Dial M Busts Out

Watermark Theatre is thrilled to announce that box office revenue for the recently completed 2018 summer season was up by 10% over last year. Productions of Dial M For Murder and A Moon For The Misbegotten both exceeded expectations while season subscription passes increased as well. In fact, Dial M For Murder became the highest grossing production in the history of the company. The productions’ success is attributed to the extremely high quality of work from all the artists involved, wonderful word-of-mouth throughout the Island, a successful marketing plan, and exceptional reviews from both The Guardian and The Buzz.

This marks the third year in a row that box office revenues have increased for Watermark since Artistic Director Robert Tsonos and General Manager Andrea Surich took over the company in the Fall of 2015.

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Robert is of course thrilled with how audiences have responded to his programming. “We seem to have reached a tipping point where word of mouth across the Island has boosted our audience numbers. People have started to spread the word about the work we do here in North Rustico and it’s very satisfying to see so many full houses. People are driving from across the Island now to see our shows and letting tourists know how to find us. We feel like we really have the support of the whole Island behind us now. It’s a great position to be in”.

Andrea Surich says that the theatre has become an economic engine for the community. “The restaurants and shops in North Rustico and surrounding area keep getting busier and busier. We help them out by luring new visitors to the area and they help us out by allowing our patrons to have a bite to eat or do a little shopping before one of our shows. A full summer evening’s experience.”

Programming for Watermark’s 2019 summer season will be announced very soon.

For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

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Hear Ye Hear Ye

Plays Announced For Play Reading Series Featuring Local Playwrights

Three local PEI playwrights will have their plays read at the Watermark Theatre this August as part of the theatre’s Play Reading Series. The three plays are “Through Eden”  by Stuart Smith, “Past Artistry” by J.J. Steinfeld, and Jennifer Platts-Fanning’s play “Held to the Fire”.

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Actors from the Watermark acting company, with scripts in hand, will read the plays to an audience. This allows the playwrights to further develop their work. “Plays are meant to be heard and it’s so helpful to the development of a play for a playwright to be in a theatre amongst the audience to hear how the play is working”, says Watermark Artistic Director Robert Tsonos.

Stuart Smith‘s play tells the story of Evey Gaudet who has arrived back on PEI to see her old flame, Aden MacKenzie, after a three year absence. Over the course of a single, storm-filled evening, old resentments are revisited, and new secrets are revealed. Can the pieces of the past be put back together again? Stuart studied theatre arts at Acadia, where he completed a thesis on the plays of Peter Shaffer. In the decades since then, he acted, directed, and produced shows in New Brunswick and Maine, in both community theatre and through drama programs at schools. In the early 90s, he co-founded the St. Croix Theatre Company in New Brunswick. He was artistic director of that company for six years, until he moved to PEI. Since moving to the island in 2000, Stuart’s focus has been on educational theatre in junior high, but he has recently started writing again for the stage as well as getting back on the boards as an actor.

J. J. Steinfeld is a fiction writer, poet, and playwright who lives on Prince Edward Island. He has published eighteen books, including Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), and Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions). Over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States, including the full-length plays The Franz Kafka Therapy Session, The Golden Age of Monsters, and A Television-Watching Artist; and the one-act plays Godot’s Leafless Tree, The Waiting Ends, The Entrance-or-Not Barroom, The Word-Lover, Laugh for Sanity, Back to Back, Imaginative Drinking, In a Washroom of a Prestigious Art Gallery, More Than Money, A Play of Disbelief, Memory Sounds, and A Question of Eternity.

J.J.’s play Past Artistry deals with the relationship between creativity, the past, family, artistic life and artistic vision. A forty-seven-year-old artist is visited by the man, now old and wanting to confess his act before he dies, who shot him thirty-two years before. The shooting, when the artist was fifteen, led him to become an artist and he does not want to know the truth about the unknown assailant who has never been caught. The entrance of the old man into his life affects the artist’s relationship with his artist daughter and with his art-dealer friend.

