All the summer’s a stage: Previewing the theatre scene

Home > Entertainment > All the summer’s a stage: Previewing the theatre scene

All the summer’s a stage: Previewing the theatre scene

Posted on: June 29th, 2014 by tommyj

Click here to view original web page at

Dustbowl Joan (by fire) stars Andrew Chandler, left; Jamie Konchak and Marty Burt and is a fireside ret-telling of the story of Joan of Arc by migrant, Depression-era farmers in a Two Planks and a Passion Theatre production at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, opening July 12, 9:30 p.m. (KEN SCHWARTZ)
Dustbowl Joan (by fire) stars Andrew Chandler, left; Jamie Konchak and Marty Burt and is a fireside ret-telling of the story of Joan of Arc by migrant, Depression-era farmers in a Two Planks and a Passion Theatre production at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, opening July 12, 9:30 p.m. (KEN SCHWARTZ)

Dustbowl Joan (by fire) stars Andrew Chandler, left; Jamie Konchak and Marty Burt and is a fireside ret-telling of the story of Joan of Arc by migrant, Depression-era farmers in a Two Planks and a Passion Theatre production at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, opening July 12, 9:30 p.m. (KEN SCHWARTZ)

Neither fire nor financial distress can stop the juggernaut of summer theatre, starting July 1, in Nova Scotia.

Shakespeare by the Sea was one day away from rehearsals when fire damaged its Halifax headquarters at Point Pleasant Park and its indoor theatre, Park Place Theatre, the company’s in-case-of-rain venue.

“We’re fighting the good fight,” co-artistic director Elizabeth Murphy says.

“I think we’ll just have to cancel rain shows. Who knows? I’m expecting we’ll get back in partway through the season.”

Murphy is excited about this year’s company, which has rehearsed at Neptune, in a new unopened daycare and at the park. There is a new grassy berm improving sightlines at the Cambridge Battery and the company’s Indiegogo fire recovery fund has reached over $14,000.

“We’ll come through this season and come out much better at the other end,” says Murphy, directing The Merchant of Venice.

Valley Summer Theatre in Wolfville has rebounded after last year’s financial setback led to a season of just two weekends.

This year the company presents three plays — Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge, Wingfield Unbound and Mass Appeal — from July 3 to Aug. 17. While it was denied provincial funding last year, it received project funding to stage Marion Bridge.

However, Valley Summer Theatre did not get any provincial operating funding.

“I always knew that was the worst-case scenario for going forward,” executive director Bruce Klinger says. “Everything’s going to be incredibly tight for another year. I don’t see a long-term future for the company on just project funding.”

Ticket sales are going well. “There seems to be a lot of happiness that we’re back for a full season this year,” says Klinger. “We’re looking forward to a pretty good year.”

Fire is essential to Ken Schwartz’s second foray into his new and wildly popular fireside storytelling at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts near Canning.

Last summer he put the audience around a campfire after sundown for a telling of the Iliad.

“We sold out almost every performance and turned people away from all but one show. That was quite a revelation to me,” says Schwartz, artistic director of Two Planks and a Passion Theatre. “There was a real hunger for that kind of experience.

“The trick going forward is to keep exploring the fireside experience but not reintroduce the same thing, not try to re-bottle the magic.”

This year, after the new musical The Miracle Man, by Michael O’Brien and Allen Cole, wraps up, the audience moves to a fire at 9:30 p.m. for Dustbowl Joan by Fire, the story of Joan of Arc as if it were told by 1930s migrants.

Both shows, which can be seen separately, “are set in the late ’20s, early ’30s, in North America, and faith — questioning our faith and the nature of faith — runs between the two of them,” Schwartz says.

There will be lit candles at Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro this summer for its 30th birthday cake at a party on the theatre’s deck on Aug. 1 and a community barbecue on Aug. 2.

For this season, artistic director Natasha MacLellan wanted to pay homage to the past but not remount a previous show. “I didn’t like the idea of going backward. I really wanted to push the company forward.”

