An Islander Strikes Back

A tiny land, on the outer lip of the known universe. A changing time, with empires flattening all places into one. And a scrappy group of misfits, who unite to fight a future they don’t even recognize yet.

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Sound familiar? That’s because we are describing Prince Edward Island!

A follow up to his hit book “I Am an Islander”, in his new book “An Islander Strikes Back” Patrick Ledwell sounds a rallying cry for comedic resistance everywhere. Won’t you join him?

The book launch is at the Guild May 6th at 7 PM to 9 PM.

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‘I Want It All’ Takes Center Stage

Confederation Centre is proud to present the explosive new musical Belles Soeurs: The Musical this September as the closing production of The Charlottetown Festival season. Crackling with electricity and performed by a powerhouse cast and musicians, Belles Sœurs arrives in Charlottetown following stellar reviews and sold-out crowds in Montreal and Ottawa (NAC).

This touching and heartfelt English-language musical is based on Michel Tremblay’s internationally­-celebrated play and is produced by Copa de Oro and the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts. Adapted and directed by René Richard Cyr in collaboration with the award winning duo Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, Tremblay’s tale takes on a whole new dimension in this outrageously fun and comedic musical performed by a powerhouse all-female cast.

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Working-class Montreal housewife Germaine Lauzon wins one million department store stamps and invites family and friends over to celebrate. But pride + greed = envy! The 11 women complain aggressively, overshare shamelessly, and fantasize freely while secretly coveting Germaine’s precious stamps.

“This is a story about family. About a daughter struggling to break free from her overbearing mother, and sisters learning to accept each other for who they are, and not who the other thinks they should be,” says Artistic Director Adam Brazier. “Belles Soeurs is a touching and heartfelt musical comedy straight from the heart of the Canadian spirit and we are thrilled to present it on Prince Edward Island.”

Richly textured and outrageously fun, Belles Sœurs will sweep you through joy and drama, laughs, tears, and the heights and depths of the human condition, all resonating through the medium of the modern musical. Audiences will fall in love with hits such as ‘I Want it All,’ ‘Bingo,’ and ‘Johnny,’ that will have them humming for days.

The Festival is pleased to announce that Dora-Award winning actress Lisa Horner will star as the Montreal housewife Germaine, alongside a stacked ensemble. A celebrated name in Canadian theatre, Horner has performed for Mirvish, Shaw, and Stratford, as well as TV credits on Little Mosque on the Prairie, Wind at My Back, and Road to Avonlea. She won a Dora in 2013 for her role in The Wizard of Oz and is currently in the show’s ensemble at the NAC.

“I am over the moon that I get to play this incredible woman, Germaine!” she offers, “and also to bring this beautiful piece of Canadian theatre to this beautiful Island!”

The Charlottetown Festival is presented by CIBC. Confederation Centre wishes to recognize the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.

Irving Stars as (Post) Mistress

Continuing its Canadian theme, Victoria Playhouse is staging the award-winning Canadian Cree playwright Tomson Highway’s The (Post) Mistress, starring Martha Irving. This “little musical with big secrets”, opening August 7, has been lauded by critics and audiences alike for its upbeat, jazzy tunes and engaging story.

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Martha Irving has performed this role previously at Neptune Theatre, Ship’s Company Theatre, and The Thousand Islands Playhouse.

Art, Party, and the Glam Bat Cave

One night only, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery will be transformed into a sprawling dance party and showcase of artist creativity for afterimage, an event that animates the gallery at night. This promises to be an unforgettable night in Charlottetown, and a completely new way of experiencing contemporary art in the stunning architecture of the art gallery.

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The CCAG is in between exhibition cycles this month, hence the event title; a brief window in time where the gallery will be redefined visually and conceptually. “This will be a truly special night,” says Gallery Director Kevin Rice. “We are excited to bring a new audience into the gallery, to see what an amazing space it is, and experience it in an entirely new way.”

Stretching across multiple galleries – even including a service elevator – afterimage features a variety of artists from P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia and installations ranging from themed spaces, projections, and video works; to live music, guest DJs, and interactive games.

Belfast, P.E.I. painter and media artist Damien Worth is creating an interactive piece that allows users to navigate a virtual landscape. Another featured guest is Montreal’s Pascal Dufaux, who recently relocated his studio to the Guild, known for his interactive sculptures that capture the movements of partygoers through motion sensors. The galleries will also include a dance floor showcasing the music of guest DJs Willow Bell (Whaleskin) and DJ Lucy MOD (Kate Walchuk), as well as performances by Nathan Gill, Andrew Cairns, and some surprise off-Island guests.

afterimage is one night only and runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on May 13. The entire gallery team as well as other Centre staff and over a dozen artists will be working full tilt to make this an unforgettable combination of party and art experience, and a true showcase of talent from around the region. Event tickets are $20 (plus tax and service fees) in advance, via the Box Office, and $25 (plus tax and service fees) at the door.