Jennifer Platts-Fanning is a playwright and short story writer. She spent a year acting in various ACT (A Community Theatre) gigs including Plays in a Day, A Man of Two Minds and Our Town.  As a backpacking vagabond in her 20s, she slung pints for a living at The Worlds End in Edinburgh, Scotland and “worked” alongside Christopher Lee as an extra in the movie Greyfriars Bobby. While living in Cork, Ireland she once sat sipping warm Guinness in a small, brightly lit IRA pub teaching the gruff old men the lyrics to Barrett’s Privateers. Jennifer’s ultimate goals for writing Held to the Fire are twofold. Firstly, she hopes people struggling with bipolar will feel represented, understood and heard. Secondly, she hopes those outside the disorder will have a better understanding of this life-changing illness.

Jennifer’s play’s main character, Phoenix, is spinning, caught in her own maelstrom. Inner demons threaten to dismantle her life. A lover, a mother, a woman saddled with a frenzied mind, she journeys from constellation mythologies to moon gardening, yurts to communing with Death. A raw and unveiled window into the dark depths of human consciousness.

The dates and times of the plays are:

August 4th at 1:30PM – Through Eden by Stuart Smith
August 15th at 1:30PM – Past Artistry J.J. Steinfeld
August 22nd at 1:30PM – Held to the Fire by Jennifer Platts-Fanning

Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased by going to the company’s website http://www.watermarktheatre.com

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the playwrights please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Atlantic Drama Festival On Tap

Next weekend, Watermark Theatre will host the National Theatre School of Canada’s Atlantic Drama Festival at their theatre in North Rustico.

Formerly known as the Sears Atlantic Drama Festival, the event which runs from May 18th to 20th, brings together high school students from throughout the region to view, discuss and enjoy each other’s creative efforts, under the guidance of experienced adjudicators. The Festival facilitates and inspires a love of theatre, team work, problem solving, originality and entrepreneurship. “I am excited for students, teachers and community members across several provinces as we enter this new period in our history. Now, under the banner of the National Theatre School Drama Festival we look forward to our first season of compelling and unique theatre for and by theatre students,” said Wayne Fairhead, Executive Director of the organization.

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“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the volunteers, teachers, coaches, theatre professionals, adjudicators, parents and friends of the festival who give their time, expertise and encouragement to make this festival possible. At NTS, we believe that theatre allows people to imagine, think and feel collectively. The Drama Festival is a fine example of the power of theatre to encourage empathy, creativity, debate and community building,” said Gideon Arthurs, CEO of the National Theatre School of Canada.

The Atlantic Drama Festival is part of a trio of Drama Festivals, the other two are in Ontario and B.C. all now under the umbrella of the National Theatre School. The Ontario Drama Festival, founded in 1946, is Canada’s oldest theatre festival. It helped launch the careers of numerous actors, directors and production professionals, including actors Margot Kidder, Rachel McAdams, Yanna McIntosh and R.H. Thomson, as well as movie director David Cronenberg. In 2018, the National Theatre School of Canada added new artistic resources for participants and is working to eventually expand the festivals to include more young artists, as well as provide financial and administrative support.

About the National Theatre School of Canada: Founded in 1960, in Montreal, the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) offers incomparable training for theatre artists of all kinds, actors, directors, designers, writers, production specialists, to create work that matters. A co-lingual school, NTS includes both an English section and a French section. The School has graduated some 2000 artists who have made incalculable contributions to our collective identity. Some of this country’s most important theatre, performance, film, and television artists are among their ranks, and the School’s influence is felt from coast to coast to coast and across the globe.

Watermark is thrilled to host this remarkable event and look forward to inspiring the next generation of theatre artists. “We continue to focus a lot of our energies on training, mentoring, and inspiring young theatre artists”, says Watermark Artistic Director Robert Tsonos. “This Festival, along with our professional mentorship program and our teenage acting conservatory really sets our theatre up as a training ground for the future of theatre in this province and across the country”.

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the participants please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Theatre
57 Church Hill Ave
North Rustico, PE
C0A 1X0
(902) 963-3963
http://www.watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Theatre is a proud member of the Professional Theatre Network of PEI.

Calling All Cast Members

Final Casting Announced For Watermark Summer Season

Watermark’s 2018 acting company is a great mix of professional actors from PEI, actors with family and professional history on the Island, and actors from across the country. Joining already announced acting company members Brielle Ansems and Robert Tsonos will be husband and wife acting team Geoffrey Pounsett and Madeleine Donohue, Paul Cowling, Richard Beaune, and local actor Jacob Hemphill.

