The Charlottetown Festival Set to Return with Three Mainstage Musicals
-Confederation Centre announces 2021 summer festival, including:
OLD STOCK, Dear Rita, and Between Breaths; as well as THE RISING! from the Young Company-
confederationIt’s show time!After being forced to cancel the entire 2020 Charlottetown Festival due to the pandemic, Confederation Centre of the Arts is excited to raise the curtain for the 2021 Festival, which will run from June 3-September 4.
CEO Steve Bellamy and Artistic Director of Performing Arts Adam Brazier today announced three Mainstage productions for the summer festival, presented by CIBC, as well as a Young Company production.
“On the Mainstage, we are excited to offer our patrons three enchanting, true stories from right here in Atlantic Canada,” says Brazier. “These stories demonstrate what it takes to be a hero, to put everything on the line, and to fight for those who cannot.”
Festival tickets are on sale now for Centre members and go on sale to the general public on Saturday, April 10 at 12 noon A.T. From April 10-24, tickets for the best seats in the house are available at 25% off. Members have immediate access to this promotion. This applies to the first five performances after opening night of each of the three Mainstage shows. Tickets can be purchased online, via phone at 1 (800) 565.0278, or in person at the box office.
v Between Breaths
Inspired by a true story, Between Breaths sails through the journey of Newfoundland’s Dr. Jon Lien, who spent his life’s work saving whales trapped in fishing nets. “The Whale Man” rescued over 500 whales and earned the respect of the province’s fishers, but his biggest fight came late in life as dementia threatened his body and mind.
Featuring a live score composed by The Once, Between Breaths is a profound play about the parts of ourselves we hold on to after everything else is gone. Sponsored by CAA Atlantic and presented by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, this production plays June 3-19.
v Dear Rita
Making its world premiere in 2021 isan inspiring production celebrating the life and songs of the Maritimes’ most beloved singer-songwriter, Rita MacNeil. Woven around a script from Cape Breton’s Lindsay Kyte and music direction and arranging by P.E.I.’s Mike Ross, this cabaret musical features a powerful ensemble of actors accompanied by a sizzling hot band. Sponsored by Key Murray Law, Dear Ritaplays June 29 to August 6.
“Dear Rita is a musical love-letter to a true fixture of Canadian culture, a fierce and passionate performer whose songs were international hits, inspiring generations of music lovers,” glows Brazier.
v OLD STOCK: A Refugee Love Story
“We are thrilled to bring OLD STOCK to Charlottetown,” adds Brazier. “This is one of the most important pieces of theatre we have done in years. It has received rave reviews everywhere from New York to the U.K. and across Canada. This story is funny and dark and beautifully realized.”
Starring East Coast sensation Ben Caplan, this Klezmer music-theatre hybrid explores how to love and find a shared humanity after facing the horrors of war.Sponsored by Honibe,OLD STOCK plays August 12 to September 4.
v THE RISING!
The 2021 Festival will also mark the return of the Confederation Centre Young Company, in partnership with TD Ready Commitment. The Young Company will perform the new production THE RISING!—a high-energy journey exploring protest music and moments in time where society stood up for civil and judicial rights. This production will be presented in the outdoor amphitheatre, from July 9-August 21.
v Safety Protocols
Patron capacities will continue to be limited throughout the Centre and theatre seats will be safely staggered. Shows will be presented with no intermission and concessions are to be ordered online in advance. Mask-wearing and social distancing will remain mandatory throughout the complex.
“We look forward to safely welcoming audiences back to the Mainstage for a fun night out this summer,” offers CEO Steve Bellamy. “We continue to work closely with public health authorities to ensure a safe and entertaining experience for all patrons, whether in our theatres, galleries, or art camps on site.”
The Centre is thankful to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their ongoing support.
The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn, winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which originally starred Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, uses a card game as a metaphor for life. Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady. They discover they both dislike the home and enjoy gin rummy, so they begin to play and to reveal intimate details of their lives. The Gin Game will be performed from July 13th to 31st.
