Category Archives: News Flash

The New Young Company

Introducing The 2019 TD Confederation Centre Young Company!

Youth theatre troupe bound for Halifax; will open Charlottetown season June 29

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The TD Confederation Centre Young Company returns this month, and are kicking off their 2019 season off with a bang. The youth performance, leadership, and training company officially opens their season at the Centre on Saturday June 29 at 12 noon in the outdoor amphitheatre.

The troupe will also be headed to Halifax, Nova Scotia in June for performances stemming from a well-receivedtouring appearance made by the 2018 Young Companyat the National Child Welfare Conference in Calgary, AB in October 2018. More information on this exciting, multi-day opportunity will be announced in the weeks ahead.

The Young Company is a long-standing pillar of arts education within the Centre’s Charlottetown Festival – sponsored by CIBC – and features 12 young artists from across Canada.

With a strong focus on all three performance disciplines–and on building storytelling and leadership skills–these artists from coast to coast to coast gather to share their life experiences and stories with each other and eventually, audiences as well!

This summer, the troupe presents Aqsarniit, (or, “the Northern Lights” in Inuktitut) daily at 12 noon from June 29 to August 17. This provocative and thoughtful musical weaves music and dance through stories of our collective histories from across Turtle Island.

The 2019 Young Company hail from all corners of Canada and collectively speak at least eight languages! Made up of returning members and new faces, the troupe includes: Ann Paula Bautista, Riley Bernard, Zachary Colangelo, Tatyana Doran, Matthew Joseph, Wahsonti:io Kirby, Alika Komangapik, Gunho Kwak, Callum Lurie, Emily McKim, Jocelyn Tsui, and Haneul Yi.

Aqsarniit is written by Mary Francis Moore and Adam Brazier. The Young Company’s creative team is composed of Matt Murray (director), Colleen Dauncey (music director), Sam McCue (set and costume designer), and Adam Sergison with Julie Pellisier-Lush (choreographers). The Young Company Stage Manager is Cole Vincent. 

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.

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
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Riding the Rails

Confederation Players Riding the Rails in Ottawa and Montreal

Confederation Centre of the Arts heritage program celebrates 30 years this summer

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The Confederation Players are marking two important milestones this summer: the 100th anniversary of their program sponsor, CN Rail, and the 30th anniversary of the Players program itself.

Founded in 1989 to mark the 125th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, the Players program have offered historic vignettes, guided walking tours, Victorian songs, croquet games with tourists, and improvised street encounters to thousands and thousands of visitors in Downtown Charlottetown.

More than 250 young people from across Canada have taken part in the youth leadership program to date. The troupe employs about a dozen young people from P.E.I. and elsewhere every summer and, since 2012, have been a key part of Confederation Centre of the Arts’ (CCOA) heritage and arts education offerings.

CN came on board as major program sponsor in 2017, launching special Canada 150 and rail-themed celebrations with the Players in cities across Canada. Now, to highlight CN’s own 100th anniversary, the troupe will return to Ottawa and Montreal in the weeks ahead to perform on Parliament Hill and participate in centenary celebrations.

CN came on board as major program sponsor in 2017, launching special Canada 150 and rail-themed celebrations with the Players in cities across Canada. Now, to highlight CN’s own 100th anniversary, the troupe will return to Ottawa and Montreal in the weeks ahead to perform on Parliament Hill and participate in centenary celebrations.

This year’s troupe includes a strong mix of new and returning college-age performers who will bring Canada and the Island’s histories to life all summer and into the fall. Led by artistic supervisor Cameron MacDonald, this year’s troupe includes: returnees Guy Brun, Dylan Gaudet, Grace Hickey, Jim McClean, Eden McFadden, Sam Rainnie, and Jacob Rollwage. New players are Connor Briggs, Hannah McGaughey, Mitchell McNally, and Alexandra Sorenson.

The Players launch their summer season at CCOA on Saturday, June 29, and will offer two enhanced public walking tours until August 18. ‘The Great George Experience’ guides tourists from the city’s stunning waterfront to Queen Square and includes historic vignettes and appearances from half a dozen different performers.

After years of public requests, The Ghost Tour returns this summer, hosted by ‘the Gravedigger’. This evening walk is offered every Friday and delves into the darker side of Island history, including tales of unsolved murders, ghost ships on the harbour, and even a famous execution.

All tours are family-friendly and the Great George Experience is available in French and English. For full program details, times, and to book walking tour tickets, visit the Confederation Centre website.

