Raising Up Rita

Full Cast Announced For ‘DEAR RITA’ at The Charlottetown Festival

World premiere will feature six actor-musicians channeling Rita MacNeil’s songs and spirit

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Tickets are ‘flying on their own’ for this summer’s new cabaret production,Dear Rita, playing June 25 to September 25 at The Charlottetown Festival. Sponsored by Key Murray Law, Dear Rita is a musical toast to Canadian icon and songwriter Rita MacNeil that celebrates the life, tenacity, and musical legacy of the late singer.

This week, the company and creative team are gathering together for the first time to workshop the new musical. Artistic Director Adam Brazier is pleased to reveal the full cast, including Islanders Mike Ross and Michelle Bouey; Alana Bridgewater; Quinn Dooley; and Sheldon Elter. All five are veterans of the Festival, known to patrons for a wealth of beloved shows.

This marks Ross’ first time performing at the Festival in over a decade. A Charlottetown native, he is a leading force as a performer and composer in Canada. The founding director of music at Soulpepper Theatre Company, his musical, Spoon River was a critic’s pick in the New York Times. He was an international fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and also composes for the screen, having written the theme song for CBC’s Kim’s Convenience.

Dooley and Bouey’s repertory casting were both announced earlier this winter. Dooley recently appeared in the Grand’s Ring of Fire and performed in 2015’s Evangeline. Bouey recently performed in ROSE at Soulpepper and is an alumna of the TD Confederation Centre Young Company.

“It’s the kind of theatre that gives you more of a chance to connect with your audience,” she offers during a break from the workshop in Toronto. “I grew up listening to Rita McNeil and watching her Christmas TV specials. To think that a small group of us get to honour her legacy on East Coast soil is so special”

Sheldon Elter is a versatile actor, writer, musician, and comic, known nationally for his one man show, Metis Mutt, which he performed at the Festival in 2018. He also performed there inEvangeline and Stories from the Red-Dirt Road. His TV acting and writing credits include CAUTION: May Contain Nuts, Hank Williams’ First Nation, Delmer & Marta, and Hell on Wheels.

Alana Bridgewater has appeared at the Festival in Spoon River, Hairspray, and the Christmas panto Robyn Hood. An experienced professional, she has performed throughout North America with Soulpepper, Mirvish, and The Grand; live on live with Johnny Reid and others; and in TV and film.

Confederation Centre wishes to acknowledge the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. Experience it all, this summer at The Charlottetown Festival, sponsored by CIBC. Dear Rita is developed in association with the Savoy Theatre in Cape Breton, and will play there from October 1-4, following its run on P.E.I.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

When You Wish Upon a Star

SATURDAY, MARCH 14TH, 7:30 PM at the Harbourfront Theatre
Regular Tickets: $34.50 tax & fees included
Youth Tickets (19 and under): $17.50 tax & fees included

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Halifax-born, Toronto-based songwriter Ria Mae hits the road with her Stars Tour in support of her highly anticipated Stars EP and new single, “Too Close”, featuring Dan Talevski.

The EP Stars serves as a follow-up to the JUNO Award nominated pop album, My Love. The EP’s first single “Bend,” released summer 2017, became an instant hit skyrocketing to the top of the CBC Radio 2 charts for four weeks.  Shortly thereafter it catapulted up the Canadian radio charts reaching Top 5 at Hot AC, Top 10 at AC, and Top 15 CHR radio.  Together with its Platinum-certified debut “Bend” and follow-up “Red Light,” My Love garnered over 12 million combined worldwide streams. The EP was produced by Adam King at Canterbury Studios in Toronto, mixed by Grammy® Award-winning Engineer Joe Visciano, and mastered by Stuart Hawkes. It features several notable collaborators including: Tegan Quin (Tegan & Sara), Joel Stouffer, Serena Ryder, and Dylan Guthro (Port Cities).

Ria’s self-titled major label debut, released in 2016, features the Platinum-selling “Clothes Off” and the anthemic “Ooh Love” (certified Gold). The critically acclaimed album garnered multiple award nominations including ‘Single of the Year’ at the 2016 JUNO Awards and ‘Best New Canadian Artist’ at the iHeart Radio MMVAs.

Ria has toured Europe with Tegan & Sara, North America with Dido, and Canada with Scott Helman.  She has performed with Elle King, Xavier Rudd, Shawn Hook, Family of the Year, Francesco Yates, Coleman Hell and more. To date, Ria’s music has been streamed over 60 million times worldwide.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Keep On Keepin’ On

FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH, 2020 – 7:30 PM
All Seats: $65.00 (tax & fees included)

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The legendary Bay City Rollers’ Les McKeown is bringing his award-winning “Rollertastic” show to Canada!!! Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers promises to be a unique voyage back to the 1970s, when Les and his legendary band ruled the world’s pop charts and The Bay City Rollers’ music became the soundtrack for a generation of teenagers.

Les brings back all the thrill and excitement of Rollermania, performing all the original hits including “Saturday Night,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Shang-a-Lang,” “Remember,” “Summerlove Sensation” and “Give A Little Love” plus many more – as well as introducing new songs from the new album “Lost Songs”.  Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers brings a new energy to all the classic hits.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Ready to Fete

Confederation Centre Ready to Fete Winter Gallery Exhibitions

CCAG to host ‘Winter Gallery Opening’ March 7 celebrating five new exhibitions

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The Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) has a been a hive of activity recently, with five new shows being installed and a slate of ArtTalks on deck. The public will have a chance to explore the new exhibitions, with a Winter Gallery Opening being held March 7 at 7 p.m. at Confederation Centre, a national arts centre and living memorial to the nation’s founding.

