The Fredericton Playhouse has just announced the full lineup for all twenty four of its 2017-2018 Spotlight Series performances. Intended to bring a diverse selection of theatre, dance, music, comedy, and more to New Brunswick’s capitol, the Spotlight Series aims to provide a stage for both local Maritime acts and internationally renowned performers.
“This season, our Spotlight Series will celebrate Canadian performers from coast to coast, while also featuring international artists, hailing from as far away as India, France, Belgium and the U.K.,” said Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming a number of returning favourites, as well as artists who are visiting Fredericton for the first time.”
On top of its flagship Spotlight Series, the Playhouse will also host its Canada 150 Performance Series in the fall of 2017. A multidisciplinary celebration of Canada’s history, culture, identity, and future, the series honours the 150th anniversary since Confederation, with tickets even being locked in at the historically significant price of $18.67. An exciting undertaking by the Playhouse, Yerxa described the Canada 150 Performance Series as “an opportunity to mark a pivotal moment in our history by taking in performances that reflect Canada’s vibrant performing arts landscape.”
Here’s the complete list of the Playhouse’s 2017-2018 Spotlight and Canada 150 performances, featuring everything from acrobats to acapella to witty nuns, with stops on more than a few anniversary tours worked into the mix as well.
Late Night Catechism: The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales
Sister returns to the Playhouse for the fifth time, now to provide a hilarious, insightful take on the Catholic church’s take on classic Halloween ghost stories. Featuring plenty of class participation, Sister will not only lead us through catechism class, but also teach us how to make a church-approved Halloween costume.
Girls Nite Out
Led by acclaimed Canadian comedian, Elvira Kurt, Girls Nite Out is an all-female variety show featuring a blend of stand-up comedy and improv and featuring a talented roster of Second City, CBC, Just for Laughs, NBC and The Comedy Network alumni. Running its 10th year, Girls Nite Out is sure to provide hilarity and hijinks aplenty. The performance will contain strong language and mature subject matter, though whether this is a warning or a promise remains to be seen.
Toronto Dance Theatre: House Mix
Celebrating its 50th anniversary season, the Toronto Dance Theatre is returning to the Playhouse to provide yet another stunning dance performance. Featuring five separate performances from the career of Artistic Director Christopher House, who’s guided the Toronto Dance Theatre since 1994, the routines will offer a mix of both classical and contemporary dance, all master choreographed.
Flip Fabrique: Catch Me/Attrape-moi
A unique circus performance featuring acrobatics, hula hoops, trampolines and more, Flip Fabrique brings astonishing feats and invigorating energy to the Playhouse stage. Designed to draw from each member’s strengths and talents, Catch Me promises an enchanting, thrilling, and utterly entertaining experience.
Part of the Playhouse’s Kidstage Series, intended to serve as an introduction to the performing arts for younger audiences. A pay-what-you-will show, the classic story of Cinderella will be presented by DuffleBag Theatre, complete with their trademark on the original tale, side-splitting laughter, and plenty of audience interaction.
Manxmouse: The Mouse Who Knew No Fear
Another instalment of the Playhouse’s Kidstage Series, Dutch performers Theatergroep Kwatta present a stage adaptation of the beloved children’s book, Manxmouse, the Mouse Who Knew No Fear by Paul Gallico. A strange blue mouse with no tail and long ears, who lives his life without fear save for the fabled Manx Cat.
Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny
In the final pay-what-you-will show of the Kidstage series, Nova Scotia’s Mermaid Theatre presents an adaptation of two beloved childhood stories. Whether this is the family’s introduction to these tales or a re-visiting of old favourites, Mermaid Theatre is sure to breathe new life and love into these classics.
Call Mr. Robeson: A Life, With Songs
Telling the story of famed American singer, actor, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson, Call Mr. Robeson is a one-man show written, performed, and produced by Nigerian-born and UK-based Tayo Aluko. Depicting Robeson’s life and the persecution he suffered as a result of his activism and the legacy of the trails he blazed, Call Mr. Robeson features live piano accompaniment and includes some of his most famous songs, including ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’ and ‘Ol’ Man River.’