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A twenty-year veteran of Canadian theatre, Toronto based actor Geoffrey Pounsett has performed in theatres across the country, has been a company member with both the Stratford and Charlottetown Festivals (“Fire” in 2002), and has appeared in several productions for Canadian Stage, Factory and Tarragon Theatres in Toronto.

Madeleine Donahue appeared in “Midnight Madness” and “Old Wives’ Tales” at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre, preceded by “Deceitful Above All Things” for the Storefront Theatre in Toronto. Other recent work includes “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Humber River Shakespeare Company, and five seasons with Driftwood Theatre Group.

This will be actor Paul Cowling’s first time visiting PEI, but he has some history on the Island – his mother’s family settled in Hunter River when they emigrated from Scotland many years ago. Paul has appeared on stage throughout Western Canada in such shows as “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight”, “9 to 5 The Musical”, “Hamlet”, “The Cripple of Inishmaan”, and many others.

Richard Beaune returns to the Watermark after appearing as Friar Laurence in the company’s 2015 production of “Romeo & Juliet”. He has performed in every province and territory across Canada in both official languages over a 30 year career. His work has ranged from Shakespeare (30 professional productions and counting) to new works of physical theatre and all stops in between.

Local PEI actor Jacob Hemphill is in his 3rd year of studying Theatre and Opera Performance at Dalhousie University, in Halifax. His acting credits include “The Sound of Music”, “Peter Pan”, “The Wizard of Oz” (Confederation Centre); “My Fair Lady” (The Grand Theatre); and “The Magic Flute” (Dalhousie Arts Centre).

All of these fine actors will be appearing in “Dial M For Murder” by Frederick Knott and “A Moon For The Misbegotten” by Eugene O’Neill throughout the summer months as well as taking part in the Watermark Play Reading series and most will teach acting classes in the company’s Teenage Acting Conservatory.
A busy summer for all!

Dial M For Murder runs from June 26th to September 1st
A Moon for the Misbegotten runs from July 6th to August 31st
The Play Reading Series is on August 4th, 15th, and 22nd
The Teenage Acting Conservatory is from July 23rd to Aug 3rd

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the actors please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Robert Tsonos Returns to the Stage

Watermark Theatre is delighted to announce that Artistic Director Robert Tsonos will play the lead part of Tony Wendice in Dial “M” For Murder by Frederick Knott in the company’s 2018 summer season.

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Originally hired as an actor by Watermark in 2014, Robert has not appeared on stage with the company since taking over the role as Artistic Director almost three years ago. Audiences will remember him as Lord Goring in “An Ideal Husband”, Bill Starbuck in “The Rainmaker”, and Richard The Lionheart in “The Lion In Winter”.

“I’m thrilled to be back on stage”, says Tsonos, “it just seemed like the right time and the right role for me to act again”. “It allows me to stay connected with our audiences and reminds me what it’s like to be an actor with this company, entertaining audiences every night”.

Robert’s other acting credits include theatres across the country and internationally. He played the lead role of Macbeth at the Hong Kong Arts Centre and Hamlet with the Tokyo International Players as well as appearing in “Problem Child”, “The Domino Heart”, and “For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again” at the Canadian Embassy Theatre in Tokyo. Canadian credits include “Three Days of Rain” at Sudbury Theatre Centre and “Othello” at Persephone Theatre. Film and television credits include “Reign”, “Packed to the Rafters”, “Rake”, “Push”, and “Warehouse 13”.

Dial “M” For Murder by Frederick Knott, written in 1952, tells the frightening story of a husband planning the murder of his adulterous wife. He arranges the perfect crime by blackmailing a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her at a time when he has the perfect alibi. Of course, things do not turn out as planned. The play that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s film classic weaves an ever-tightening web of danger and deception. Full of twists, turns, and suspense, this gripping thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“The role of Tony Wendice is a challenging one”, says Tsonos, “he’s a sly, conniving scoundrel, but is extremely smart and charming at the same time.  I can’t wait to start rehearsals”.

