Casting Announced for 2019 Charlottetown Festival

Select Casting Announced for Mamma Mia! and Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical

The 2019 Charlottetown Festival launching 50% off sale, November 17 to December 1

Artistic Director Adam Brazier, on behalf of Confederation Centre of the Arts, has announced select casting for The 2019 Charlottetown Festival. Sponsored by CIBC, the Festival includes six productions and runs June 28 to September 28.

Rebecca Poff and Katie Kerr will star as mother and daughter Donna and Sophie in Mamma Mia!, a co-production with the Grand Theatre in London, playing in the Homburg Theatre August 9 to September 27. Poff turned heads in the Festival’s  2018 concert performance of The House of Martin Guerre and also appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar and Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™. A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Poff has performed throughout the continent, including in the Canadian National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera and the U.S. National/Broadway tours of Show Boat.

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Kerr returns to the Greek Islands of Mamma Mia!, having previously starred as Sophie in the blockbuster 2016 production in Charlottetown, as well as with two other theatres. Kerr’s other credits consist of multiple roles in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, including the title role from 2013-14, and in the world premiere of Evangeline. “Sophie is really the driving force in Mamma Mia!” says Brazier, who will once again direct the musical. “It’s no wonder Katie has since played the role across Canada; she is a tour de force as Sophi

The Festival’s new production of Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical runs June 28 until July 20 in the Homburg Theatre. Directed by the Festival’s associate artistic, Mary Francis Moore, the powerhouse rock musical is an electric experience, following Hamlet’s quest for vengeance upon his uncle Claudius for killing his father. Aaron Hastelow stars as Hamlet and will also appear in Mamma Mia! as Sophie’s beau, Skye. 

Brazier is pleased to welcome back Festival favourite Cameron MacDuffee opposite Hastelow as Claudius, King of Denmark. MacDuffee recently appeared as a scene-stealing King Herod in the Festival’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and has performed across Canada, including four seasons at Shaw Festival. His Charlottetown highlights include turns in Evangeline, Ring of Fire, and On the Road with Dutch Mason. He will also reprise his role as Harry in Mamma Mia! at the 2019 Festival.

Making her mainstage debut in Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical will be Kimberly Truong as Ophelia. Truong hails from Prince Rupert, B.C. and was previously part of the Confederation Centre Young Company in Les Feux Follets. She has appeared in productions of Les Misérables, West Side Story, and A Chorus Line. Last year, she made her Broadway debut in the celebrated revival of Miss Saigon. “It is thrilling to have Kimberly back at The Charlottetown Festival,“ remarks Brazier. ”She has an extraordinary voice and an undeniable presence onstage.”

The other big news is that the Festival is once again offering a ‘50% Off Sale’ ticket sale for the 2019 Festival. This sale is a favourite for Islanders searching for tickets every summer and is on sale for a limited time only. From November 17 to December 1 these can be purchased at the Centre box office, online, or by phone at 1 (902) 566-1267 or 1 (800) 565-0278. This sale is available for Founders’ Circle members as of November 16.

Additional casting, including a new leading star for Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ and a new Gilbert, will be announced in the months ahead.

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Bound for Calgary

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The TD Confederation Centre Young Company is hitting the road again. After a busy 2017 season that saw two troupes crisscross the country, the 2018 company has been invited to perform at the Future of Child Welfare in Canada: National Child Welfare Conference 2018, October 23 to 26 in Calgary, Alberta.

The conference is a Canadian first that brings together the Provincial and Territorial Directors of Child Welfare with the Annual Prairie Child Welfare Consortium conference, and the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work. A central theme is the need to address child welfare within an Indigenous context and to consider ways to move forward in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. It is estimated that nearly half of Canadian children in foster care, under the age of 14 are Indigenous, and that, overall, Indigenous children comprise 30 to 40 percent of children in care.

Thanks to the generous support of Indigenous Services Canada, Confederation Centre is bringing 11 company members to Calgary, all of whom appeared in The Charlottetown Festival production of Aqsarniit (“awe-saw-nee”) this summer. These young artists come from across Canada and will be performing excerpts from Aqsarniit, the Inuktitut word used to describe the northern lights. This high-energy musical re-examines Canada’s past through the varied lenses of today’s youth and shares some of the stories they hope will be told in the future.

“Confederation Centre is at the forefront of engaging in a national dialogue and this event is reflective of the art we are creating at the Festival and the Centre,” says Mary Francis Moore, associate artistic director of The Charlottetown Festival. “It is an honour to be invited.”