She chose to open with By the Dark of the Moon, by Mary-Colin Chisholm and Christian Murray. Mulgrave Road first produced it in Guysborough at Chedabucto Place. “They did three shows and they sold out three shows and that’s a 300-, 400-seat theatre. It’s really funny and there’s great music.”

The play, set in Molasses Harbour in 1928, is about a young woman who rebels against her mother, head of the local temperance society. She runs away to Boston where she gets involved in speakeasies and with rum-runners.

The first play done by Ship’s Company Theatre aboard the Kipawo ferry boat was a work by co-founders Mary Vingoe and Michael Fuller that dealt with rum-running. “I thought it’d be great to get a new play with the same theme,” MacLellan says.

While Parrsboro is known for its pies, “the town is also 125 years old so there’ll be cake everywhere this year.”



Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, Halifax

The festival celebrates its 24th year with over 50 theatre productions; program to be announced in July.




July 12 to Aug. 23

The Marvelous Wonderettes, off-Broadway hit set at the Springfield High School prom where the zany Wonderettes quartet performs ’50s and ’60s songs, directed by Mary Lou Martin, starring Karen Myatt, Kat Mackin-Smith, Ann Doyle and Becca Guilderson. July 16-19; July 22-26, 8 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinee July 20 and 27; pay-what-you-can is July 22.

Under Milk Wood, the Dylan Thomas classic, directed by Rhys Bevan-John, starring Jeremy Webb and Susan Stackhouse playing over 40 characters, by Off The Leash Productions. Aug. 6-9, 8 p.m.; 2 p.m., Aug. 9.

The Melville Boys, Norm Foster’s classic comedy about a brothers’ fishing trip thrown off when two attractive sisters arrive on the scene, directed by Mary Lou Martin, starring Jim Fowler, Karen Myatt, Kat Mackin-Smith and Ciaran MacGillivary. Aug. 13-16; Aug. 19-23, 8 p.m.; 2 p.m., Aug. 16 and 23; pay-what-you-can, Aug. 19.

Summer Theatre School production, Lucky Stiff, murder mystery farce directed by Cynthia Myers, July 30 to Aug. 2, 7 p.m.; 2 p.m., Aug. 2.

The Galapalooza festival event, July 12, 6-9 p.m., includes entertainment by Jeff Goodspeed and a Cuban ensemble at Half Moon Cove. Tickets are $150.

Summer concerts: July 20, 8 p.m., Canadian singer-songwriter Valdy, joined by Juno Award-winner Gary Fjellgaard; Aug. 3, 8 p.m., Jeff Goodspeed and HavanaFax with Augusto Enrique, Silvio Pupo and other Cuban musicians; Aug. 17, 8 p.m., Greg Simm and band with a musical tribute to John Denver called Back Home Again.

Films: July 27, 8 p.m., Cloudburst, Nova Scotian Thom Fitzgerald’s award-winning movie about an aging lesbian couple who drive from Maine to Nova Scotia to get married; Aug. 10, 8 p.m., Blackbird, written and directed by Chester’s Jason Buxton, an exploration of the power and danger of social media and cyberbullying.

There are new dinner theatre packages and family rates.




July 9 to Aug. 30

Bauer Theatre

Be My Baby, by Ken Ludwig, the tale of a grouchy Scot and uptight Englishwoman unexpectedly thrown together when his ward marries her niece and they must travel from Scotland to California to pick up the couple’s adopted baby, directed by Robert Metcalfe, starring Genevieve Steele, Dave Rossetti, Kelin Boyd, Nicholas Cox, Shelley Thompson and Ed Thomason; previews July 9, opens July 10, runs to Aug. 29.

The Motor Trade, a comedy by Norm Foster about smooth-talking, hard-pressed car salesman Phil Moss, whose wife has left him for a Dodge dealer and whose day is going downhill fast, directed by Emmy Alcorn, starring Jeff Schwager as Phil Moss with Rossetti, Steele and Thompson; previews July 16, opens July 17, runs to Aug. 30.

Venus in Fur, a 2012 Broadway hit by David Ives, in which an actress (Steele) gate-crashes an audition, determined to persuade the director (Schwager) to cast her in the title role as a dominatrix; previews Aug. 6, opens Aug. 7, runs to Aug. 30.