Other highlights include an interactive installation dubbed ‘The Glam Bat Cave’ featuring creations by Halifax’s Mitchell Wiebe, and Island artists Ali O’Sullivan and Andrew Cairns, a wheel of prizes hosted by Tamara Steele and Charlottetown comedian Lennie MacPherson, a new projection work from Becka Viau, and a multimedia installation in the gallery elevator designed by Charlottetown’s Monica Lacey and Devon Ross. A more relaxed lounge area with specialty cocktails, a playlist by Colin Buchanan, and a Lucy van Pelt-inspired ‘advice booth’ will contrast the live performance space.

McLauchlan Back in Front

Murray McLauchlan is one of Canada’s most highly regarded singer/songwriters, and with good cause. Over a 40-year career, he has released 18 albums and been awarded 11 Junos. His songs Farmer’s Song, Down by the Henry Moore, Whispering Rain and Sweeping the Spotlight Away are now considered Canadian standards. Murray is also a painter, an author, an actor, a radio host; he’s been bestowed an Honourary Doctor of Laws and appointed to The Order of Canada. That’s quite a ride. Yet some may wonder where he’s been of late.

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Murray did tour in support of his 2012 critically acclaimed release Human Writes, but then decided to take a break. Other interests prevailed and he restricted his touring to shows with Lunch At Allen’s, the supergroup he co-founded, whose members also include Ian Thomas, Marc Jordan and Cindy Church.

But now Murray is on the road in his own right once more. Here’s what he has to say: “As a songwriter I know that it’s not enough to sit in your kitchen and write. Your songs need to be heard. Music is a communicative art and if it isn’t brought in front of people there is no way to tell if that end has been met. I like to think of a concert tour as a kind of roving gallery to test your art and your ideas. I try to do my very best to make it worthwhile for folks to be there and to perhaps look at things in a new way when they leave.”

And this, in a nutshell, is the Murray McLauchlan concert experience.

Murray McLaughlan is at the Harbourfront Theatre on May 2nd at 7:30 PM.

‘Melville Boys’ Opens 35th Victoria Season

The Victoria Playhouse opens its thirty-fifth season on June 26 with Norm Foster’s classic Canadian comedy, The Melville Boys. The Victoria Playhouse has produced dozens of works by Canadian playwrights, both emerging and established, since its first season in 1982.

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“Norm Foster is Canada’s most produced playwright,” says Pat Stunden Smith, Managing Director of the Victoria Playhouse. “He has a great instinct for dialogue and his scripts are at once funny and real.”

The Melville Boys features Jeremie Saunders and Becca Griffin, reprising the dynamic onstage rapport that made 2014’s Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun such an outstanding success. Newcomers to the Victoria Playhouse, Corey Turner and Helen Killorn, round out this vibrant cast.

 

Symons Medal Medalists Shaping Up

On Monday, June 6, 2016 Confederation Centre of the Arts, Canada’s national memorial to the founding of the country, will announce this year’s recipient of the Symons Medal, one of Canada’s most prestigious honours.

The Symons Medal is presented annually by Confederation Centre to recognize distinguished persons who have made an exceptional contribution to Canadian culture and heritage.

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Since 2004, Confederation Centre has honoured 15 distinguished Symons Medalists. Past recipients 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, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Mary Simon; broadcaster and environmental leader, David Suzuki; and Canadian actor and director Paul Gross.

The annual presentation of the Symons Medal is an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize an outstanding contribution to national life, and to reflect upon their country and its future. As part of the medal ceremony, the celebrated recipient delivers a major address on the state of Canada, and its place in the world.

The Symons Medal Ceremony will take place this year on Friday, November 4, 2016 at Confederation Centre. Held each fall to mark the 1864 meetings of the Fathers of Confederation in Charlottetown, the medal ceremony creates a national platform for a prominent Canadian to discuss the nation’s current state and future prospects. Canada’s only national memorial to the Fathers of Confederation, Confederation Centre’s mandate is to inspire Canadians to celebrate the founding and evolution of their country.

The opportunity to take in the recipient’s medal ceremony and lecture will be made available through the Confederation Centre 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.

The Symons Medal is named in honour of Professor Thomas H.B. Symons, a long-time supporter of Confederation Centre and a Board Governor. Professor Symons, the founding President of Trent University, is widely recognized for his work in the field of Canadian Studies, particularly within public policy, heritage, and education.