The Young Company will have the opportunity to perform for an audience of stakeholders from every province and territory. The troupe will appear as part of the opening keynote address and just before the closing keynote from Senator Murray Sinclair, former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. During the opening keynote, the troupe will perform excerpts from Aqsarniit and also participate in an audience Q+A with company members discussing what they wish to see for Canada’s future.

 “We are continuously proud of the work of our emerging artists and creative team with the Young Company,” says Steve Bellamy, CEO of Confederation Centre. “The National Child Welfare Conference is an important new initiative and we are humbled that our musical production, which speaks to the realities of Canadian history and this country’s efforts towards Truth and Reconciliation, can contribute to these proceedings in such a meaningful way.”

For more on this inspiring conference, visit their website. The 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 title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival is CIBC. Program sponsor for the Young Company is TD.

 

Dutch Mason Pulls In

Kronborg 1582 at Indian River

In celebration of one of the Festival’s most successful ever musicals Confederation Centre will revisit Kronborg 1582 this month, presenting a concert performance at the world-renowned Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River on Friday, July 28.

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Based on the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, the rock opera was produced by Confederation Centre in 1975, starring Brent Carver and Beverly D’Angelo, and went on to play on Broadway. The rock musical was created by Cliff Jones and was originally commissioned by the CBC. It tells the story of a Danish prince who plots revenge on his uncle for killing his father.

On Friday July 28 at 7:30 p.m., members of The 2017 Charlottetown Festival Ensemble and Orchestra will deliver a concert performance of Kronborg at the W.C. Harris-built Indian River Church, marking an exciting collaboration between two iconic Island summer events: the Indian River Festival and The Charlottetown Festival.

The concert performance will star P.E.I.’s own Aaron Hastelow as Hamlet, Cam MacDuffee as Claudius, Kristen Pottle as Ophelia, and Alana Hibbert as Gertrude. Additional casting includes George Masswohl as Polonius, Connor Lucas as Laertes, Eric Dahlinger as Horatio, Evan Taylor Benyacar as Marcellus, Robbie Graham-Kuntz as Rosencrantz, Adam Sergison as Guildenstern, Glenda Landry as Honeybelle, Hank Stinson as Sexton/Ghost, and Susan Henley as the M.C. Additional cast members from the Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ company will complete the Kronborg chorus.

Kronborg: 1582 is directed by the Festival’s Associate Artistic Director, Mary Francis Moore and musically directed by Craig Fair. Tickets are available at indianriverfestival.com, at the Indian River Festival box office at Historic St. Mary’s Church, 1374 Hamilton Road (12-5 p.m. daily), or via phone, at 1-866-856-3733.

Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre;  and The Charlottetown Festival sponsor, CIBC. Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

Dream Catchers Goes On Tour

It’s off to the races for the creative team behind The Dream Catchers, a national touring production and signature initiative supported by the Government of Canada’s Canada 150 Fund.

For the next eight weeks, an artistic team from the Centre is traveling coast to coast to coast, facilitating creative workshops and engaging more than 260 young people. These workshops will take place in each province and territory, tapping into the visions that youth have for our country, with a focus on the environment, inclusion, and reconciliation.

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The 13 workshops launch this weekend Saturday, February 4, at the Trinity United Church Community Hall in Summerside, P.E.I. with partner organization Generation XX. Each of these sessions will be led in collaboration with regional artists, including Fred Penner, Emm Gryner, City Natives, and in Summerside, the Island’s own Paper Lions.

Close to 300 dreamcatchers, encapsulating the dreams of Canada’s youth, will be created by the end of workshop tour each workshop and integrated by Indigenous visual artist Nick Huard into a stunning national dreamcatcher, exhibited in the Centre’s crown jewel, Memorial Hall, all summer long.

Mary Francis Moore, associate artistic director of The 2017 Charlottetown Festival will be guiding all of these workshops alongside Huard. Other collaborating artists include Romesh Thavanathan (Tiny Emperor) from Hey Rosetta!, Twin Flames, Kinnie Starr, Khodi Dill, Daniel Maté, Nikki Payne, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Carmen Braden and Riley Simpson-Fowler.

After engaging young people across Canada in workshops and through digital submissions, The Dream Catchers creative team will produce a vibrant musical for an expanded 2017 Young Company. Thirteen new pieces of performance art – music, stories, spoken-word, dance and more – will be created between now and April and woven into a brand new musical premiering at the Centre on National Aboriginal Day, June 21. Presented by both a touring company and a Charlottetown-based troupe, this production will also travel across the country this summer.