All three shows can be seen Friday through Saturday on the weekends of Aug. 15, 22 and 29.


St. Francis Xavier University


Munschapalooza, Robert Munsch stories, directed by Alanna Griffin, starring Ryanne Chisholm, Boyd and Cox, July 24 to Aug. 9, 10:30 a.m.

Maritime Marionettes’ Three Fairytale Favourites: The Bremen Town Musicians (July 28, 31), Jack and the Beanstalk (July 29, Aug. 1) and Rumpelstiltskin (July 30, Aug. 1).

The Chuckle Hour, a mash-up of the Wiggles, Anchorman and 30 Rock, by Jeremy Webb, featuring Webb as a fading TV personality and a youth theatre cast, Aug. 22-30, 2 and 7 p.m. on different days.


Under Milk Wood, the Dylan Thomas classic, directed by Rhys Bevan-John, starring Jeremy Webb and Susan Stackhouse playing over 40 characters, Off the Leash Productions, St. FX Auditorium, Aug. 11-16.



July 10 to Aug. 27

Looking, by Norm Foster, a comedy about four singles seeking relationships, Thursday evenings, July 10 to Sept. 11, 7 p.m.

Portals, musical theatre & dinner, Wednesday evenings at the Chapel, produced in partnership with Robyn Cathcart and Enter Left Productions, a glimpse into Cape Breton culture through music and song; July 9 to Aug. 27, 6 p.m.


July 24-26

Guysborough, Hazel Hill

Tighten the Traces, writer-actor Robbie O’Neill’s farewell performances of his show based on the story of Guysborough County native Leo Kennedy, a survivor of cerebral palsy and polio who became a popular travelling salesman and storyteller. O’Neill has done over 500 performances over 30 years, from Guysborough schools to London, England, to Australia. July 24 and 25, Guysborough; July 26, Hazel Hill; all shows start at

7:30 p.m.



Aug. 21-24

Alderney Landing, Dartmouth

A festival of free and ticketed music, theatre, dance, visual art and spoken word by aboriginal and culturally diverse artists from Nova Scotia and across Canada.

Mainstage shows: NeoIndigenA, by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre; Body 13 by MT Space Theatre; Good People Bad Things, by Moving Target Theatre Company; and LANDLINE: Dartmouth to Ottawa, presented by Halifax’s Secret Theatre and Neworld Theatre in collaboration with the National Arts Centre, with Stephanie Yee’s Broken English Karaoke in the Alderney rotunda.

Free nightly performances on the Dartmouth waterfront: A Tribe Called Red, J.P. Cormier, Dinuk Wijeratne, White Eagle Drummers, Sanctified Brothers and Hallelujah Praise Choir, the Canadian Primos Cuban Big Band and Reeny Smith.

Also includes spoken word, readings of new plays and visual, media and performance art installations.



July 1 to Aug. 31

Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax

Cinderelly: The Wild West Musical, remount of the company’s popular 2008 all-ages production Cinderelly, an irreverent take on Cinderella, directed by Jesse MacLean; opening July 1.

The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Jesse MacLean, with Tringa Rexhepi as Katherine and Tom Gordon Smith as Petruchio; opening July 6.

Merchant of Venice, directed by Elizabeth Murphy, with Margaret Legere as Portia, Simon Rainville as Antonio and his father, Ottawa actor Paul Rainville, as Shylock; opening Aug. 2.

The company also includes Ben Irvine, Daniel Gervais, Hilary Adams, Scott Baker, James MacLean, Charles Douglas, Dan Bray, Kathryn McCormack and Jacob Sampson.

Halloween show, Park Place Theatre, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, opening Oct. 18.

Summer show times are Tuesdays to Sundays, 7 p.m.; 1 p.m. shows on selected Saturdays and Sundays. Suggested admission, $20. Sweet Seats program lets people reserve seats online for $25. Reserve golf cart for wheeled transport.




