Raise Your Voice

Through lively song, stories, and dance, the 2016 Confederation Centre Young Company is proud to present The Voices of Canada until Saturday, August 20.

This high-energy celebration weaves song, dance, and legend into a stunning kaleidoscope of movement and colour, offered by donation, six days a week at Confederation Centre. The Voices of Canada is sponsored by TD Bank and this year’s musical includes song selections from Stan Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot, Serena Ryder, The Trews, Great Big Sea, The Guess Who, and more.

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The 2016 creative team for the Young Company includes Writer/Director Adam Brazier, Musical Director and Arranger Scott Christian, Choreographer Kerry Gage, Set Designer Cory Sincennes, Costume Designer Bonnie Deakin, and Company and Stage Manager Seren Lannon.

First established at the Centre in 1993, the Young Company is theatre training program for emerging performers from across Canada. The summer program includes vocal, dance, and acting training as well professional development towards auditioning, best practices, workshopping new theatre, and much more.

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Ugly Duckling Looking Good

The Watermark Theatre in North Rustico will host Cat’s Pajamas Theatre Company’s production of “The Ugly Duckling” on August 3rd and 5th at 11:00AM.

The Cat’s Pajamas is a theatre for young audiences company created by Rebecca Griffin, a Holland College Theatre Performance alumni (2014). To this date, the company has produced three shows at The Guild theatre in Charlottetown. With the help of actors Kaitlyn Post and Jacob Durdan, and director Sarah MacPhee (all Holland College alumni as well), The Cat’s Pajamas Theatre Company is slowly, but surely moving up.

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The Ugly Duckling is an adaptation of the classic tale written by Pamela Campbell and Nancy Beck. This quick production is jam-packed full of music, comedy, and a plethora of barnyard characters. Sure to be fun for all!

Kaitlyn Post is originally from Sussex, New Brunswick. You can also find her performing in Feast Dinner Theatre’s production of Scandalous at The Rodd Charlottetown. Becca Griffin is a mainland native, but an islander at heart. She’s worked with various theatres across the Island, especially the Victoria Playhouse, appearing in a few of their Norm Foster pieces. Hailing from Saint John, New Brunswick, Jacob Durdan has performed in many Island productions, including Cinderella: A Fairly Tale, Aladdin: Another Fairly Tall Tale, and Ladies and a Gent.

The Watermark Theatre is thrilled to be able to host this classic family show and help support a local theatre company.

August 3rd at 11:00AM
August 5th at 11:00AM

All tickets are $10.

Dylan Menzie Up Close and Personal

Harbourfront’s new Backstage Pass Series offers a unique format with the entire show, audience included, happening on the stage. Seating will be cabaret style in a cozy and interactive setting with a panoramic view of the theatre in the background. Featuring a number of musical genres, expect to see some new faces to Harbourfront as well as some past artists returning for this series.

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With his compelling, sprawling vocal range, a striking mix of familiar yet sophisticated musical lines and adept guitar skills, Dylan Menzie is quickly becoming one of Prince Edward Island’s prime exports. Hailing from Belle River, PEI, Menzie has been compared to Joel Plaskett and was highly praised by Canadian singer-songwriter, Ron Sexmith, when he opened for Sexsmith at the PEI Jazz n’ Blues Festival, 2014.

His recently released sophomore album, Adolescent Nature (2016), recorded with Juno nominated and ECMA award-winning producer Daniel Ledwell, was released on the heels of Menzie’s top 4 placement in the CBC Searchlight Competition. The lead single, “Kenya,” secured Menzie’s high standing in this national, juried competition.

Dylan Menzie appears at the Harbourfront Theatre on Wednesday, July 20, at 7:30 PM.

 

Blithe Spirit Transcends Time and Space

Director Alan Kinsella could help a cucumber sandwich achieve its fullest theatrical potential. I know this because I played witness to the managerial marvel at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico Friday night. What he was able to do with a misbehaving wooden table during a séance was pretty impressive as well. With such direction, it is no small wonder the cast and crew of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward pulled off a transcendent performance on opening night, July 15th.

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The show was written in 1941 but the set, lights, and music were done in such a way the show could have been set in any decade. The play is no doubt British but, with some imagination and talent, it could take place in any village or city. That’s the joy of life, death and jealousy. The themes transcend both time and space.

Watermark stalwart Gracie Finley set the standard in her exuberant portrayal of Madame Arcati, a vivacious medium who unwittingly turns Mr. and Mrs. Condomimes’ lives upside down by granting Mrs. Condomine the Former, Elvira, a visit of indeterminate length. Mr. Charles Condomime is at first rattled by the sojourn of the free-spirited spectre and quickly becomes comfortable with the idea of being an ‘astral polygamist’. Charles is played marvellously by Daniel Briere who has a wide repertoire of facial expressions, reminiscent of Rowan Atkinson of Black Adder fame. Briere and Suzanne Roberts Smith (Elvira) play off each other nicely and make the relationship between Charles and Elvira quite believable and, oddly, not creepy.

