Tag Archives: Watermark Theatre North Rustico PEI

Family Affair

Island native, Bryde MacLean, was born to play the role of Ruth in Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit.” Her mother, veteran Charlottetown actor Sharlene MacLean, was pregnant with Bryde when she stage managed a production of the play at The Confederation Centre in 1984. Her father, the well-known Island actor Bill McFadden, starred as Charles Condomine in that same production. (A side note: the production was directed by Ron Irving and also starred Cathy Grant, Laurel Smyth, Martha Irving, and Deb Allen)

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With this lineage, Bryde was clearly destined for the stage. Encouraged by teachers at Kensington High School, trained at the Summerside School of Dance, Bryde went on to Ryerson University in Toronto, completing the four-year acting program in 2011. Bryde appeared as Anne at Avonlea Village and was invited to bring the Island’s favourite red-head to Barbados, appearing as Anne at the High Commissioner’s Canada Day Celebrations. Island audiences saw Bryde at The Confederation Centre last summer in “Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad”. She recently completed some film and media projects with Island-based Tiny Town Media, and can be seen in season 2 of the television series “Just Passing Through.”

This summer, while Bryde is playing Ruth in “Blithe Spirit,” at the Watermark Theatre, her husband Jeremie Saunders will be playing Owen in “The Melville Boys” at Victoria Playhouse, in Victoria-by-the Sea. Bryde also looks forward to the arrival of her sister, singer-songwriter Tara MacLean, who will open her new musical show “Open Road” (a celebration of Atlantic singer/songwriters) at the Harmony House on July 23rd and 24th.

For Bryde, the summer of 2016 on the Island will definitely be a “family affair.” There is nothing Bryde would rather do than be working in great theatre at home on the Island, and she is absolutely thrilled to be joining the company this summer on the Watermark Theatre stage.

 

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Cead Mile Failte, in Other Words

Watermark Theatre is delighted to bid Céad Míle Fáilte – A Hundred Thousand Welcomes – to Irish Director Alan Kinsella, who will be staging Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit for the 2016 Watermark Summer Season.

Mr. Kinsella is a native of County Wexford, Ireland, who began his career as an actor at the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and continued in Ireland as a director of plays such as “Dedalus Lounge”, “Decadence”, and “Angels in America”, as well as musicals such as “Victor/Victoria”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, and “Singing in the Rain”.

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An accomplished director of the classical theatre, Mr. Kinsella has staged plays such as “Edward II”, “Henry IV”, “Major Barbara”, and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In 2010, he made his Off‐Broadway debut, directing Stephen Berkoff’s “Lunch”. Above all, Mr. Kinsella has made himself a master of the works of Noel Coward, having directed Coward’s “Still Life”, “While We Were Dancing”, and “Ways and Means”, at the Civic Theatre in Dublin as well as the Coward musical reviews “Marvelous Party”, and “Noel and Cole”.

Mr. Kinsella settled in Canada in 2013 and over the past three years has directed more than 20 Canadian productions in Toronto including “The Woman in Black”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Hair”, and “Anything Goes”.

In the hands of an experienced and able director – and one with such an extensive background in Coward’s works – the Watermark Theatre production of Blithe Spirit promises to deliver all the wit, dazzle and spark which marks the comedy of one of modern theatre’s great playwrights.

 

One Reason There is (Almost) No Winter Theatre

 

PEI STORM

Near the Confederation Centre for the Arts, Charlottetown

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Outside the Victoria Playhouse, Victoria-by-the-Sea

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National Park, North Rustico, near the Watermark Theatre

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Driving to The Guild, Charlottetown

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Summerside, near the Harbourfront Theatre

Gracie Finley Treads the Boards in Spirit and Menagerie

Watermark Theatre is thrilled to announce the first casting news for the 2016 Summer Season. Company member Gracie Finley is to play the pivotal role of Madame Arcati in “Blithe Spirit” and the iconic Amanda Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie”.

Raised in Charlottetown with summers spent in Alberton, Ms. Finley is well known to PEI audiences. Her early career was like “A Star is Born” come to life. A local teenager who, the previous summer had been performing for children in the Charlottetown Festival’s “Circus Tent Theatre” is elevated to the role of Anne Shirley in “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical.” Ms. Finley became the musical’s second “Anne”, and had both the longest continuous run in the role – seven seasons ‐ and the longest total run of nine seasons.

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Following her triumph as Anne, Ms. Finley went on to act in “Mary Queen of Scots”, “Jane Eyre”, “Sunshine Town”, “Private Turvey”, “Life Can be Like Wow, Joey…” all with The Charlottetown Festival as well as “Butterflies are Free” with Theatre New Brunswick, and “Rumpelstiltskin” with Neptune Theatre.

Ms. Finley took a break from acting in the mid 1980’s, but made a stellar return to the theatre at North Rustico’s Watermark in 2013, playing Alfie in “The Shore Field” and The Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland.” She followed these roles up with a magnificent characterization of Eleanor of Aquitaine in “The Lion in Winter” (2014), and portrayals of the coarse and earthy Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet,” and the garrulous Lady Markby in “An Ideal Husband” (2015).

The summer of 2016 may well present Ms. Finley with one of the finest challenges of her career. On the one hand, she will play the zany and bizarre Madame Arcati–the medium who manages to summon up the ghost of a dead wife – in Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit, and on the other hand, in Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie, she will tackle one of the most powerful roles in theatre, Amanda Wingfield, the aging faded southern belle, abandoned by her husband in 1930’s St. Louis, longing for the comforts of her youth, and alienating her son and daughter in the process.