Written and performed by Patrick Keating, Inside/Out is the story of Keating’s own experiences both within Canada’s prison system and outside of it. Challenging preconceived notions of what actually makes a criminal, Keating raises important questions about the roles played by class, race, and language in both the justice system and in Canadian society as a whole. Ultimately about one man’s search for community and belonging, Inside/Out tells Keating’s story – sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always emotional. As can be expected from such a troubled environment, this performance will contain mature content, and as such audience discretion is advised.
Ivan Coyote: Tomboy Survival Guide
A coming-of-age survival guide for those who defy gender norms, celebrated writer, storyteller, and activist Ivan Coyote brings their newest book to the stage, along with a live, all-tomboy band. A mix of storytelling, spoken word, music, and soundscape, Coyote challenges conceptions of both genre and gender. With both firey vigour and compassionate understanding, Coyote is there for those who feel they don’t fit in.
Kaha:wi Dance Theatre: Re-Quickening
The first show of the Playhouse’s Canada 150 Performance Series, Re-Quickening is a proud declaration of Indigenous culture, identity, and womanhood, while also addressing some of the harshest elements of Canada’s history, including residential schools, violence against Indigenous women, and the seizure of native lands. Featuring a blend of Indigenous and contemporary dance techniques, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre is one of Canada’s most celebrated dance companies. Given the performance’s heavy subject matter and use of partial nudity, it is recommended for mature audiences only.
The Tale of a Town – Canada
FIXIT POINT has visited Fredericton in the past, spending time in 2014 conducting interviews with residents, business owners, and community leaders to tell the Tale of a Town story of Fredericton. Returning as part of the Canada 150 Performance Series, Tale of a Town – Canada offers a multimedia performance complete with a local choir and personal accounts from communities across the country. Meant to celebrate the nation’s diversity and shape visions for a more inclusive future for all our communities, Tale of a Town intends to bring us all closer together as Canadians.
Fredericton Symphony Orchestra: WWI in Film and Music: the Battle of the Somme
In the third instalment of the Playhouse’s Canada 150 Performance Series, a showing of the groundbreaking 1916 documentary, ‘The Battle of the Somme,’ will be accompanied by a special performance by the Fredericton Symphony Orchestra of Laura Rossi’s original score to the film, written in 2006 in honour of the film’s 90th anniversary. One of the most influential and successful documentaries ever made, ‘The Battle of the Somme’ is a film record of one of the First World War’s most pivotal battles, where over 24,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were killed, wounded, or simply went missing in action.
Breabach and Old Man Luedecke
The final instalment of the Canada 150 Performance Series is a double-bill concert featuring Scottish band Breabach and Nova Scotian singer/songwriter Old Man Luedecke. An iconic and internationally renowned Scottish folk group, Breabach’s energetic Celtic sound typifies the beautiful Scottish sound that has influenced East Coast music for centuries. Juno-winning Old Mad Luedecke blurs the line between folk music and storytelling, with compelling story-songs rife with folk, pop, and bluegrass elements, clever lyricism, and irresistible Maritime charm.
The Northern Pikes
Saskatoon’s beloved classic rock group, The Northern Pikes, will be hosted by the Playhouse as they drop in on Fredericton for a stop in the 30th anniversary tour of their first major label album, ‘Big Blue Sky.’ Celebrating the record that first put them on the map with hit singles like “Teenland,” “Things I Do For Money” and “Dancing in a Danceclub,” it’s bound to be a night of old favourites.
Classic Albums Live Performs Rush: 2112
A classic staple of the Spotlight Series, Classic Albums Live offers a faithful recreation of the most iconic, celebrated albums of the ’60s and ’70s. Performed live on stage with an intense focus on both accuracy and musicianship, Classic Albums Live gives tribute to some of the greatest albums in music history. In this instalment of the series, they will be covering the 1976 album 2112, one of the greatest prog-rock records of all time, by legendary Canadian rock band Rush.