By The Dark of The Moon, by Mary-Colin Chisholm and Christian Murray, a musical full of romance set in Molasses Harbour in 1928 and inspired by written and oral history, directed by Chisholm with music by Sandy Moore, starring Karen Bassett, Gordon White, Kevin Curran, Petrina Bromley, Zach Faye, Clara Bullock and Rhianna Odlin; previews July 2 and 3, opens July 4, runs to July 27.

Our Eliza, by Megan Coles, the story of a rural community told through a daughter’s attempt to talk to her father, to finally have a say, to discover her voice, directed by Natasha MacLellan, starring Gordon White, Kevin Curran and Petrina Bromley; previews Aug. 6 and 7, opens Aug. 8, runs to Aug. 31.

Invisible Atom, written and performed by Anthony Black, directed by Ann-Marie Kerr, presented by 2b theatre company, Halifax, July 29 and 30.

Alien, written and performed by Annie Valentina, directed by Margaret Legere, presented by Doppler Effect Productions, Halifax, Sept. 9 to 14.

Stella, Queen of the Snow, presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, Oct. 2, 1 p.m.


The 30th anniversary celebration gala with co-founder Mary Vingoe curating readings from the past three decades on July 31, gala party on the deck Aug. 1 and community birthday party Aug. 2.

Monday night concert series: July 7, Catherine MacLellan; July 14, The Fourth Wall; July 21, Ryan Cook; July 28, Carson Downey Band; Aug. 25, The Modern Grass.

Tribute show: The Divorcees perform a musical tribute to the Outlaws, Sept. 26-28, 8 p.m.



July 17-20

Bus Stop Theatre, Company House, Halifax

Agokwe, a tale of unrequited love between teenaged boys from neighbouring reserves, by Ojibwa writer-actor Waawaate Fobister; Thursday to Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Bus Stop.

Redheaded Stepchild, in which a 12-year-old red-haired boy has an imaginary friend, by writer-actor Johnnie Walker; Thursday to Sunday, 9 p.m., Bus Stop.

Let’s Not Beat Each Other to Death, an electro-pop dance party about brutality, compassion and human nature, by writer-actor Stewart Legere; Thursday to Sunday, 10:30 p.m., Bus Stop.

A Boy and His Dog: Stories From A Life, connected stories about love, loss and starting over as a 40-something gay man, by writer-actor Chris Aucoin; Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Company House.

Emerging Queer Artist Program double-bill of Tender Beast, by Mary Fay Coady, of Halifax, and Chimera, by Rory Jade Grey, of Toronto, two tales exploring the evolution of personal identity; Thursday to Sunday, 6 p.m., Bus Stop.



July 1-3

Gaelic College, St. Anns

Vision, by Alistair MacLeod, adapted for the stage by Bev Brett, presented by the St. Anns Bay Players in association with Kitchenfest. Seven actors — Gary Walsh, Mary Ann Wilson, Todd Hiscock, Murdena MacDonald, Yvonne Le Blanc, Frank MacKenzie and Jitka Zgola — play multiple roles, including horses and dogs, in a coming-of-age story with episodes of second sight, ancient curses, moonshine-doused passions, uncertain parentage and legion brawls. Mature audiences. July 1-3, 7 p.m.

Don’t Let the Cat Out and The New Shoes, two funny traditional Gaelic local tales told by Hector Carmichael and Evelyn Smith, crafted into two short plays by Bev Brett. Murdock MacDonald, George Dauphney, Sue Brown and Joey Burroughs join the cast of Vision to tell these tales. They feature classic characters as spinsters, misers, peddlers, ne’er-do-wells and horses.

July 3 is a pub night with a ceilidh with Darrell Keigan and Stewart MacDonald.



July 3 to Aug. 23


Chicago, the musical, directed by Sandy Fevens, with musical direction by Colin Frotten, July 3-5 and 10-12, 7: 30 p.m.

Two One-Act Plays, The Hard Yards, directed by Randy Muise, and The Snorkelers, written and directed by John Nause, Aug. 14-16 and 21-23, 7:30 p.m.

Maud, the story of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis, written and directed by Hal Theriault, Sept. 11-13, 7:30 p.m.