Watermark’s 2018 summer season runs from June 26th to September 1st, 2018.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Mr. Tsonos please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Watermark is a proud member of the (PTN) Professional Theatre Network of PEI.

Over the Moon

Local actress to star in “A Moon for the Misbegotten” at Watermark Theatre

Watermark Theatre is delighted to announce that local PEI actress Brielle Ansems has won the coveted lead role of Josie Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten after a national audition search.

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Raised in Montague, and currently living in Charlottetown, Brielle is a student at the Holland College School of Performing Arts Theatre Program and is also immersed in a burgeoning career as a singer-songwriter here on the Island. Her theatre experience includes “The Island’s Super Duper Fantabulous Holiday Smorgasbord of Joy” at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, “The Princess and the Pea” with The Cat’s Pajamas Theatre Company, and Theatre St. Thomas’ “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”. You may also have seen her in a multitude of shows with White Rose Entertainment’s Feast Dinner Theatres.

Brielle is thrilled to be making her full-season debut at the Watermark, particularly in a role with as much to offer as Josie Hogan. “Josie’s resilience and vulnerability are so real and compelling, and it’s an honour to be able to bring her to life this summer”.

“We held auditions for this role in Charlottetown, Halifax, and in Toronto. We also received video taped auditions submitted from across the country”, says Watermark Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, “Brielle had stiff competition from many very talented actresses from across the country but she did a superb audition and we are thrilled to have her join us this summer”.

A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill is a unique blend of comedy, tragedy, autobiography, and imagination.  A love story set in 1923 between a Broadway actor, Jim Tyrone, and a Connecticut farm girl named Josie Hogan. Josie and her hard drinking Irish father Phil scheme to hold on to the farm they’ve worked for 20 years. When their neighbour, an oil magnate, stakes a claim on their property they do all they can to stop the sale. Under the light of one night’s magical moon A Moon for The Misbegotten plumbs the depth of the human spirit with tremendous redemptive power.
“The finest love story in American dramatic literature” – New York Daily News

Brielle can’t wait to start rehearsals and spend the summer in North Rustico, “I couldn’t be more excited to be cast in this production. O’Neill’s writing is an actor’s dream, and this show is no exception.”

A Moon for the Misbegotten runs from July 6th to August 31st, 2018.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Ms. Ansems please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Dials Up Director for Murder

Megan Watson to direct “Dial M For Murder” at Watermark Theatre

Watermark Theatre is delighted to announce that Megan Watson has been hired to direct Dial “M” For Murder by Frederick Knott in the company’s 2018 summer season.

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Originally from Ottawa, Ms. Watson is currently the Artistic Associate with The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. She holds an MFA in directing from the University of Alberta and a BFA in acting from Ryerson University. Her recent directing credits include: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Shakespeare in the Ruff), “Agency” (Yell Rebel), “Extremophiles” (Summerworks), “Julius Caesar” (Grand Theatre HSP), “Crookback – an adaptation of Richard III” (Beacon Theatre), “When the Rain Stops Falling”, “Much Ado About Nothing” (University of Alberta), and “Derailed” (AMY Project). As the Artistic Associate at The Grand, she leads the new play development program, COMPASS, and will be directing “The Glass Menagerie” April 3rd to 14th, 2018.

“We’re delighted to have Megan join us this season”, enthused Watermark Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, “She’s a very talented director and is going to bring a great energy, theatricality, and intelligence to our production”.

Dial “M” For Murder by Frederick Knott, written in 1952, tells the frightening story of a husband planning the murder of his adulterous wife. He arranges the perfect crime by blackmailing a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her at a time when he has the perfect alibi. Of course, things do not turn out as planned. The play that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s film classic weaves an ever-tightening web of danger and deception. Full of twists, turns, and suspense, this gripping thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Artistic Director Robert Tsonos will also be directing this summer. He will be tackling the classic American love story by Eugene O’Neill, A Moon For The Misbegotten. The designers hired for our summer productions will be familiar to PEI audiences as all have worked on previous seasons. Set designer William Layton is joining us for his 3rd season, lighting designer Renée Brode joins us for her 2nd season, and Julia Hodgson will serve as costume designer this year in her 2nd season with the company.

Our 2018 summer season runs from June 26th to September 1st, 2018.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Ms. Watson please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com