The new 2017-2018 season for Theatre New Brunswick has just been officially announced, and holds plenty of promise. With a larger touring network, a series of artist training workshops, and exciting new theatre concepts in the works, it’s looking to be a busy year.
TNB’s forty ninth season, and third under artistic director Thomas Morgan Jones and general manager Susan Ready, the offerings of the 2017-2018 season are all focused around the central question, ‘Who is responsible?’ This complex question promises both challenging and compelling content.
“The conversation we are inviting is one that must, by necessity, span an entire season.” Jones explains, “Sometimes joyful, sometimes challenging, our season is meant to inspire all of us to think of the plays long after we have left the theatre: to use them as a springboard to ask questions about the ways in which we navigate our own lives.”
The season will open in October with ‘Fortune of Wolves,’ a daring undertaking by New Brunswick playwright Ryan Griffith. Telling the story of an apocalyptic Canada-wide trek, ‘Fortune of Wolves’ will open each show with the cast rolling dice to decide which characters give monologues, with 80 different potential characters. ‘Fortune of Wolves’ features a massive modular script that ensures no two performances are the same throughout the two-week run in Fredericton or during the subsequent touring.
Just in time for the holidays, TNB will be bringing Charles Dicken’s classic, ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The seventh time Dicken’s story will have been included in TNB’s season roster, this production will include a script adapted by Thomas Morgan Jones and will be under guest direction by Ann-Marie Kerr.
New Brunswick artist Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier), of Tobique First Nation, will be taking her craft to the theatre with her first major playwriting project, ‘Finding Wolastoq Voice’ in March, 2018. Combining dance, theatre, music, and visual art, ‘Finding Wolastoq Voice’ draws heavily from indigenous roots, telling the story of a Wolasoqiyik woman who finds herself by finding her ancestors.
Running from February to April, TNB Young Company will be presenting two separate plays. The first, ‘A Herman Tale,’ telling the story of a monster under the bed who has dreams of a bigger life. An adaptation of Paul McAllister’s children’s book by Tania Breen, ‘A Herman Tale’ will be touring elementary schools. The second, ‘Goodbye Marianne,’ tackles heavier material for middle and high schools, memorializing the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany.
TNB’s 2017-2018 season will end as always with a musical by their Theatre School’s Senior Musical Students, working in conjunction with theatre professionals. This year, it will be a production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in April.
While this season include fewer full theatrical productions in total, both ‘Fortune of Wolves’ and ‘Finding Wolastoq Voice’ will be in Fredericton’s Open Space Theatre longer and will have significantly larger tours. The expanded touring network will include Bathurst, Miramichi, Moncton, Sackville, Saint John, St. Andrews, and Woodstock. This is a point of pride for Jones, who sees touring as one of TNB’s most important functions, stating: “We are overjoyed to be bringing New Brunswick voices to audiences throughout our province.”
The season will also be supplemented with two workshop aimed at refining the skills of New Brunswick actors. In the fall, Daniel Levinson will be hosting a stage combat seminar, and in June of 2018, Kameron Steele will lead a week-long workshop on the Suzuki Method of Actor Training and Viewpoints.