All are welcome for the opening, a seasonal tradition, which is always a chance to experience the new works amidst a fun and social atmosphere. Expect live musical entertainment and refreshments, and even a chance to chat with some of the artists and curators involve. The event begins at 7 p.m. and there is no cost to attend.

On the brain, and the shape of things

One of the new shows is the collections exhibition, Spheres, Skulls, and Other Icons of the Interior. “Rather than present semi-permanent installations of highlights from our (CCAG) permanent collection,” says director Kevin Rice, “we often develop thematic exhibitions that reflect collections growth, curatorial research, and our changes as a society. Our rotating collection shows give audiences a chance to experience fresh contexts and combinations of newer and older acquisitions.”

 This latest exhibition is curated by Pan Wendt and built around two recent acquisitions. Nova Scotia artist Colleen Wolstenholme has donated her major sculpture Pills, which consists of large-scale plaster replicas of pharmaceutical drugs; and Robin Peck, recently retired sculpture professor at St. Thomas University, donated three works from his series Crania.  

“Both of these important donations are sculptures about the brain,” says Wendt. “And so I wanted to build a show about art as an externalization of thought, and of what we think of as our interior. Artists are often drawn to certain forms as references to containers for mental activity, and as shaped by the mind.” 

The exhibition, which opens March 7 and runs until May 30, also features artworks by Don Bonham, Joan Jonas, Patrick Lundeen, Landon MacKenzie, and Ed Zelenak, among others, as well as a proposed donation by Island artist Gerald Beaulieu.

Still Life Forever

Beginning next week, the Centre’s concourse will feature some engaging art history. In an exhibition entitled Setting the Table: Still-Life and its After Effects, curator Wendt again draws from the Gallery’s collection to show how the genre of the “still life” evolved from a minor exercise for artists to a showcase of formal arrangement within an everyday context.

“Even when it was a minor genre, artists were drawn to the process of still life as a sort of document of our relationship to the world and to things,” says Wendt. “But for modern artists, this seemingly formal exercise took on great importance. Eventually it fragmented into a bunch of new practices, like construction, more-or-less pure abstraction, and the literal use of found objects into art contexts.”

Wendt continues, “These are all pretty familiar strategies now, but one could make the case that they emerged from the humble practice of making a still life. And the still life never goes away, as recent work by Tony Scherman and John Cox demonstrates in this show. Artists are still fascinated by it.”

The exhibition, which will be visible in the concourse display cases from February 29 to May 24, features work by Canadian artists, including George Angliss, Joe Plaskett, Bertram Brooker, Ron Martin, as well as the late P.E.I. artist Jan Mollison.

A full slate

The other exhibitions being celebrated at the Winter Opening include: Victor Cicansky: The Gardener’s Universe; The Debbie Show: Views from the Desk; and Artists by Artists.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Dancing in the Snow

WinterDance Festival  Brings Performance Heat to Island Winter

New program is presented Feb. 28-29 by the School of Performing Arts

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The School of Performing Arts (SoPA), a partnership between Confederation Centre of the Arts and Holland College, is excited to announce WinterDance, a series of dance masterclasses and performances February 28 and 29.

The Centre and Holland College will welcome guest artists Eldiyar Daniyarov, Sion Irwin-Childs, Claire Newbery and Dawn Ward, to guide dancers through a series of workshops designed to hone dance, choreographic, and technical performance skills. A public performance will also be offered on February 29 at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall—admission by donation.

Director of Arts Education at the Centre, Peggy Reddin sees this initiative as a community-builder for dance on P.E.I.  describing WinterDance as “an alternative to dance events that are competition-based. WinterDance is aimed to celebrate and enjoy the art of dance for its own sake.”

During the two day series Daniyarov will share his extensive experience as a professional ballet dancer; Irwin-Childs will focus on instilling dancers with confidence in their choreography; and Ward will bring Afro-Jazz influences to her masterclasses.

Newbery is a SoPA graduate who is continuing her studies at Concordia University. She will guide senior level students through improvisation. All students will also experience workshops on technical performance craft—a required skill when bringing a performance to life on the stage. These programs are specifically aimed for dance students aged 9-and-up.

This series will culminate in a demonstration performance of content covered in the workshops. Admission is by donation and all are welcome to attend this public presentation at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 29 at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall at Holland College.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

 

Victoria Playhouse Announces New Style 2020 Shows

We’re making a big change this summer!

Summers on PEI are beautiful… and busy! We’re changing our format to make it easier for you to see all the hilarious action on stage at Victoria Playhouse this summer. 
Our Festival 2020 will be presented in rep, meaning that we’ll be alternating  between two plays all summer long!
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Don’t miss a moment of this laugh-out-loud line up!
Our Festival 2020 includes Off the Grid by John Spurway, a funny and contemporary comedy featuring a couple trying to reinvigorate their marriage while spending a week in a remote cabin, and Popcorn Falls by James Hindman, a truly hilarious play about the citizens of Popcorn Falls forced to put on a play to save their town. 
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PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Meet the Cast at the Watermark

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Nathan Widdifield

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Rebecca Parent

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Justin Shaw

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Kassinda Bulger

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Devin MacKinnon

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse