Tag Archives: Confederation Centre of the Arts

At the Front Door

Entrance Gallery

Ronald Bloore’s mural White on White is reinstalled in the Entrance Gallery following extensive conservation treatment. It joins Eleanor King’s mural Emerald (Cradled in the Waves) and Paul Griffin’s tree trunk Leviathan.

 

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Ronald Bloore
In 1965, painter Ronald Bloore offered to create a custom mural for the newly built Confederation Centre of the Arts. The mural was completed in 1967 and is comprised of 11 Masonite panels with layers of white oil paint ranging from cool to warm whites, flat to glossy finishes, and smooth to highly textured surfaces. The varying tones and textures, coupled with the changing outside light, create a mural that Bloore felt would “always be alive and moving.”

The conservation of the mural was carried out in 2018. Cracks and losses were consolidated; spot testing was conducted to formulate an appropriate cleaning solution, and areas that could not be safely cleaned were coated with an archival resin and inpainted to match the colour and gloss of the surrounding original paint.

The mural was reinstalled in May 2019 and once again it interacts with the architecture and light, “reflecting something of the outside into the interior.” The changing, raking light provided by the skylight throws Bloore’s welt-like lines and textured planes into sharp relief, presenting White on White in its best light.

Eleanor King
Eleanor King’s monumental wall paintings combine various visual sources and rhetorics. Derived initially from Google satellite views, their subject is how we relate to the land, to its occupation, use and history, how we control, survey and understand the patterns on its surface. With Emerald, she translates the site of rural Prince Edward Island into a hard-edged abstract painting. King’s choice of paint colours is based both on aesthetic decisions and their brand titles, which allude to the commodification of culture, and the historical and political realities that underlie how we visualize the land.

Paul Griffin
The conceptual and physical challenge of Leviathan was to combine a natural element, a large, heavy, forked, elm trunk, with an industrial material—specifically galvanized roofing nails—to create what the artist described as “a hybrid of a sort; an organic machine.” The title, Leviathan, came on completion of the work and alludes to the fearsome sea creature mentioned in the Bible (Job 41). Can a galvanized tree embody both the beauty of nature.

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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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

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

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

Riding the Rails

Confederation Players Riding the Rails in Ottawa and Montreal

Confederation Centre of the Arts heritage program celebrates 30 years this summer

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The Confederation Players are marking two important milestones this summer: the 100th anniversary of their program sponsor, CN Rail, and the 30th anniversary of the Players program itself.

Founded in 1989 to mark the 125th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, the Players program have offered historic vignettes, guided walking tours, Victorian songs, croquet games with tourists, and improvised street encounters to thousands and thousands of visitors in Downtown Charlottetown.

More than 250 young people from across Canada have taken part in the youth leadership program to date. The troupe employs about a dozen young people from P.E.I. and elsewhere every summer and, since 2012, have been a key part of Confederation Centre of the Arts’ (CCOA) heritage and arts education offerings.

CN came on board as major program sponsor in 2017, launching special Canada 150 and rail-themed celebrations with the Players in cities across Canada. Now, to highlight CN’s own 100th anniversary, the troupe will return to Ottawa and Montreal in the weeks ahead to perform on Parliament Hill and participate in centenary celebrations.

CN came on board as major program sponsor in 2017, launching special Canada 150 and rail-themed celebrations with the Players in cities across Canada. Now, to highlight CN’s own 100th anniversary, the troupe will return to Ottawa and Montreal in the weeks ahead to perform on Parliament Hill and participate in centenary celebrations.

This year’s troupe includes a strong mix of new and returning college-age performers who will bring Canada and the Island’s histories to life all summer and into the fall. Led by artistic supervisor Cameron MacDonald, this year’s troupe includes: returnees Guy Brun, Dylan Gaudet, Grace Hickey, Jim McClean, Eden McFadden, Sam Rainnie, and Jacob Rollwage. New players are Connor Briggs, Hannah McGaughey, Mitchell McNally, and Alexandra Sorenson.

The Players launch their summer season at CCOA on Saturday, June 29, and will offer two enhanced public walking tours until August 18. ‘The Great George Experience’ guides tourists from the city’s stunning waterfront to Queen Square and includes historic vignettes and appearances from half a dozen different performers.

After years of public requests, The Ghost Tour returns this summer, hosted by ‘the Gravedigger’. This evening walk is offered every Friday and delves into the darker side of Island history, including tales of unsolved murders, ghost ships on the harbour, and even a famous execution.

All tours are family-friendly and the Great George Experience is available in French and English. For full program details, times, and to book walking tour tickets, visit the Confederation Centre website.

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

Kronborg Hits the Homburg

Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical opens June 21 at Confederation Centre

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“To be or not to be” is the most famous question in all of drama. And it is around this central question that the history of Kronborg–The Hamlet Rock Musical hangs upon.

And like Hamlet returning to Denmark, this celebrated Canadian musical is returning to The Charlottetown Festival, 45 years since it was first produced here. Sponsored by SYSCO Food Services the production runs June 28 to July 20—just 15 nights—in the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Preview performances are slated for June 21 and June 27.

Cliff Jones, the musical’s creator, is excited to see the show take on a new life. “This talented company and this theatre will be incredible for Kronborg,” he muses, “and I’ve also gotten the chance to tweak little things that have nagged me for years.”

The electrifying rock production has been revived by Director Mary Francis Moore and Music Director Craig Fair, as well as the talented Festival cast, crew, and orchestra. But it was a winding road back to Charlottetown and the world-renowned Festival.

First commissioned as a CBC radio play in 1973, the original title was Kronborg: 1582, named for the Danish castle and year Shakespeare’s original revenge tragedy takes place.Jones’ inspiration came from when he first heard the Jesus Christ  Superstar soundtrack, which married anthemic rock music with rich storytelling. It is a curious symmetry that the Kronborg remount follows last summer’s Superstar as the next “big Festival show” here on the Centre mainstage. Both productions also star Island son, Aaron Hastelow.

After the original radio production in 1973, the play moved to the stage at Confederation Centre. Its first staging at the Festival in 1974 was an absolute hit leading to an eastern Canadian tour with Brent Carver as Hamlet and Beverly D’Angelo as Ophelia. In the following years Jones and other directors would tackle this production through diverse variations. These included a month-long Broadway engagement as Rockabye Hamlet (1976), and a 14-month run in L.A. in the early ‘80s as Something’s Rockin in Denmark.

Then, the play was put to rest.

It wasn’t until years later when Jones crossed paths with Adam Brazier—the Centre’s artistic director—that Kronborg was given a new lease on life and was turned into a concert performance at the Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River, P.E.I. in 2017. Jones came back to Charlottetown while recovering from a serious health scare with Legionnaire’s disease. “The disease had quickly destroyed me,” he recalls, “I was delirious, could hardly recognize my daughters, was lethargic, and battling depression.”

When the Kronborg writer came in for rehearsals it gave him a new purpose. “I saw what they were doing with this incredible company and with Craig Fair’s new arrangements and musical direction. It made my life worth living again; it renewed me.”

Jones recalls the sold-out Indian River concert—with full company and an orchestra—as thrilling. Indeed, a Buzz review described the rock opera as “spectacular and electrifying…Aaron Hastelow shone brightly as Hamlet.”

For Jones, he pondered, “Can it get any better than this?” It turns out it certainly can. The new show is set to run for 15 nights this summer on the main stage.

When asked what endures about Kronborg all these years later, the writer offers “It’s always carried a special combination of being a fun, entertaining experience but also being faithful to Shakespeare’s story—to thine own self be true.”

New life for the writer and his storied musical awaits at this year’s Festival.

The full artistic team for Kronborg: The Hamlet Rock Musical is listed online. 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. The Charlottetown Festival is sponsored by CIBC.

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