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

Wherever You Are, There You Are

Introducing Canadian Playwright Kristen Da Silva

Victoria Playhouse is delighted to produce Kristen Da Silva’s new play Where You Are as part of its 2019 Festival Season. Canada’s most produced playwright, Norm Foster calls Da Silva, “one of the brightest new comedic playwrights in all of Canada” and her plays have been shortlisted for and won the Stage West Comedy Award. Kristen Da Silva is a young Canadian playwright whose star is rising.

At once hilarious and heartwarming, Where You Are takes place in rural Manitoulin Island in Ontario. Rural settings are central to all Da Silva’s works and the playwright herself grew up in small-town Ontario, surrounded by farmland. It’s an environment she knows well and one that she says lends itself well to comedy.

“There’s no anonymity in the country. You really can know everyone in your community and that can lead to some pretty funny situations”.

Da Silva has the ideal combination of experiences to bring those funny situations to light. An early interest in performance led her to drama classes and improv in high school. Then, as a student at York University, she was a company member of Vanier College Productions and a founding member of the Vanier Improv Company, where she honed her comedy-writing chops. A career in theatre didn’t seem viable, however, so following graduation she went to work in the human resources department of an oil and gas company, a job which, it turned out, gave her ample opportunity to absorb the humour of human nature.

In 2016, she left the HR world to write and act full-time. She has since produced six full-length scripts and taken on the role of playwright-in-residence at Theatre Orangeville, while continuing to act, direct, and teach theatre both in professional and amateur companies.

Where You Are is her fifth play and her first to be produced in Atlantic Canada. The Victoria Playhouse production plays from June 25th to July 28th in Victoria.

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

Kronborg Hits the Homburg

Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical opens June 21 at Confederation Centre

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“To be or not to be” is the most famous question in all of drama. And it is around this central question that the history of Kronborg–The Hamlet Rock Musical hangs upon.

And like Hamlet returning to Denmark, this celebrated Canadian musical is returning to The Charlottetown Festival, 45 years since it was first produced here. Sponsored by SYSCO Food Services the production runs June 28 to July 20—just 15 nights—in the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Preview performances are slated for June 21 and June 27.

Cliff Jones, the musical’s creator, is excited to see the show take on a new life. “This talented company and this theatre will be incredible for Kronborg,” he muses, “and I’ve also gotten the chance to tweak little things that have nagged me for years.”

The electrifying rock production has been revived by Director Mary Francis Moore and Music Director Craig Fair, as well as the talented Festival cast, crew, and orchestra. But it was a winding road back to Charlottetown and the world-renowned Festival.

First commissioned as a CBC radio play in 1973, the original title was Kronborg: 1582, named for the Danish castle and year Shakespeare’s original revenge tragedy takes place.Jones’ inspiration came from when he first heard the Jesus Christ  Superstar soundtrack, which married anthemic rock music with rich storytelling. It is a curious symmetry that the Kronborg remount follows last summer’s Superstar as the next “big Festival show” here on the Centre mainstage. Both productions also star Island son, Aaron Hastelow.

After the original radio production in 1973, the play moved to the stage at Confederation Centre. Its first staging at the Festival in 1974 was an absolute hit leading to an eastern Canadian tour with Brent Carver as Hamlet and Beverly D’Angelo as Ophelia. In the following years Jones and other directors would tackle this production through diverse variations. These included a month-long Broadway engagement as Rockabye Hamlet (1976), and a 14-month run in L.A. in the early ‘80s as Something’s Rockin in Denmark.

Then, the play was put to rest.

It wasn’t until years later when Jones crossed paths with Adam Brazier—the Centre’s artistic director—that Kronborg was given a new lease on life and was turned into a concert performance at the Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River, P.E.I. in 2017. Jones came back to Charlottetown while recovering from a serious health scare with Legionnaire’s disease. “The disease had quickly destroyed me,” he recalls, “I was delirious, could hardly recognize my daughters, was lethargic, and battling depression.”

When the Kronborg writer came in for rehearsals it gave him a new purpose. “I saw what they were doing with this incredible company and with Craig Fair’s new arrangements and musical direction. It made my life worth living again; it renewed me.”

Jones recalls the sold-out Indian River concert—with full company and an orchestra—as thrilling. Indeed, a Buzz review described the rock opera as “spectacular and electrifying…Aaron Hastelow shone brightly as Hamlet.”