For more information, please visit: dreamingcanada.ca Follow hashtag #Centre150 for tour updates on this and other 2017 commemoration projects at Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Catch a Dream

Calling All Dreamers! Confederation Centre Launches Website and Submission Page for ‘The Dream Catchers’

Confederation Centre’s signature project for Canada’s 150th anniversary next year is The Dream Catchers, a national touring production in two stages, funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 Fund. Between February and April, an artistic team will travel to each province and territory to facilitate workshops, exploring young people’s dreams for themselves and Canada, with a focus toward the environment, inclusion, and reconciliation.

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Youth across the country will also be able to submit their dreams online, sharing their hopes for the future. The Dream Catchers website is now live and ready to receive dreams for a brighter future and applications to be part of the exciting workshops.

The website and dream submission page for youth age 17 and under to apply to be part of The Dream Catchers can be found in both French and English at dreamingcanada.ca or capteursdereves.ca.

Applicants may submit artwork, short videos, or text proposals and be as plain or poetic as they feel. The key to a good submission is the core idea and not the style, length, or format at this stage.

In the workshops actual dreamcatchers will also be created by the youth in each community and integrated by Indigenous visual artist Nick Huard into a large national dreamcatcher exhibited at Confederation Centre next summer.

Huard and Mary Francis Moore, associate artistic director of The 2017 Charlottetown Festival, will lead the sessions in collaboration with local artists in each region, including Fred Penner, Twin Flames, Nikki Payne, Romesh Thavanathan of Hey Rosetta, City Natives, and more.

“Our youth are our future ancestors and their dreams are impressive,” states Huard. “This project encourages them to imagine, gives them a voice and a chance to represent themselves. We want to remind them to keep dreaming because dreams can become reality, and The Dream Catchers reminds them to pursue the dream the creator put in their hearts.”

Gleaned from the workshop ideas and online submissions from Canada’s young people, the creative team will produce a vibrant and movement-filled musical for an expanded Confederation Centre Young Company. A troupe of 26 emerging artists will be cast to present this exciting new theatre production both on P.E.I and nationally throughout the summer of 2017.

Cast of Spoon River Surfaces

Confederation Centre will play host to one of the most celebrated new musicals in Canada this summer. Today, the Centre announced an impressive 11-member ensemble for Spoon River, a mystical, musical celebration of life, co-produced by Soulpepper Theatre Company and The Charlottetown Festival.

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Playing The Mack cabaret theatre from July 6 to August 20, this uplifting hootenanny is composed and adapted by Charlottetown’s own Mike Ross and directed by Albert Schultz. The cast features a who’s who of Canadian musical theatre, including eight Charlottetown Festival veterans. They are:

Alana Bridgewater – Hairspray, Mirvish’s We Will Rock You, Gemini-nominated vocalist

Matt Campbell – lead in The Full Monty and Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad, Canada ROCKS!

Jonathan Ellul – Forever Plaid, King Lear and Oklahoma! at Stratford Festival

Susan Henley – ‘Rachel Lynde’ in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical, Evangeline, Hairspray! 1st U.S. National tour

Amanda LeBlanc – lead in Dear Johnny Deere, 2016 National Arts Centre Ensemble

Mary Francis Moore – co-writer of Bittergirl and Bittergirl-The Musical, lead in TPM’s The Thing Between Us

Alicia Toner – Evangeline, lead in the Centre’s Cinderella, Mirvish’s Once

Sandy Winsby – four seasons as ‘Matthew’ in Anne, Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, Mirvish’s Kinky Boots

The ensemble also features three Soulpepper Theatre Company regulars marking their first performances with Charlottetown:

Richard Lam – Spoon River world premiere, The Crucible and Of Human Bondage

Brendan Wall – Spoon River world premiere, War Horse for Mirvish and London’s West End,  Mirvish’s Once

Daniel Williston – Soulpepper’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Death of a Salesman, Mirvish’s Kinky Boots

Based on the seminal Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, townsfolk of long ago are brought to life in this dream-like production whose soundtrack calls to mind the music of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Spoon River’s residents raise their voices in song in an immersive portrait of early 20th-century rural life. The production won the 2015 Dora Award for Outstanding New Musical as well as the 2015 Toronto Theatre Critics’ Association Award for Best Musical.

Mike Ross is thrilled to bring this production to his home province. “Spoon River is a show dear to my heart, and I think that Charlottetown is the perfect place to tell these incredible stories about small town living, and love and loss,” he said. “I know this very talented cast will make the show an unforgettable musical and theatrical experience this summer.”