, locker room, and gym tucked beneath life-sized bleachers. The last sculptural piece, Player Piano Waltz, is an upright working piano that plays a haunting melody for a lone. Through the windows, the viewer glimpses different vignettes of these now estranged friends in adulthood: riding an elevator, sitting in a bar alone, recalling the old days. Devastating yet beautiful, this last piece mourns the end of two friends and the isolated worlds of adulthood.

Patterson’s many accomplishments include being shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and two nationally touring exhibitions. Co-curated by Melissa Bennett and Sarah Fillmore, Secret Citadel is on tour from the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

The exhibition opens June 11 and shows until September 25, 2016. Patterson will be present and provide remarks at the Art Gallery’s Opening Gala for the Summer Exhibitions, which takes place Saturday June 18 at 7 p.m. at Confederation Centre.

Urban Cowboy Comes to Summerside

The “original urban cowboy”, Mickey Gilley, will be playing a limited number of selected concert dates in Canada in 2016, and his stops in the Maritimes will be his first in over 30 years.

It was “Stand By Me”, from the blockbuster film “Urban Cowboy” in 1980 that catapulted Gilley from country to pop crossover superstar, taking him out of the shadow of his famous cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.

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As he shares with audiences his career in music and the stories behind the hit songs, it was the 70′s that brought him most of his signature songs, awards and accolades. He is the recipient of six Academy of Country Music Awards, from his first in 1974 – Top New Male Vocalist, to Entertainer of the Year in 1976. Gilley is also famous for his namesake nightclub with the legendary mechanical bull and was one of the first artists to open a theatre in Branson, Missouri, which he successfully operated for over 26 years.

The legendary singer has achieved seventeen #1 singles in his long career including “Room Full of Roses”, “City Lights”, “Fool for Love”, “Don’t the Girls Get Prettier at Closing Time” and his remake of the soul standard “Stand By Me”.

Join Mickey Gilley in concert along with his legendary “Urban Cowboy Band” and talented backup vocalists “The Urbanettes”. His show is a virtual trip down memory lane with classic video clips that segue into the live performance of favourites, “True Love Ways”, “A Headache Tomorrow (Or a Heartache Tonight)”, “Lonely Nights” and “Put Your Dreams Away” – songs that set in motion the amazing career of this Oklahoma born veteran performer!

Mickey Gilley is at the Harbourfront Theatre on Friday, June 17, at 7 PM

‘Winner Takes All’ Fun Facts

Mamma Mia! has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide. It has opened in more major cities faster than any other musical in theater history. So far, it has had productions in over 325 cities including Melbourne, Barcelona, Stockholm, Tokyo, Seoul and Moscow

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Mamma Mia! isn’t the first attempt at employing the ABBA catalogue for a stage musical. Abbacadabra was originally a French TV special that employed ABBA songs with altered French lyrics to tell classic fairy tales. In 1983, it was adapted to the London stage and ran for eight weeks. It’s probably most notable for being the first show that British stage star Elaine Paige did after Cats.

According to Variety, the play’s original producer Judy Craymer and writer Catherine Johnson “were broke when they first tried to put the show together and were even snubbed by the Swedish pop group whose music formed the basis for the show. They are now two of the wealthiest women in England.” Craymer met ABBA’s songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson when the two were working on the musical Chess with lyricist Tim Rice in 1983. Craymer was inspired by “The Winner Takes It All” to use the ABBA songs in a musical-theater format. The Swedish team were not initially enthusiastic about the idea, but they did not rule out the idea. In 1997, Craymer commissioned Johnson to write the book for the musical.

The 2008 film version of Mamma Mia! starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Stellan Skarsgard is the highest-grossing live-action movie musical of all time in terms of worldwide gross, taking in over $600 million.

During one particularly loving year (2005), eight female cast members of the Broadway company got engaged and three cast members got married.

The London company of Mamma Mia! supplies Lycra for the Super Trouper costumes for all the international productions. Their orders for the fabric saved an Italian mill from going out of business.

Mamma Mia! was the first Mandarin-language production of a Western musical in China when it opened at the Shanghai Grand Theatre in July 11, 2011. The production then toured to Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Xian and back to Shanghai.

Photo Show Opens at the Guild

The PEI Photo Club has undergone several incarnations. The first Camera Club, organized by Roland Taylor in 1937, was short-lived. With the help of Vic Runtz, Roland organized the Charlottetown Camera Club after the end of World War II and supported it for many years. The club currently presents an annual Roland Taylor Award in his honour. The club saw a new birth in 1982 as the Monday Night Club, but the name didn’t stick so the group called itself the PEI Photo Club.