For Jones, he pondered, “Can it get any better than this?” It turns out it certainly can. The new show is set to run for 15 nights this summer on the main stage.

When asked what endures about Kronborg all these years later, the writer offers “It’s always carried a special combination of being a fun, entertaining experience but also being faithful to Shakespeare’s story—to thine own self be true.”

New life for the writer and his storied musical awaits at this year’s Festival.

The full artistic team for Kronborg: The Hamlet Rock Musical is listed online. 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. The Charlottetown Festival is sponsored by CIBC.

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

Showcasing Island Playwrights

Plays Announced For Play Reading Series Featuring PEI Playwrights

428e642d-77a7-4541-9ce3-9a5826a09fb1Three PEI playwrights will have their plays read at the Watermark Theatre this August as part of the theatre’s Play Reading Series. The three plays are “Two Monkeys, One Grape” by Kent Stetson, “Round An Island” by Emily Cann, and “The Ginzie Piece” by Malcolm Murray. This is the 2nd year that the theatre has featured new plays by PEI playwrights in their Play Reading Series. “It’s important to provide an opportunity for playwrights to hear their plays read allowed before an audience”, says Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, “the experience really helps the writer see what the next steps might be in the play’s development”.

Kent Stetson‘s play “Two Monkeys, One Grape” is described as an evening of Fraud, Fake-News, Slapstick, Torture, Music and Merriment in two acts. The play’s suite of six twenty-minute plays crack wise, snap selfies, weep and laugh, lament and exalt the human condition. Its two comedies, Tiger Warning! and Bawdy Parts, two dramas, Dead White Males and Torture: A Love Story, plus the Grand Guignol/Baroque comedy/horror show, Androgynous Student Devoured by Rats and closing musical, Jouissance: Five Simple Songs explore things outrageous, jittery, tragic, curious and comedic. Kent, a Marshfield PEI native, is a Governor General’s Literary Award winner, Member of the Order of Canada and Canadian Author’s Association Award Laureate for Drama. Kent was the inaugural laureate for Heritage Prince Edward Island’s Wendall Boyle Award for his outstanding contributions to the cultural history of Prince Edward Island. He is best known for the plays “Warm Wind in China”, “As I Am”, and “The Harps of God”. His other plays include “Queen of the Cadillac”, “Just Plain Murder”, “Sweet Magdalena”, “The Eyes of the Gull”, “New Arcadia”, and “Horse High, Bull Strong, Pig Tight”. He has also published two novels, “The World Above the Sky” and “Meat Cove”.

Emily Cann‘s play “Round an Island” tells the story of a PEI family the summer their second oldest daughter returns home from university. At its core, it is a play about choices, but it is also a play about love, family, forgiveness, and what it means to come home. Emily was born and raised on PEI. She has a BA in English from Acadia University and a MA in English from the University of Guelph. She’s currently working on obtaining her MS from Columbia University in New York City. Emily has been writing poetry for years, and last year received third place in the Island Literary Awards for her short story “Whatever’s Next.” This is her first play.

Malcolm Murray‘s play “The Ginzie Piece” is about two small-time art sellers who buy a big-time sculpture for their gallery. All they have to do is assemble it. The comedy touches upon many philosophy of art questions, but focuses mainly on the vexing question: who owns art? Malcolm is a fiction writer and philosopher. His collection of plays, “The Philosopher: One-Act Plays” was recently launched at UPEI. His produced plays are “Art of Posing”, “The Abettor”, “The Philosopher”, and “Chop Wood, Carry Water”. His short stories have appeared in the collections, Victoria Review,  Snow Softly Falling, and Riptides, as well as in the journals Galleon and Fiction Fix. His philosophy books are “Morals and Consent”, “The Atheist’s Primer”, “The Moral Wager”, “Liberty Games and Contracts”, and “Critical Reflection”. Malcolm teaches Philosophy at the University of Prince Edward Island.

The dates and times of the plays are:

August 7th 1:00PM – “Two Monkeys, One Grape” by Kent Stetson
August 14th 1:00PM – “Round An Island” by Emily Cann
August 21st 1:00PM – “The Ginzie Piece” by Malcolm Murray

Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased by going to the company’s website www.watermarktheatre.com

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the playwrights please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com.

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

Drama Festival Comes to the Watermark

This weekend, Watermark Theatre will host the National Theatre School of Canada’s Atlantic Drama Festival at their theatre in North Rustico.

