Kronborg Ready to Be

Complete Casting Announced for ‘Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical’

Epic rock musical telling of ‘Hamlet’ opens Friday, June 21 at Confederation Centre of the Arts

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A ghostly visitor with a secret; a son devastated by loss; a deadly sword duel – and the most famous question in all of drama (“To be or not to be…”).

These are just some of the reasons why Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy turned musical will hold you spellbound in the Homburg Theatre. Add in a thrilling rock opera score, a full orchestra, and a cast of 28 stellar Canadian actors, and you have all the makings of an intoxicating musical experience.

“This is a ghost story, a story of family, power, revenge, and sacrifice,” says Adam Brazier, artistic director of Confederation Centre. “As the great actor and director Lawrence Olivier said; it is the story of a man who cannot make up his mind.”

Opening June 21 at Confederation Centre of the Arts, the musical is sponsored by SYSCO Food Services. Playing until July 20, Kronborg returns to The Charlottetown Festival, 45 years after first mesmerizing theatre-goers in 1973-74.

The musical was a breakthrough for Confederation Centre and the country, becoming the first Canadian musical to play on Broadway in 1975. Originally written and conceived by Cliff Jones, the 2019 production promises to entrance a whole new generation of theatre-lovers. This re-envisioned production is directed by Mary Francis Moore with music direction from Craig Fair.

“Craig, Cliff, and I recognize the significance the piece plays, not only in the history of the Festival, but also in the history of new musicals in Canada,” offers Moore, who has been working with her artistic team to redevelop the musical for two years.

“This new production has been fully re-orchestrated and re-arranged musically—new life breathed into a Canadian classic,” she continues. “The inspiration for these changes all come from the beautiful lyrics and melodies Cliff wrote 45 years ago.”

Moore and Brazier are thrilled to now reveal complete casting for the epic musical. Starring Aaron Hastelow as Hamlet, the production includes:

Kimberly-Ann Truong as Ophelia, Cameron MacDuffee as Claudius,

Alanna Hibbert as Gertrude, Brendan Wall as the Ghost King,

Andrew McAllister as Marcellus, Jacob MacInnis as Horatio,

Teddy Moynihan as Rosencrantz, Nicole Norsworthy as Guildenstern,

Gray Monczka as Laertes, Michael Torontow as Polonius, and Nicola-Dawn Brook as Honeybelle.

See the complete cast and creative team listing in addendum. 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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Dancing Up a Storm

SATURDAY, JUNE 15th, 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM at the Harbourfront Theatre
SUNDAY, JUNE 16th, 4:00 PM
All Seats: $18.87 (tax & fees included)

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Dance Virtuosa presents: GIANT

An upbeat energetic array of dance styles to stir the soul. Enjoy a diversity of professionally choreographed dances for young and old. This production incorporates the skill of adorable little ones straight through to adults from all over Prince Edward Island. Dance Virtuosa welcomes you to join us for an unforgettable showcase of skilled bodies in motion.

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

Setting the Spin Cycle

A ‘Q & A’ with Spinning Yarns’ Stephen Guy-McGrath From The Charlottetown Festival

Special Father’s Day promo offers $25 tickets for performances in early August

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This summer The Charlottetown Festival is thrilled to have Spinning Yarns at The Mack this summer. Set in Newfoundland in the early ‘80s, this one-man production brings to life a world of raucous adventures, death-defying escapes, and dubious childcare.

The hilarious evening of story and song is a fictionalized biography written and performed by Festival favourite, Stephen Guy-McGrath (‘Bill’ in Mamma Mia!; ‘Sam Phillips’ in Million Dollar Quartet; ‘René in Evangeline). Sponsored by Key Murray Law/Meritas, the production runs July 20 to September 28 at Confederation Centre of the Arts.Featured are traditional Newfoundland fiddle tunes and well-loved songs such as ‘The St. John’s Waltz’ by Ron Hynes, ‘Wave over Wave’ by Jim Payne (popularized by Great Big Sea), and more.

