A Brush With Nature at The Guild

Robert Milner has a passion for painting and paints every day. He is an eclectic artist painting from nature in all its forms, including wildlife and landscape.

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A Brush With Nature, a collection of paintings in oils, acrylic, and water colour is a partial retrospective exhibit created between 2006 and the present day.

The exhibit was created during, and inspired by, a painting trip to Yellowstone Park, using information from time spent in the conservation area, and of time spent in the City of Kawartha Lakes in Ontario.

Other images were created while living on Prince Edward Island, where Robert and his wife made their home in November 2010.

A Brush With Nature is on display at the Gallery at The Guild in Charlottetown from February 3 – 27th.

Gracie Finley Treads the Boards in Spirit and Menagerie

Watermark Theatre is thrilled to announce the first casting news for the 2016 Summer Season. Company member Gracie Finley is to play the pivotal role of Madame Arcati in “Blithe Spirit” and the iconic Amanda Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie”.

Raised in Charlottetown with summers spent in Alberton, Ms. Finley is well known to PEI audiences. Her early career was like “A Star is Born” come to life. A local teenager who, the previous summer had been performing for children in the Charlottetown Festival’s “Circus Tent Theatre” is elevated to the role of Anne Shirley in “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical.” Ms. Finley became the musical’s second “Anne”, and had both the longest continuous run in the role – seven seasons ‐ and the longest total run of nine seasons.

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Following her triumph as Anne, Ms. Finley went on to act in “Mary Queen of Scots”, “Jane Eyre”, “Sunshine Town”, “Private Turvey”, “Life Can be Like Wow, Joey…” all with The Charlottetown Festival as well as “Butterflies are Free” with Theatre New Brunswick, and “Rumpelstiltskin” with Neptune Theatre.

Ms. Finley took a break from acting in the mid 1980’s, but made a stellar return to the theatre at North Rustico’s Watermark in 2013, playing Alfie in “The Shore Field” and The Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland.” She followed these roles up with a magnificent characterization of Eleanor of Aquitaine in “The Lion in Winter” (2014), and portrayals of the coarse and earthy Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet,” and the garrulous Lady Markby in “An Ideal Husband” (2015).

The summer of 2016 may well present Ms. Finley with one of the finest challenges of her career. On the one hand, she will play the zany and bizarre Madame Arcati–the medium who manages to summon up the ghost of a dead wife – in Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit, and on the other hand, in Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie, she will tackle one of the most powerful roles in theatre, Amanda Wingfield, the aging faded southern belle, abandoned by her husband in 1930’s St. Louis, longing for the comforts of her youth, and alienating her son and daughter in the process.

The Watermark is thrilled that, with the return of Gracie Finley, these strong female characters will be in very capable hands. The teenager of “Anne” is now the mature woman of “Eleanor” and she will bring that maturity together with all her other considerable skills to the Watermark stage in this coming summer of 2016.

Lights! Camera! Island!

What do you get when you mix famous film stars with local PEI yokels? Why, heartwarming chaos, of course, at the Harbourfront Theatre. It’s Lights, Camera, Island!

The Harbourfront Players have a brand spanking new comedy to present to you in March. Written by Island playwright, Karen Slater, and directed by Marlane O’Brien, this hilarious play about famous film stars shooting a movie on Prince Edward Island has the locals reeling and one of the stars wishing he were back in the big city.

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Starring an ensemble cast, featuring some favourite Harbourfront Players’ actors, and mixing in some new faces, Lights, Camera, Island! will have you rolling in the aisles and wiping away tears as Elroy, Leroy and Dexter utilize their Island charm to try to woo the film’s star, Eva Linguini, while the local women can’t contain their excitement over the charismatic male idol, Jacques Dubois.

Shows March 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 7:30 PM and March 6 at 2 PM. All tickets are $15.00.

Looking for Love at The Mack

Fly Away With The Swinging Sounds Of The Valentine’s Cabaret

With love in the air, Sobeys Live @ the Centre serves up the ever popular Valentine’s Cabaret next week, sponsored by Charm Diamond Centres.

Vocalists Catherine O’Brien and Joey Kitson come together with the rock-solid house band of Don Fraser on keys, Music PEI Artist of the Year Deryl Gallant on bass, and Alan White on drums for this must-see February 14 tradition. The musical union sets the scene for a memorable night of romance, humour, and classic love songs.

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“The Valentine’s Cabaret is a night like no other, one accented by the swinging sounds from another era that is sure to entertain, surprise, and romance,” offers Fraser, director of the Centre’s Choral Music Programme. “February 14 is an evening out at The Mack where you will hear a varied selection of classics from the American Songbook,”

The jazz trio will back Kitson and O’Brien across two rollicking sets of ballads, blues tunes, and pop standards, including ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘My Baby just Cares for Me’, ‘Angel Eyes’, and ‘The Way you Look Tonight.’ Other standouts include ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Blue Skies’.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at The Mack and tickets are moving fast! Contact the Centre’s box office at (902) 566-1267, toll free at 1-800-565-0278, or online at confederationcentre.com.

Special thanks are extended to Sobeys, the title sponsor of Live @ the Centre, as well as media sponsors The Guardian, Hot 105.5 and Ocean 100.

Yippie Yi Yo Kayah

Tim Hus will make you sit up and pay attention to his songs, story songs that capture the pioneering spirit that motivates and inspires truck drivers, miners, rum runners, trappers, men of the land, men of the sea, and vagabonds.