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The Festival, which runs from May 17th to 19th, brings together high school students from throughout the region to view, discuss and enjoy each other’s creative efforts, under the guidance of an experienced adjudicator. Participants also take part in acting workshops with local acting teachers. The Festival facilitates and inspires a love of theatre, teamwork, problem solving, originality and entrepreneurship.

The Atlantic Drama Festival is part of a trio of Drama Festivals, the other two are in Ontario and B.C. all now under the umbrella of the National Theatre School (NTS).

Earlier this year, NTS announced a new partnership with TD Bank Group as the national presenting partner of the National Theatre School Festival. The agreement and sponsorship, which began this year, will support thousands of high school students, in hundreds of communities across Canada, who will create and present shows in their schools, regions and provinces.

“We are thrilled to welcome TD in this leadership role” said Gideon Arthurs, CEO of the National Theatre School of Canada. “The Festival is an almost 75-year-old tradition that has touched the lives of thousands of young Canadians. With TD’s support, we can ensure the festival will thrive and continue to grow. The Festival is a vital happening that builds future generations of artists and arts lovers, while fostering respect, inclusiveness, excitement, empathy and entrepreneurship in our youth. TD is truly a model corporate citizen, making a difference in over 300 communities across Canada through this program.”

“At TD, we recognize the importance of programs, like this one, that unite communities and amplify these voices. That’s why, through The Ready Commitment, TD’s corporate citizenship platform, we are proud to work with the National Theatre School to help young Canadians build confidence and thrive in a changing world, one community at a time,” notes Andrea Barrack, Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group.

“It’s an exciting time for both students and teachers alike to take part in the NTS Festival,” said Wayne Fairhead, Executive Director, NTS Festival. “TD’s new partnership with the NTS Festival will provide ways to lead, build learning opportunities and develop practices.”

About the NTS Festival
The NTS Festival showcases secondary school theatre productions in their respective provinces and convene thousands of drama students to perform and share their talents and passion in a friendly atmosphere. Formerly known as the Sears Drama Festival, founded in Ontario in 1946 by the late Ken Watts, it is Canada’s oldest theatre festival. The Drama Festival started out with just three plays, and now has over 400 annual entries spotlighting spectacular performances and productions – including the addition of Festival offshoots in British Colombia (2009) and the Atlantic provinces (2011). The Festival helped launch the careers of numerous actors, directors and production professionals, including actors Margot Kidder, Rachel McAdams, Yanna McIntosh and R.H. Thomson, as well as movie director David Cronenberg.

About TD Global Corporate Citizenship
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through The Ready Commitment TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/thereadycommitment.

About the National Theatre School of Canada
The National Theatre School (NTS) is a school for the arts open to all. Since 1960, it has trained artists, in English and French, in all of theatre’s trades and professions. Many of its 2100 alumni are among the most active and recognized actors, directors, designers, writers, and production professionals in Canada and around the world. NTS is committed to solidifying community and breaking down the walls that separate us. NTS now offers workshops for anyone aged 15 to 115 who wishes to discover the power of theatre as an instrument of social as well as personal growth.

Watermark is thrilled to host this remarkable event and look forward to inspiring the next generation of theatre artists.

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the participants please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com.

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

Wayne-Philips Joins Cast at the Watermark

Casting Update – Watermark 2019 Acting Company

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A slight change to the casting for Watermark’s 2019 summer season. Unfortunately, Kathyrn McCormack, previously announced as a member of our 2019 summer season acting company, will not be joining us due to personal reasons. We are delighted to announce that Toronto based actress Hannah Wayne-Phillips will be joining the company in her stead.

Hannah graduated with an MFA in Performance from York University and has written, directed and produced two shows, “Lighthouse” and “Fifteen” both of which were mounted in Hamilton, Ontario. Her recent acting credits include Vibrator Play (Tarragon Theatre/RedWit Theatre), King Lear, Twelfth Night (Canadian Stage), Living With Olivia Cadence Donovan (Red Wit Theatre), Ladies Sigh No More (Red Sandcastle Theatre), Merchant of Venice, Dream Play, Three Sisters, Richard II, Alkestis (Theatre @ York).

Hannah will be playing the part of Berthe in Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti and Lenny in Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley throughout the summer months as well as taking part in the Watermark Play Reading Series.

Boeing Boeing runs from June 25th to August 31st
Crimes of the Heart runs from July 5th to August 30th
The Play Reading Series is on August 7th, 14th, and 21st

For more information, or to set up an interview with Hannah, please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com.

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