Just in time for Father’s Day, Confederation Centre is offering a special promo for Spinning Yarns. Until June 16, patrons can use promocode ‘SpinningDad’ to access $25 tickets for this energetic, thoughtful, and side-splitting production. There are limited quantities available and this applies to performances from August 5 to 17. To see a promo video starring Guy-McGrath and featuring his whole family, head to YouTube.

To learn a little more about this production, which Guy-McGrath has presented in multiple other theatres, Centre staff sat down with the author and performer himself for a ‘Q &A’:

Question 1.  What is the origin story for ‘Spinning Yarns’? 

Stephen: More than 20 years ago I was getting started in the industry and there were not a lot of opportunities for me, but I had lots of enthusiasm and, frankly, pre-wife and kids time! I started trying to come up with a project for a pal and myself to work on. We threw out tons of ideas and the whole time I was telling her stories about growing up in St. John’s. One day she said, “This is the show!” She was right.

Q2. What is the show about?

It is really a love letter to my family and the world I grew up in. A lot of fun is made with it all, but it’s all done with great affection. Also, small children get stuffed in large appliances…

Q3. How did this production make its way to The Charlottetown Festival?

The festival is always looking for the ‘right’ show for The Mack. It needs to be fun, have music, and be affordable to produce for a small house. (Producers) Adam (Brazier) and Dean (Constable) knew about the show and had seen snippets that I had done in The Maud Whitmore Benefit Concert. They approached me and we talked about it as a possibility; and I think it just fit this year. Tara MacLean’s Atlantic Blue (playing atThe Mack August 2 to September 27) is the perfect show to share the stage with. Atlantic Blue is “a lot of song and a little story” and Spinning Yarns is “a lot of story and a little song”. We are good companions!

Q4. What can people expect from your show?

A good time! It’s very informal. I tell these stories to you as if you were sitting at my kitchen table. The bar will be open, the tunes will be rocking, the laughs will be coming. What could go wrong?

Q5. And the final, most important question. Ahem, in the battle of the best island: Newfoundland or P.E.I.?

This is like Sophie’s Choice for East Coasters. All I can say is that I love each island in its own way. It’s like having a second child: your love is not divided between the two, as your capacity to love doubles!

 

Spinning Yarns opens on Saturday, July 20 at the Mack, with preview shows on July 15 and 16. The production is directed by Adam Brazier and was originally produced by Strange/Momentum Theatre Projects. Tickets can be found online at confederationcentre.com, by calling our Box Office at 1(902)566-1267 or 1(800)565-0278, or by visiting our Box Office.

The Charlottetown Festival would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the production sponsor Key Murray Law/Meritas and Festival sponsor, CIBC. 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

Dressed to Kill

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“Just let the wardrobe do the acting.”  Jack Nicholson

“This is my first time doing an internship like this, and it’s inspiring to be working in the field and getting the experience in an actual theater,” said Rachel Farmer.

It was last May last year and Rachel was starting as the new kid on the block at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico on the north-central coast of Prince Edward Island. A local girl – “I was born and raised on PEI” – she participated in musical theater with dance umbrella throughout high school, and two years further on was studying costume design at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Watermark was her first young foot in the door.

“I did most of the smaller tasks,” she recalled six weeks later as the summer season at the playhouse got underway with “Dial M for Murder.”

“I tried to do some of the dirty work, but it is a rite of passage,” explained Julia Hodgson-Surich, Rachel’s supervisor and mentor, about the labors of internship.

Interns used to be apprentices, although it amounts to the same thing, working at an occupation or trade for little or no pay in order to gain experience. Getting involved, not necessarily cracking the books, is often the best way to get the hang of things. The professional is an amateur who didn’t quit.

“It is an intern’s job to go for coffee for anyone who asks, delivering it hot and cupped in your bare hands,” Kurt Braunohler, the host of podcasts on the Nerdist Network, said about learning the ropes.

There are several imperatives interns have to follow. When uncertain, always ask, be a team player, keep a notebook, and be early, not just on time. You don’t have to be the last to leave, but don’t be the last to get there, either.