The Watermark is thrilled that, with the return of Gracie Finley, these strong female characters will be in very capable hands. The teenager of “Anne” is now the mature woman of “Eleanor” and she will bring that maturity together with all her other considerable skills to the Watermark stage in this coming summer of 2016.

Setting the Stage

Watermark Theatre’s Board of Directors announced that it would be naming its stage for newly retired founder and artistic director, Duncan McIntosh. McIntosh, whose contribution to dramatic arts in Prince Edward Island and throughout Canada is well‐known, retired this past summer after bringing the Watermark into its most successful season to date.

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Past chair of the Watermark Board of Directors, Mary Crane, commented at a recent celebration in honour of Duncan: “During my time as Chair of the Board, I came to truly respect the talent and passion Duncan brought to every aspect of writing, directing and theatre development. No challenge defeated him and every season was a triumph.”

“Duncan’s respect for the people with whom he engages is admirable and much appreciated,” remarked Lois O’Neill, current Board Chair. “His energy, creative mind and nature, and his determination to build an exceptional classical theatre in our province are inspiring. We are fortunate, indeed, to have had him to lead us to this point. Naming our stage in his honour is tangible recognition of his exceptional gifts, all devoted to nurturing this Theatre since its opening in 2008. At that time, it was to honour the 100th Anniversary of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; since then, he has held true to presenting professional and classical theatre on Prince Edward Island.”

Mr. McIntosh’s visionary perception of Canadian theatre led to the creation of ReIgnite Inc., a unique Watermark endeavour focused on the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation talks that took place on PEI. Its production of ‘Canada 300’ presented nine short original plays in twenty‐one venues across Canada from February to April, 2015.

Each play, grounded in an historical or current facet of Canada, contemplated the future unfolding of Canadian society. Following every performance, audience members discussed the plays and their own wishes for Canada in the next 150 years. The process continued as part of last summer’s Watermark season where it was well received.

In September, this year’s Palmer Conference at UPEI further explored considerations for Canada in the next 150 years. There were thought‐provoking presentations, panel discussions, and opportunities to engage in discussion with delegates from each of the twenty‐ one communities in which ‘Canada 300’ played last winter. From examination of First Nations concerns and immigration, to discussion about what Canadians should consider if we are to thrive as a nation, this year’s Palmer Conference was the brainchild of Mr. McIntosh.

David Bulger, an actor in several Watermark productions, observed that McIntosh is a master at building enthusiasm and collegial atmosphere within a theatre company. “Watermark was the best place I had ever worked at in my many years, and that it was owing to Duncan’s ability to create a positive working and learning environment”, he said.

The Duncan McIntosh Stage will be a reminder for future casts, crews and audiences of Mr. McIntosh’s remarkable legacy. Without a doubt, his artistic vision will continue to touch others for years to come.

Watermark Theatre Announces 2016 Season

The Watermark Theatre’s Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, and General Manager Andrea Surich are proud to announce the 2016 Summer Season.

The season will include the American modern classic The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and the Noel Coward comedy Blithe Spirit. A new initiative, The Watermark Play Reading Series, will be presented throughout the month of August, and our popular music series Classic Music Reignited rounds out the programming for the summer.

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The Glass Menagerie became an instant and enduring hit when it appeared on Broadway in 1945, winning the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play and brought Tennessee Williams, until then an obscure young playwright, to prominence. In a cramped St Louis apartment in 1945 the regrets, hopes and frustrations of an abandoned family are revealed with the truth, humour, and compassion for which Tennessee Williams is renowned. Celebrated as one the greatest plays of the English‐speaking world!

In Blithe Spirit, while researching his new novel, Charles Condomine invites the implausible medium Madame Arcati to his house for a séance. Arcati unwittingly summons the ghost of Charles’ dead wife Elvira who soon makes a play to reclaim her husband, much to the chagrin of Charles’ new wife Ruth. One husband, two feuding wives and a whisper of mischief in the air – Noel Coward at his comedic best!

A Play Reading is as simple as it sounds. Actors, with scripts in hand, using minimal movement on stage, act out plays for an audience. Plays by Arthur Miller, Eugene Ionesco, Lillian Hellman, Eugene O’Neill, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Dario Fo, Clare Boothe Luce, and Harold Pinter are only a few of the possible playwrights featured in the series. Classic Canadian plays will also be included in this series. Plays by David French, Sharon Pollock, Michel Tremblay, John Murrell, and Judith Thompson.

In addition to the great plays of the English‐speaking world, we will also present play readings in French from the masters of French theatre as well as some French‐Canadian classics. Plays by Moliere, Marivaux, Michel Marc Bouchard, Jean‐Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau, Jean Racine and Gratien Gélinas, to name a few.

Classic Music Reignited is our popular music series curated by Rob Oakie. Island musical artists interpret classic composers in a way that you have never heard before. Last summer we celebrated the music of Edith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and The Rat Pack trio of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin. Our 2016 lineup will be announced soon.

Season Tickets are now on sale at early bird rates of $99 for 4 tickets and $124 for 6 tickets. For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902‐963‐3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

The Watermark Theatre is at 57 Church Hill Ave in North Rustico, across the street from the Church of Stella Maris.