Enter Ruth, Mrs. Condomime the Current, played by PEI native Bryde MacLean. Understandably, Ruth is not happy with the new living arrangement but she keeps a stiff upper lip. For a little while, anyway. MacLean’s portrayal of Ruth was fun to watch. It was exquisitely executed and made more visually arresting by MacLean’s resemblance to Anne Hathaway. Her presence was made ever more magnetic with the outfits put together by costume designer Kathryn Sherwin. MacLean’s absence for part of the show was very remarkable as I was excited to see what she would be wearing next.

Joshua Browne makes the most of his time on stage, as Dr. Bradman, who takes Madame Arcati’s jabs like a champ. I’m anxious to see Browne play Tom in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams on July 16th.

Leah Pritchard returns to the Watermark this year to work double duty in this piece; first as Edith, the ready-to-serve maid who may be more than she appears and, second, as Dr. Bradman’s chatty better half. I very much look forward to Pritchard’s portrayal of Laura in The Glass Menagerie. With Pritchard’s easy beauty, light complexion and nuanced performances, Laura may be the role she was born to play.

Robert Tsonos had a very successful first opening night as the new artistic director. Tsonos is no stranger to the Watermark stage and seems very eager to take on new responsibilities. In addition to his artistic director duties, of which I’m sure there are many, Tsonos will be directing The Glass Menagerie. Tsonos is making great strides in making the Watermark a community-integrated space. The theatre acts as a fine gallery for local artisans, serves local beer, and hosts a mentorship theatre program and teenage conservatory to foster the next generation of theatrical professionals.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for some cerebral comedy with a splash of slapstick, Blithe Spirit is the show for you. It’s playing now until August 27th at 7:30 p.m. on selected dates with one matinee on August 10th starting at 1:30 p.m.

Review by Kimberley Johnston. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.

A Matter of Heart

Canadian music legend, Stan Rogers is known for the incredible stories of fishing, farming, and rural Canadian life he told through his music. Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart is a tribute and theatrical ceilidh-style celebration of the late Canadian folk artist, featuring over 20 of his songs, including hits like Barrett’s Privateers, Northwest Passage, and The Mary Ellen Carter.

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The show has performed to critical acclaim across the country over the past two decades, and now takes the stage at The Guild for the first time. Directed by Geordie Brown, this all-new production features the best in Canadian and PEI talent.

With its life-affirming themes, and its passionate songs of determination and optimism, this is a show that resonates powerfully with every Canadian.

Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart is presented with the generous support of The Guild and the Van Wart Young Artists Fund, under CAEA’s Artists Collective Policy. The show plays Tuesdays and Wednesdays at The Guild July through September.

 

Buzzing About the Melville Boys

“The sell-out crowd clearly and audibly enjoyed the show and was hugely appreciative. After the performance, I walked past little groups of theatre-goers happily strolling through the streets of Victoria. Conversations I eavesdropped on were all positive.”

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“The Melville Boys is already looking like a hit.”

Ivy Wigmore for The Buzz

The Melville Boys by Norm Foster plays at the Victoria Playhouse through July 30.

 

Step Right Up to TD Under 30

People under the age of 30 will now have access to special discounted theatre and concert tickets thanks to a partnership between TD Bank and Confederation Centre of the Arts.

“TD understands that investing in the arts can give back significant returns to the communities where we live and work,” says TD Branch Manager Deborah Mercer. “That’s why we believe that supporting ticket access programs with arts organizations such as Confederation Centre will help encourage young audiences to participate, and give talented emerging artists – such as musicians, dancers, and visual artists alike – the opportunity to flourish here at home.”

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The new program, TD Under 30 Tickets, will offer youth 30 years and under a year-round $10 discount on tickets for select shows at The Charlottetown Festival and Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre.

“TD’s sponsorship of this special program will make ticket prices more affordable for people 30 and under, encouraging more youth to experience and enjoy the arts,” says Confederation Centre CEO Jessie Inman. “With TD’s generous investment we will continue to enrich the lives of Islanders and visitors through the performing and visual arts, arts education, and heritage.”

In addition to supporting this new ticket access program, TD Bank has been a long-time sponsor of the Confederation Centre Young Company, sponsoring The Charlottetown Festival production since 1999.

TD Under 30 Tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office and ID is required for proof of age. Individuals 30 and under are allowed one discounted ticket per person and one discounted ticket per show. For more information on this new program, contact Kim Devine, director of development, at kdevine@confederationcentre.com or 902.628.6139.