July 8 to Aug. 17

Ross Creek, near Canning

Outdoors at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts (Show goes indoors in case of rain.)

The Miracle Man, a new musical by Allen Cole and Michael O’Brien, based on the Canadian novel by Frank L. Packard, in which a group of small-time con artists set out to swindle a rural faith healer and his followers, only to experience miracles themselves, directed by Ken Schwartz; previews July 8, 10, 11, opens July 12, 6 p.m.

Dustbowl Joan by Fire, told by actors around a fire at sundown at 9:30 p.m., created and directed by Ken Schwartz, the story of Joan of Arc as if it were told by a company of 1930s migrants through song and story at their encampment fire; previews July 9, 11, opens July 12

The acting company includes Marty Burt, Burgandy Code, Ryan Rogerson, Kyle Gillis, Amanda LeBlanc, Andrea Lee Norwood, Chris O’Neill, Graham Percy, Jamie Konchak, Garry Williams, Andrew Chandler and Kirsten Howell.

The Halifax shuttle runs Saturdays in August. Both shows are not always on the same night.



July 3 to Aug. 17

Al Whittle Theatre, Wolfville

Marion Bridge, by Daniel MacIvor, the playwright’s most-produced play and a funny, poignant tale of three sisters holding a vigil over their ailing mother, directed by Linda Moore, starring Francine Deschepper, Keelin Jack and Stephanie MacDonald; previewing July 3, opening July 4, to July 20.

Wingfield Unbound, by Dan Needles, the return of Rod Beattie as Walt Wingfield, the stockbroker turned farmer, directed by Douglas Beattie; July 25 to 27.

Mass Appeal, Tony and Drama Desk award-winning 1980 comedic drama by Bill C. Davis about a complacent Roman Catholic pastor and the idealistic young deacon assigned to his affluent suburban parish, directed by Pamela Halstead, starring Lee J. Campbell and Sean C. Robertson; previewing July 31, opening Aug. 1, to Aug. 17. (



The Shakespeare Project, a play that stitches together scenes featuring Cordelia, Ophelia and Desdemona to show parallels between their situations and portrayals in the original plays, July 16-20, Living Room Theatre, 2353 Agricola St.


THEATRE ARTS GUILD, HALIFAX The Full Monty, Terrance McNally’s revealing, award-winning musical comedy directed by Rebecca Humphreys, to July 13. Mature content, not recommended for children under 16.



Sleuth, the Tony award-winning thriller by Anthony Shaffer, to July 12, 4 p.m. matinee Sunday and July 6; Jerry Finnegan’s Sister, a comedy by Jack Neary, in which Brian Dowd has to tell his best friend’s sister that he has loved her for years or risk losing her to a marriage, Aug. 1 to 30 on selected dates at 8 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinee on Aug. 10 and 24.



Performers including local actors Michael Bawtree and Andria Hill-Lehr share the poetry of the First World War, July 19, 7:30 p.m. and July 20, 2 p.m., Festival Theatre, Wolfville. Tickets are $5 at Box of Delights Book Store.

TRURO THEATRE SOCIETY Shakespeare in Victoria Park: Romeo and Juliet, set in Nova Scotia in the 1700s, when both Acadians and British were here; July 4-6, 7 p.m.; produced and directed by Lenore Zann. Victoria Park, Truro. (Rain locations are July 4, Truro Legion, Brunswick Avenue; July 5 and 6, NSCC auditorium, Arthur Street. Free admission.)


GRAFTON STREET THEATRE Farewell to Nova Scotia, a musical comedy looking at the political and social ramifications of Nova Scotia separating from Canada, with all Nova Scotian songs, to Aug. 10; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., a show about Glenda who has worked in the secretarial pool for 46 years and is retiring at a party that includes many country tunes, Aug. 15 to Nov. 9.



The Carol “Brunette” Show, a tribute to the classic variety shows of yesteryear, to November.



Anchored in Glace Bay, Aug. 4-24, 7 p.m. After a long winter stuck in the ice outside Newfoundland, the crew of the Caribou are free for a vacation and they drop anchor in Glace Bay for music and comedy. (

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.