Seeing is Believing

It’s showtime at the Confederation Centre.

Happy opening to the cast and crew of Jesus Christ Superstar at the 2018 Charlottetown Festival!

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Set design by Cory Sincennes.

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Mary Poppins Lands in Charlottetown

Charlottetown Rural High School is proud to present Mary Poppins, the stage musical adapted by Cameron Mackintosh in 1993. Join us as Mary Poppins and her friend Bert lead the Banks family to break with social conventions and re-discover the real wonder of life before it’s too late!

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Mary Poppins needs almost no introduction. The Disney movie released in August of 1964 quickly set box office records as audiences fell in love with the magical arrival of Mary Poppins, complete with talking parrot umbrella and bottomless carpet bag, to take over as nanny to Jane and Michael Banks. With the help of her multi-talented friend Bert, Mary and the children set out each day on a series of adventures all over Edwardian London, circa 1910. Through many escapades, a near run on the bank where Mr. Banks works and in the midst of a dysfunctional home, Mary and Bert lead the whole Banks family to re-discover the true possibilities of life against the backdrop of social conditions, industrial capitalism and the suffragette movement of the day.

The movie’s audience appeal spread across all ages, garnered 13 Academy Nominations and Awards, a host of other film awards and was selected in 2013 for preservation in the National Film Registry for its historic and cultural relevance. A less-known fact about the movie is that it provided the huge financial backing Walt Disney used to purchase land in Florida and build Walt Disney World.

In 1993, Cameron Mackintosh acquired the rights to produce a stage adaptation of Mary Poppins from the author of the original books, P.L. Travers. In 2004, the musical opened in the West End, London and in 2006 the Broadway version opened in New York where it continued until 2013 when it closed to make room for the new production of Aladdin. In late 2014, Mary Poppins became available for amateur performance, perfect timing for Charlottetown Rural!

Mary Poppins is at the Confederation Centre on May 12, 13, and 14 at 7 PM.

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.

Aces Are High

Play has resumed for Charlottetown’s first large-scale Chase-the-Ace Lottery. The Confederation Centre’s ‘Chase-the-Ace for the Arts’ fundraiser for theatre improvements is held every Tuesday night in Studio 1, beside Mavor’s. Ticket sales run from 7 to 8:35 p.m. each night, with full bar service and board games on offer. The winning draw is held at 8:45 p.m.

Ace-of-Hearts

Chase-the-Ace is a classic card game that caught fire as a charity fundraiser in the Maritimes over the past year. The game is similar to a 50/50 draw, but has a twist — weekly ticket sales are split with 50% going to the fundraising charity, 30% being pooled into the jackpot, and 20% going to the weekly winning ticket holder, who also gets the chance to draw a card from the deck.

As weeks go on without the Ace of Hearts being drawn, the jackpot grows and the deck diminishes. The Centre has chosen an Anne of Green Gables themed deck of cards, with the hearts suit as jackpot trigger, hoping for good fortune with ‘hearts for the arts.’

Proceeds from the lottery will be put towards the $5-million cost of Phase Two improvements to the Homburg Theatre. The theatre closed in December for four months of essential restoration work to the back-of-stage, including rigging, hanging, and fly systems, access and safety equipment, and needed infrastructure upgrades.

While the public areas of the 1,100-seat theatre recently underwent significant restorations, the stage facilities and back stage areas have not seen major enhancements since the Island’s largest theatre first opened in 1964.