Category Archives: Footlights

View of The Guild

I love the incredibly wide variety of production this building has hosted over the years and the number of artists, entertainers and most importantly audience members that come through the doors.

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It is a pillar in the community for grass-roots creative ventures and a platform for all levels of artistic productions from professional to completely home-spun-fun. I am one of the many people lucky enough to be involved in some capacity with such a cultural hub and hope to be for as long as I am on the Island, which looks like indefinitely.

Graham Putnam
PEI Writer/Comedian/Actor

What is Young at Heart?

Young At Heart Musical Theatre For Seniors, Inc. is a not-for-profit, charitable organization, based in Prince Edward Island that provides professional and original musical theatre productions for senior citizens in long-term care and retirement facilities.

We are currently in our 10th year of operation and we are the only organization of its kind east of Ontario. We exist to enrich the lives of senior citizens who are generally isolated by giving them a vibrant and interactive experience that will brighten their spirits and potentially improve their health and well-being.

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The Atlantic region’s aging population solidifies our mandate to continue to provide vibrant and original Canadian musicals to those with little chance of seeing a show outside of their retirement and long-term care facilities. We have touched the lives of thousands of senior citizens in more than 30 facilities in PEI with several original Canadian musical shows.

Senior citizens, as many studies have shown, benefit greatly from both music and theatre. Some noted improvements included increased awareness and concentration, enhanced awareness and social interaction, improved memory and recall, better mobility and coordination, diminished pain and tension, improved recovery times and relaxations, and of course a happier outlook on life. Older adults that are exposed to music and theatre have shown improvements in anxiety, depression and loneliness levels which are three key factors in maintaining proper mental and physical health.

Our company, whose primary focus is on performing for long term care residents, touches on every one of those benefits, lifting their spirits, hearts and minds, and enriching seniors’ lives.

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.

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.

Summerside Showtime

Harbourfront Theatre opened its doors in 1996, the result of more than a decade of tireless effort on the part of a group of Summerside citizens with a vision to create a state of the art, multi purpose performing arts facility in Prince County. The theatre, along with the Eptek Art & Culture Centre and the Summerside Visitor Information Centre, is housed in The Wyatt Centre, aptly named after one of the facility’s major contributors, Dr. Wanda Wyatt.

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Harbourfront Theatre is owned by Regional Cultural Events Centre Inc., a registered non-profit organization managed by a board of directors, general manager, and director of operations, and boasts a friendly, knowledgeable, professional staff and a dedicated core of over 90 volunteers.

Its mission is “to provide a continuous live entertainment service to the Prince Edward Island community and its visitors, featuring both local and touring productions, while being a significant driving force within the community to encourage and nurture the development and appreciation of the performing arts.”

The facility is ideally suited to a myriad of uses, including plays, concerts, opera, ballet, comedy & magic shows, conferences, seminars, receptions, business mixers, trade shows and public forums. Beautifully appointed and state of the art equipped, the Harbourfront Theatre represents the best of both worlds – large enough to host renowned touring acts, yet small enough so that every one of its 527 seats captures a uniquely intimate performer/audience experience.

The Little Theatre That Could, and Does.

The Victoria Playhouse Inc., located in the beautiful village of Victoria by the Sea, Prince Edward Island, was formed in 1981, when residents voted to encourage the production of live theatre in their community hall. It was recognized the presence of the theatre contributed to the quality of life and the social and economic vitality of the community.

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The Victoria Playhouse Inc. is a registered not-for-profit organization and is managed by a five-member Board of Directors, an Artistic Programming Committee and a Managing Director. The company has produced thirty-four seasons of live theatre and performance events emphasizing contemporary Canadian plays and music. On average the Playhouse presents over eighty performances a year and during the peak season (July through September) operates seven days a week.

The historic Victoria Hall, located at the exact centre of the village is home to the Victoria Playhouse Inc. The building was constructed between 1912-1915 and is widely known for its intimate interior, excellent acoustics and air conditioning! In 2007 the Hall was designated a ‘Historic Place’ on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The Hall has been the heart of the community for nearly one hundred years and continues to bring people together, from near and far, to share in the magic of live performance.