Ellis Family Meets the Fiddler’s Sons

Harbourfront Theatre is pleased to offer a double bill of entertainment with two of the Island’s most beloved musical groups: The Ellis Family Band and Fiddlers’ Sons.

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Comprised of brothers Rick, Brian, Steve, and Dave Ellis, and Greg MacDonald, The Ellis Family Band has been a household name in PEI since the 1970s, producing such hits as Summer Nights, Why Am I Still Crying, their #1 hit Thank You For Being My Friend, and arguably their most popular song, Mother of Mine.

Fiddlers’ Sons features Eddy Quinn on lead vocals, John B. Webster on guitar, fiddler Courtney Hogan-Chandler, and Keelin Wedge on fiddle, vocals, guitar, and bass. Since 1997, the group has released several recordings, including the popular All the Way to Cardigan, and won numerous PEI Music Awards for their signature Celtic and roots traditional sound.

The Ellis Family and Fiddler’s Sons are at the Harbourfront Theatre on Wednesday, August 16th at 8 PM.

Kronborg Coming Home

Kronborg is coming home. After a sold-out performance at Indian River in July, Confederation Centre is pleased to announce an encore concert performance of Kronborg 1582 – coming home to the Centre for one night only. The rock opera starring P.E.I.’s Aaron Hastelow as Hamlet will be presented on September 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Homburg Theatre.

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This performance also marks the kickoff to The Charlottetown Festival Theatre Conference, September 5 to 9 . There will be a tickets pre-sale for members as of tomorrow, Tuesday August 8. Tickets for general public will be available as of Wednesday August 9. Tickets are also available as included in Festival Theatre Conference pass.

Tickets are available at the Confederation Centre Box Office at 130 Queen Street, online, in person, or via phone at 1.800.565.0278 (toll free) or 902.566.1267.

Kronborg features a Festival ensemble and orchestra of more than 30 performers from Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ and Glenda’s Kitchen. The Festival’s Associate Artistic Director, Mary Francis Moore directed the production and musical direction is from Craig Fair.

The production rocked the rafters at the Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River on July 28, playing to a sold out house. The Buzz reviewed that show calling it “Spectacular…impressive… left people on their feet literally screaming for more!” With that magic in the air, producers felt Island audiences deserved a chance to see the Festival classic back where it all began — on the main stage.

Based on the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, the rock opera was originally produced by Confederation Centre in 1975, starring Brent Carver and Beverly D’Angelo, and went on to play on Broadway. The musical was created by Cliff Jones and was originally commissioned by the CBC. It tells the story of a Danish prince who plots revenge on his uncle for killing his father.

 This concert performance replaces the originally scheduled concert performance of The House of Martin Guerre at this time, which is unable to be presented this season to unforeseen events.

Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre; and The Charlottetown Festival sponsor, CIBC. Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

Moxam Makes Music at the Victoria Playhouse

Tim Moxam with
Special Guests Nick Doneff and Liz Stringer
MONDAY, August 14th at 7:30pm

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Named one of CBC Musics Hidden Gems for 2016, Moxam’s sound has been likened to Neil Young, Cat Stevens, and David Gray. In a special evening of music at Victoria Playhouse, he is joined by Australia’s Liz Stringer and Charlottetown favourite Nick Doneff.

Married to the Theatre

Actor Ian Deakin, who has two featured roles this summer with the Watermark Theatre, has been a professional actor in this country for 45 years. He has also been with his wife, costume designer Bonnie Deakin, for those same 45 years. Ian has had a long and prolific career by any standard and his relationship with Bonnie has endured while navigating the often rewarding but difficult world of Canadian theatre.

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Ian plays Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park and Sir George Crofts in Mrs. Warren’s Profession on stage at the Watermark until September 2nd. Bonnie designed the costumes for both plays at the Watermark this summer while also working as Head of Wardrobe at The Confederation Centre.

A busy schedule for them both but at least they’re on the Island together. Both artists have traversed the country chasing work their entire careers. “Dashing across the country from job to job is really no different now than it was 45 years ago”, says Ian, “the world has changed, and we have both grown richer as artists because of it. Longevity is possibly the only mark of true success for a working actor or designer in this country, as fame is often fleeting. Fortunately we will go on as long as there is someone willing to take a chance on either of us. Retirement is merely another signpost to observe as we head off to the next contract in another part of the country. In the theatre we’re all wastrels and vagabonds and thieves!”

The two met in high school in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “We were both in a production of Dr Helen Creighton’s The Broken Ring, says Bonnie, “we were good chums then, and fell in love years later, during a production of Cosi Fan Tutti”. Ian describes the proposal: “I was on my knees in formal dress in the green room of Halifax’s Neptune Theatre between the second and third act of The Matchmaker, I was playing August the waiter. I immediately dashed back on to the stage to await my answer.  The reply solidified both my personal and professional future.”

Bonnie talks about those first years together: “when we were first married, I followed Ian everywhere. We had a big steamer trunk, and those days were exciting and fun. It was a great way to stay together and learn about theatre and each other. We met, and worked with, so many of this country’s theatre greats.” Of course life has its ups and downs and relationships in this business aren’t always easy.

“After 10 years, when our son Robin came along”, Bonnie explains, “I stayed home, often taking freelance work that could be done from my kitchen. Feathers and trims and bits of materials would be in every room, but it meant that Robin was able to come home for lunch, and I could take him to school, and hockey, and lessons. Ian was always on the road it seemed. It was hard. There was no internet in those days and phone calls were expensive. His return home was always an adjustment. We had to keep reminding ourselves of what our intent was when we made our commitment to each other.”

Ian has worked from coast to coast and spent 13 seasons at the Stratford Festival in such productions as The Tempest, Julius Caesar, Henry V, Cymbeline and The Odyssey. He appeared on Broadway with Christopher Plummer in King Lear at the Lincoln Centre, and Off Broadway at City Centre in Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser. Bonnie worked for many years at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario and has designed costumes in theatres across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and El Salvador. She recently designed costumes for A Christmas Carol for Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon, and at The Confederation Centre she designed for Glenda’s Kitchen and The Voices of Canada.

Bonnie and Ian are especially grateful to have this summer together here on the Island. “For the last year and a half Ian has been the primary caregiver for our son Robin, who sustained a catastrophic brain injury in a car accident”, explains Bonnie. “Ian has been on the front line every day and I have been the breadwinner. This summer has been a golden opportunity for Robin to rediscover independent living, and for us to get reacquainted, and for Ian to perform in two great roles. It’s a rare thing for us to work on the same production, this has been a very positive experience.”

And how has their time been on the Island? “I’m delighted to be working with the Watermark this summer” says Ian, “my admiration for the amazingly gifted cast and crew, to be working with Bonnie again after many years, being here on PEI, and to be sharing with her the beauty of this Island”. Bonnie concurs, “I love this island. The people are warm and welcoming.  I have the kindest landlords who look after me, and now welcome Ian. There is music, art and theatre all around, always something to do, and the restaurants and seafood are wonderful.”