Mainstage Series: Pleasureville by Ellen DennyJune 24 to July 23 Singalong Jubilee – A Musical Tribute July 9 to August 10 Tapestry: A Tribute to Carole King July 29 to August 14 The Guild Festival Ensemble: Charlotte MooreRebecca McCauley Steph Hood Andrew Murray Julien Kitson Geordie Brown Celebration Series: Ava & Lily – June 18 Alicia Toner – July 3 Vince the Messenger – August 7 Noah Malcolm – July 16Shane Pendergast – August 27 Oshun Dance – July 12 & 19The Serenades – June 17 & August 26 Popalopalots – June 19, July 24, August 21 Children’s Series: Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Disney’s The Beauty & The Beast Jr. The Guild MTS Kids Ceilidh
The Easter Bunny is on its way to Georgetown! Children of all ages are welcome to our Kings Playhouse Easter Egg Hunt which will occur twice (in two groups) on Monday, April 5th- The first at 2pm and the second at 2:45pm. Registration is therefore required. Please call 1 866 346 5666, or visit us online at https://kingsplayhouse.com/event/easter-egg-hunt/…
Don’t forget to bring your basket, your mask, and your very best scavenger skills!~ The hunt will be on regardless of snow, if warm outdoors in the gardens, if quite cold- indoors. We are so delighted to welcome the Easter Bunny to our KP home for some fun with our community’s kiddos!
The new Administrator at the Watermark Theatre is Lara Dias. Lara is delighted to join the Watermark Theatre as the new Administrator. Lara has over 20 years experience in corporate communications, donations, sponsorships, and event management. For many years she was the Manager of TD Scholarships for Community Leadership, one of Canada’s largest and most prestigious post-secondary scholarships and most recently was an office manager within the Archdiocese of Toronto. Born in Vancouver and raised in Toronto, Lara grew up in a creative environment fostering a love for the arts, especially in music. She lives in New Glasgow with her husband and daughter.
The act of going out to the theatre used to feel like a holiday. There’s a festive spirit in the air, people are generally happy to be with one another, and sometimes you drink too much either because you’re having a good time or because you wishyou were having a good time.
Now, theatre actually has it’s own holiday. March 27th is recognized as World Theatre Day: a day where theatre artists share a photo from their favourite theatrical moment. In past years, the date tends to get scrolled past with little fanfare (let’s face it, actors don’t need a holiday to share photos of themselves.) But this year, World Theatre Day carried with it a heavier weight of reflection and contemplation. Myself, like many others, wondered when we may get to experience theatre ever again.
While it is not a holiday in it’s most “technical” sense, World Theatre Day made me realize how much about theatre I have taken for granted. I moved forward everyday with the assumption that the stage would be there, that audiences would be there, and theatre would always be there.
My first ever audition for a play wasn’t even a choice I made on my own. I was seventeen, and my partner at the time had Broadway dreams, but until they got their driver’s licence, they’d have to settle for Kings Playhouse in Georgetown.
My partner was excited to audition, and wanted me to come with them for moral support. When we got to the Playhouse, my partner gave a great audition, and the director even said “I’m sure we’ve got something for you!” The director noticed me in the distance. “We sure are short on guys to fill the male roles, though.”
I was sitting on a bench, pretending to not overhear the conversation. Maybe if I just stay perfectly still, no one will notice me. While that tactic may work on dinosaurs, it generally does not work in romantic relationships.
My partner looked at me with pleading look in their eyes. It was the sort of look where I knew if I obliged they would be very happy, yet alternatively, if I declined it would be my funeral.
I took the audition script in my hands, and marched onto the stage.