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Richard Carson writes: “The ‘pros’ like Carmen Paynter of the PEI Photo Lab, Rollie Taylor of Taylor’s Jewellers who sold Minoltas, and George Wotton were a great help to the members in the early years of the new club.”

Over the years, the Club has benefited from the membership of a Who’s-Who of Island business owners, teachers and commercial photographers, and today it is proud of the diversity of its members ranging from high school students to retirees, from those using point-and-shoot cameras to those who have invested in professional gear.

The 34th Annual PEI Photo Club Print Show opens at the Guild on June 8th. The photo club is grateful to all of the sponsors and volunteers who make this show possible.

Antonine Maillet Awarded Symons Medal

Renowned Acadian novelist, playwright, broadcaster, and scholar, Antonine Maillet, C.C. is the winner of the 2016 Symons Medal, one of Canada’s most prestigious honours, Confederation Centre of the Arts announced today

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Confederation Centre – Canada’s national memorial to the founding of the country – presents the Symons Medal each year to recognize a distinguished person who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Previous recipients of this award include His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; His Excellency Governor General David Johnston; former Prime Minister Paul Martin; President of the national Inuit organization, Mary Simon; broadcaster and environmental leader, David Suzuki; and former Quebec Premier, Jean Charest.

Born in 1929 in Bouctouche, New Brunswick, Maillet is one of the most celebrated writers in Canadian literature. Her play La Sagouine (1971), which celebrates the rich, colourful, and distinctive culture of Canada’s Acadian people, has become a classic of French-language theatre in this country. Her 1979 novel Pélagie-la-Charette was the first work by a non-European to win the Prix Goncourt, France’s greatest literary prize. This story charts the triumphant return home of the Acadian people after the 1755 Expulsion, and made Maillet an overnight success in France, where it sold over a million copies.

Since the breakthroughs of La Sagouine and Pélagie-la-Charette, Maillet has been one of the most respected figures in French-language literature in Canada, publishing over 20 novels, numerous plays, and several translations (including French translations of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Bernard Shaw). Her remarkable body of writing, translated into numerous languages, is an immense contribution to literature in Canada and throughout the world, and makes her an unofficial but much-beloved, world-wide ambassador for the Acadian people.

In 1999, composer and lyricist Vincent de Tourdonnet brought Maillet’s Pélagie to Confederation Centre where the developing musical was workshopped. Pélagie-la-Charette became a successful musical produced in both French and English that toured several venues in Canada.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, CEO Jessie Inman, and Professor Tom Symons, for whom this lecture is named, we are elated to announce Antonine Maillet as the recipient of the 16th Symons Medal,” says Chairman of the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust, Wayne Hambly. “Mme Maillet is a leading creative voice for Canada, a writer of great renown, and a global champion for Acadians everywhere. We welcome her return to Confederation Centre this fall.”

Maillet is a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the French Légion d’Honneur, a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres de France, a member of the Order of New Brunswick, and an Officer of the Order of Quebec. She has received over 20 literary awards and prizes, including the Governor General’s Award for Literature, and the Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of Canada. In 1992, she was appointed a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. From 1989 to 2001 she served as Chancellor of the Université de Moncton.

Maillet’s Symons Medal Ceremony will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016 in the Homburg Theatre. Tickets to attend the recipient’s medal ceremony and lecture will be made available through the Centre’s Box Office at a later date. For more information, please visit confederationcentre.com/symonsmedallecture and follow event updates on social media @confedcentre and via #Symons2016.

Since 2004, Confederation Centre has honoured 15 distinguished Symons Medalists. Held each fall to mark the 1864 meetings of the Fathers of Confederation, the medal ceremony creates a national platform for a prominent Canadian to discuss the nation’s current state and future prospects.

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

I’ve been cheated by you since I don’t know when
So I made up my mind, it must come to an end

Look at me now, will I ever learn?
I don’t know how but I suddenly lose control
There’s a fire within my soul

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Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, ohohoho

Mamma mia, here I go again
My, my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My, my, just how much I’ve missed you

Yes, I’ve been broken-hearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?

Mamma mia, now I really know
My, my, I could never let you go

I’ve been angry and sad about the things that you do
I can’t count all the times that I’ve told you we’re through

And when you go, when you slam the door
I think you know that you won’t be away too long
You know that I’m not that strong

Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, ohohoho

Mamma mia, here I go again
My, my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My, my, just how much I’ve missed you

Yes, I’ve been broken-hearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?

Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye, bye, leave me now or never
Mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye, bye doesn’t mean forever

Mamma mia, here I go again
My, my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My, my, just how much I’ve missed you

Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?

Mamma mia, now I really know
My, my, I could never let you go