Pay attention to everything the big cheese says. Don’t complain, ever. Just don’t.

“I was Julia’s right hand,” said Rachel. “She tackled the main important stunning pieces. I worked on the suspender buttons.”

“I did manage to get her to sew all of the suspender buttons on the pants,” admitted Julia. “I’ve done that thousands of times myself. It’s how she’s going to learn to do it perfectly.”

“The handsome costumes do much to recall the postwar boom years,” wrote The Guardian in its review of “Dial M for Murder,” which sold out for most of its run.

When actors are getting into character, they are often soaking in what they are turned out in. They become what they are wearing. If you are wearing a banana suit, you become a very funny barnstormer on stage. There is no getting around it.

“She didn’t just shove me into the deep end,” said Rachel. “She helped me through everything.”

“I’m not as evil as some designers,” explained Julia. “I went easy on her for the first fitting. It was only after that that I expected perfection.”

Even though internships are often a chunk of paycheck short of real jobs, interns have to show their commitment and go the extra mile, doing everything to a T. It’s the small things that make up perfection, and perfection is no small thing.

“She assisted me,” said Julia. “When I needed a stage pin, she had it. When I said, these pants need to come in three inches, she wrote it down and got it done. We made sure everything fit immaculately.”

“The costumes by Julia Hodgson-Surich were classic and functional, with smooth lines and fabrics audience members will want to touch,” wrote Jane Ledwell in her review in The Buzz.

“We did fittings with each actor for each costume,” said Julia.

Seamstresses and costumers work with everyone from the actors to the director. The show has got to look real. Otherwise, it won’t feel real. Theater might be make-believe, but it’s got be in the flesh to make believers of the audience.

Would Superman even be Superman without his cape and costume? Would anyone believe him if he said he was Superman? No, he would just be Clark Kent, just another Joe behind a pair of glasses.

The costume department at all theaters is responsible for the purchase, design, manufacture, fitting, continuity, and care of all the costumes. They create the look and mood of much of what is seen on stage. They need to be able to draw their designs, know how to translate creative vision into something more than the king’s new clothes, and know their fabrics and how to render and integrate them into the visual style of the play.

“Dial M, 1950s, everything was tailored, and some were handmade, some vintage pieces,” said Julia. “We had to order hats from England. Rachel did the alterations on the blue dress that’s at the top of the show. We made it fit like a glove. The actor could still breathe, but barely.”

At the Watermark Theatre they swap with other regional theater warehouses, since they don’t have the time or budget to make everything from scratch, and period pieces in the first and last place are hard to find.

“We go to thrift stores, looking, all the time,” said Julia.

“Seeing an actor’s face light up when we show them what they are going to wear is great,” said Rachel. “It’s the thing that makes them feel confident and in character and ties everything together, the props and set and story.”

This year’s Costume Designer at the Watermark Theatre, Julia was last year’s Head of Wardrobe. She is a designer, seamstress, and textile artist based in Toronto. “I use a lot of what I’ve learned in weaving and knitting, dying fabrics, and textile art,” she said.

She collaborates with the Cactus Sewing Studio and designs her own line of handmade clothing.

The theater runs in her family.

“I started as an intern, when I was 14-years-old, working in wardrobe at a theater my mother was a production manager at,” said Julia.

It was the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.

Although her father, Bill, was born on Prince Edward Island, she grew up in southwestern Ontario. Her mother, Andrea, has long worked in live theater. Her father fabricated sets for theaters across Canada before becoming a metal sculptor. His installation ‘Trees of the Carolinian Forest’ is in downtown London. A display of his Christmas sculptures is set up every year in Victoria Park in the center of town.

“I started as a sewer, and when I was done with high school, at 18, I started working as a professional. I was promoted to cutter.” She’s been working ever since. “My journey has not been with school. It has been entirely apprenticeships.”

Julia Hodgson-Surich’s contract last year expired as the season at the Watermark Theatre was starting. She was making ready to be on her way. “I don’t have anything on the horizon, but if it comes up, OK, let’s do it.”