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Part of a new generation of Alberta-based songwriters who have been nurtured on the tapestry of sounds that country music served up in the sixties and seventies, Hus points to many life experiences and the influences of family and specific musicians when it comes to assessing his own make-up as an artist.

“I look up to Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, and road dogs like Fred Eaglesmith. Then there’s all the people I meet out on the road and the stories that come with those introductions,” says Hus, citing the influence of other artists including Corb Lund, Ian Tyson, Woodie Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

The summer of 2009 marked a career highlight for Hus when he had the opportunity to tour with the late Stompin’ Tom Connors on a number of dates across the nation.

“It’s not a secret that Tom is one of my heroes and it was quite the time out on the road with him. I could tell you all sorts of stories, but we’ll leave those for another time,” laughs Hus, who was honored to work with the legendary Connors.

Connors made his appreciation for Hus’s songwriting skills known as the two played before large and enthusiastic crowds, declaring, “I’ve been looking for 30 years for a young guy who’s proud to write songs about our country. I’d like to pass the torch to Tim Hus.”

Tim Hus is at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside on February 26. All tickets are $25.00.

Katie Kerr Stars as Sophie

Over 60 million people around the world have fallen in love with the characters, story, and undeniably catchy music that make Mamma Mia! the ultimate feel-good musical. Now Artistic Director Adam Brazier is turning to a Festival favourite of recent seasons – Katie Kerr – to play the lead role.

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Kerr, a veteran of five seasons at Confederation Centre, including two starring as Anne Shirley, will play bride-to-be Sophie in this summer’s must-see musical, directed by Brazier with musical direction from Bob Foster and choreography from Kerry Gage.

“It is always an honour to return to The Charlottetown Festival in any capacity, but I am especially thrilled to be one of the first girls in Canada to take on the role of Sophie this season,” says Kerr, from her new home in Charlottetown. “The Festival has been so integral to my career, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to star in yet another iconic show here.”

Inspired by the storytelling magic of ABBA’s songs, from ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘S.O.S.’ to ‘Take a Chance on Me,’ Mamma Mia! is a celebration of mothers and daughters, old friends, and newfound family. The sunny tale that unfolds on a Greek island paradise where, on the eve of her wedding, Sophie’s quest to find her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Over 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love blooms and old romances are rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities.

For Katie Kerr, it’s exciting that the Festival is one of only two theatres in Canada credited to present the blockbuster since it closed on Broadway in 2015, and she looks forward to seeing where Brazier’s vision will take Mamma Mia!. “It’s so comforting to have an actor as intuitive as Adam on the other side of the table,” she offers. “You know that he is seeing everything, not only from a directorial position, but from the actor’s view as well. His ideas are fresh and forward thinking, which makes for a very exciting time at the Festival. I am so thankful to be a part of a company under his leadership.”

Kerr’s previous credits include Ring of Fire, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Evangeline, and various roles in Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™, notably as the title heroine during the musical’s record-setting 50th season in 2014. “After embodying that role for two years, it becomes second nature,” she explains. “That experience continues to inspire me, in both my theatre work and my personal life. I am constantly finding fragments of Anne in everything I do.”

Confederation Centre wishes to recognize CIBC as the returning title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival. The Centre also acknowledges the Department of Canadian Heritage; the Government of P.E.I., through the Department of Education, Early Learning, and Culture, and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.

Mamma Mia! is presented from June 1 to September 3, 2016 in the Homburg Theatre at the Centre.

Hootin’ and Hollerin’

Woody Holler and his Orchestra are purveyors of “western swing” music…but also so much more. Woody grew up hearing the songs of the cowboy. Although he was later trained in opera, a sense of nostalgia held him close to the early western genre. Woody met up with some top-notch jazz musicians and the cross-over was magical.

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Consisting of some of Canada’s finest folk/jazz musicians, Woody’s orchestra creates a style that Woody defines as “jazz from the saddle”. Greg Lowe on guitar, Richard Moody on violin and Danny Koulack on bass add clever arrangements rich with virtuosity and style. The repertoire is eclectic, fun and fascinating, featuring finger-snapping swing beats, honey-slowed love croons and show stopping “extreme” yodeling.

Since 2010, the band has showcased very successfully across Western Canada, which has led to several tours from Manitoba to the Pacific coast. They have also enjoyed a tour of the Northwest Territories and Woody’s yodel has been heard past the Arctic Circle. A recent showcase event on the east coast has led to a tour of the Atlantic Provinces next spring as well as a tour of Great Britain.

Their first album “Western Skies” was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2010. Woody and the boys have just completed their second album “Jazz From The Saddle”. It’s filled with all the things that make Woody Holler and his Orchestra so entertaining.

“But it was more than the yodeling that caught the audience right from the outset and held us through a much warranted standing ovation at evening’s end. It was the full, rich sound of four very talented musicians who have coupled clever arrangements, musical genre fusing and the joy of performing into one delightful package.” wrote Sue Morhun of the Oliver Daily News

“…the audience had saddled up to join him for the adventure. They were with him every step and hoof print of the way, perfectly attuned to the mood of each song”

Woody Holler and his Orchestra appear at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside on Wednesday, February 17, at 7:30 PM. All tickets are $25.00.