As I made my solemn death march, my fears of public speaking haunted my mind, most of which took place at church. I had vivid memories of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in Cardigan and dreading the day I would be asked to read the Psalms. My squeaky pre-pubescent voice would read one verse, and a trudging chorus of 9am seniors would read the following. Even standing in front of a crowd made me nervous. Another Sunday I was asked to light the Advent candle and was so nervous in front everyone I dropped the match on the church carpet. Luckily, a swift stomp from the minister prevented any damage, but it didn’t stop a member of the congregation from calling out “holy smoke!”
I pushed the memories of church out of my mind. The director made the instructions clear: stand there, and say the words out loud. That’s acting. “Okay,” I thought. “Pretty simple.” As soon as I opened my mouth, I immediately began stuttering over words and trembling with the script clenched in my hands. In that moment, I discovered a new facet about acting: simple to do, hard to do well.
I don’t know if it was something about the way my trembling voice carried in the theatre, or perhaps it was lack of any other viable options, but the director offered me a role in the play. I was thrown by the whole experience that I didn’t even ask what play we were doing.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.”
My endeavour to block out painful memories of church-born stage fright were now more difficult than ever, thanks to Andrew Lloyd Weber deciding to give a Broadway makeover to the Biblical story of a boy and his fancy coat.
As we were leaving, the director shared with us an interesting piece of history about Kings Playhouse. “Oh yeah! We have a ghost who likes to come out at night. We call him Captain George. Anyways. See you at rehearsal!”
As we got in the car and watched the theatre fade out of view from the rearview mirror, I kept thinking “… did she say this theatre had a ghost?” She mentioned it as casually as she might have said “by the way, we have a new light-fixture in the lobby, new taps in the bathroom, and also the spiritual energy of life from beyond the grave.”
I wouldn’t call myself a deeply religious person, but I’m not unreligious. The technical term may be “recovering Christian.” However, I have not let go of faith in spirituality or the possibility of a divine essence.
But there’s no such thing as ghosts.
But I really wanted to see one.
I agree to take part in the show, only so I can spot this ghost. I didn’t think they existed but I wanted to be proven wrong.
The play required weeks of rehearsal. I was worried I’d look foolish, and that worry was quickly confirmed on day one when they had us singing and dancing. But I wasn’t alone.
I learned over the next few weeks to not take myself quite so seriously. I had help from the rest of the cast as we became great friends during the whole process. In theatre, I find that you develop a common bond with your cast mates. It’s like we’re all in the trenches together, except our military training consisted of choreography, vocal warmups, and meticulous blocking notes (and, if you’re me, ghost-hunting on breaks.)
Time passes at a different rate on stage. In the slow of time before the curtain rises, all that can be heard is a murmur of excitement from the audience, as well quiet prayer to whoever will listen from within the wings. Time slows down only so it can double in pace the moment the show begins. The story is told in a lightning-fast technicolour blur consisting of a choir of youths who were glad to have done it once but may never do it again, and inspired teens who dream of doing it for the rest of their lives. To my joyful, humble, and grateful surprise, I was among the later.
I didn’t find any ghosts, but I learned to believe in theatre.
Time after that show seemed to go by quickly as well. It’s been over a decade since that show has closed, and I still find myself chasing the floorboards. From travelling, to education, to maintaining career stability, I found that over time I lost sight of why do I bother doing it. For years, I felt like I was constantly chasing a feeling, when truly that moment on stage, just like that first moment, was about harassing something within myself I didn’t know existed. Something that in the constant hustle and grind I have taken for granted.
Again, none of this was part of the plan. When I think back to that first audition at Kings Playhouse, I remember learning that while the show is brief, what lasts beyond the curtain call is the feeling of knowing you were part of something bigger than yourself. I am reminded that sometimes when things don’t go as planned, you open yourself up to an opportunity of learning, which can allow you to grow into someone you never thought you could become. I am reminded of the importance of being present and not taking anything for granted.
Saturday morning art classes are starting up again April 17! Through fun exercises and lessons, students learn skills that develop their visual literacy and ability. At the end of the course, students will create an artwork in the medium of their choosing using the skills they have learned throughout the class!