Theater professionals are always on the move, looking for their next opportunity. What makes them professionals is knowing how to cope with not knowing where their next paycheck will be coming from. In the meantime, they keep their noses to the wind, staying in touch with what productions are going on and where.

She had been working on the new season’s shows at the Watermark since March. “We talk on Skype, have production meetings in Toronto, so that we’re all on the same page. I did sketches, collected things, came to PEI, met Rachel, and basically, ‘Let’s go!’”

When she took leave of the theater, she left Rachel in charge of the costumes and the dirty work for the next eight weeks.

“She’ll do the repairs, because after every show something is broken. She’ll do the laundry. She’ll be the dresser, making sure the actors look the way they’re supposed to look every single night. It’s a lot of work. I appreciate that I don’t have to do it.”

“I came into it thinking I was a fish out of water,” said Rachel.

She had been a fish out of water not long beforehand, but she was a quick study.

“I was originally planning on going into acting,” she said. “But I realized watching movies and plays, what I loved were what costumes were being worn, and I should probably just go into costumes, so I did.  When I got to Dalhousie, though, it was intimidating, because I had six month’s experience on one outfit, and all my classmates had been sewing since they were 4-years-old.”

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called learning. There wouldn’t be internships. There wouldn’t be mentors.

At the Watermark Theatre the costumers work in the basement. “It’s a tiny little room at the end of a hallway,” said Julia. “We have a window, but it looks out underneath the deck.”

“I love making things,” she said. “We get to sew, work with our hands. I wanted to do it since I was small. I grew up in a theater family. Babysitting was me sitting in a lightbox watching a show. I didn’t understand it, although I just loved costumes.”

The small room in the basement is where most of the mentoring goes on.

“Mentoring cuts into my work,” said Julia, “but it’s worth it. It’s rewarding. I prefer someone I can talk to, tell them what I’m up to, because then I’m talking it through. Sometimes I find out that I’m actually not doing the right thing.”

Talking things through, getting another’s perspective, often helps you to see issues more clearly, and gets your own thoughts off the same old track.

“I don’t want anyone to suffer, either. If I sense someone is having trouble with a hem, or a machine isn’t working and they’re rethreading it over and over, I will help. I won’t just let them flounder.”

“I’ve gotten so much out of it, and the Watermark is a wonderful theatre,” said Rachel.

”Everybody feels like they are a close-knit family here. You feel like everything you do has significance, like you’re not being swallowed up by the whole production, and you matter in the great cog scheme of things.”

This summer’s shows at the Watermark Theatre are the classic farce “Boeing Boeing” and the Pulitzer Prize winning play “Crimes of the Heart.” Even though “Crimes of the Heart” is premised on a murder, it has been described as “an evening of antic laughter.” The wardrobe department may not be getting the actors dressed to kill like they were in “Dial M for Murder,” a spine-tingler rather than a laughfest, but they will still look their part in their new parts.

In the middle of the fun on stage this summer they will be dressed to kill.

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

Creative PEI Doors Open

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Alongside CreativePEI, Confederation Centre is hosting Doors Open on Saturday June 1, 2019.

An international festival that allows art, culture and heritage buildings, not generally accessible to the public, to open their doors for a day. And it’s completely free!

From 10am to 3pm join us in The Confederation Chamber Replica for The Story of Confederation that offers visitors the opportunity to experience Province House in Prince Edward Island National Historic Site and the Charlottetown Conference while Province House is closed for conservation work.

From 2:30pm to 3:30pm join us in The Homburg Theatre for a sneak peek at the set for Kronborg – The Hamlet Rock Musical and hear from our Festival team about the production before it opens!

From 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm c’mon in and design, create and make some wearable art with Kate Sharpley in the Art Bunker! Experience the Centre with a fun activity for children and adults: Button Pins!

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

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

First You See It Then You Don’t

Split Images: Truth and Fiction

 

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Real and invented worlds clash or coexist in this selection of works from the collection.
Curated by Pan Wendt.

 

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