Classic Albums Live Performs Supertramp: Breakfast in America
Another instalment of Classic Albums live, featuring a faithful, note-for-note recreation of some of your favourite classic rock albums. In this performance, Classic Albums Live will be covering Supertramp’s 1979 Breakfast in America, one of the best-selling albums of all time.
Bill & Joel Plaskett
Legendary Halifax-based musician Joel Plaskett is a staple of East Coast music, has enjoyed enduring success and recognition, and has won multiple Juno awards for his efforts. Now, he’s sharing the stage with his father following the release of their first collaborative album, ‘Solidarity.’ With a blend of both folk and rock, and built on a foundation of love for both music and family, it’s not a musical experience to miss out on.
The Jerry Cans
A fast-rising band hailing from Nunavut, the Jerry Cans’ music is a unique blend of reggae, Iqaluit alt-country, and traditional throat singing. Embracing their far northern roots, the five-piece band’s energetic performances give audiences a taste of modern arctic culture as they’ve never seen before.
The Barra MacNeils: Cape Breton Christmas
One of the most highly-regarded Celtic bands in the world, Cape Breton’s The Barra MacNeils has been going on strong for 30 years. With stunning vocal harmonies and skilled musicianship, this family group’s performances are always memorable displays of talent. Their Cape Breton Christmas show will blend music, dance, comedy, and seasonal tales in an unforgettable experience.
For nearly 20 years, beloved Canadian acapella group Cadence has brought their own unique charm to every song they sing, blending their own style and energy with that of the original music. With beautiful four-part harmonies, stunning vocal performances, witty banter, and audience participation, Cadence’s live show isn’t one to miss.
Centred around the titular character, an elderly woman with dementia, Victoria is a play about ageing, death, and loss, presented by Dulcinea Langfelder & Co. As Victoria’s condition worsens and she loses both her memory and agency, her world is increasingly shaped by her imagination, with her wheelchair becoming both her close companion and a vessel to new worlds. In spite of the morbid themes and seemingly depressing concept, the play strives to be an endearing and overall positive experience, rife with humour and heartfelt meaning.
PostSecret: The Show
Adapted from the highly successful anonymous confession blog, which has seen hundreds of millions of readers, six books, and has been the subject of a Smithsonian exhibit, PostSecret: The Show is a multimedia performance of crowdsourced narratives, infused with humour, pain, and above all, humanity. Arranged by an award-winning team of theatre professionals, PostSecret features three actors, a live guitarist, and projections of the visual postcard confessionals. While poignant, honest, and bold, PostSecret: The Show will also contain mature themes, and is intended for mature audiences.
Prisoner of Tehran
As a teenager, Marina Nemat spent two years as a political prisoner in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons. Following her eventual escape to Canada, she told her story in the bestselling memoir, ‘Prisoner of Tehran.’ Now adapted for the stage by the Motus O Dance Theatre, Prisoner of Tehran is a blend of theatre, poetry, and dance, handling themes such as social justice, liberty, and oppression. Incorporating a spoken-word performance by Nemat herself, Prisoner of Tehran is an eye-opening and emotional journey.
WOMEN & SONG
Emilie-Claire Barlow: Lumières d’hiver/Winter Lights
Never a stranger to Playhouse audiences, beloved jazz singer and two-time Juno winner Emilie-Claire Barlow will be returning to Fredericton to perform songs from her upcoming holiday album, ‘Lumières d’hiver.’ With Barlow’s unique takes on classic Christmas and wintertime songs like ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ and ‘River,’ songs from her own repertoire, as well as a few surprises, it’ll be just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit.
Juno-nominated and shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, Basia Bulat is a growing force in the Canadian folk-pop scene, wowing audiences in massive concert hall performances and appearances worldwide at music festivals. Having won high acclaim at the local level as well with her stunning show at the 2017 Shivering Songs Festival, Bulat is sure to charm Fredericton yet again.
Rosie & the Riveters
Taking their name from the iconic World War II character, Rosie & the Riveters are a vintage folk trio hailing from Saskatoon. Blending complex harmonies, swing beats, and 1940’s stylings into their original songs, Rosie & the Riveters offer a captivating live performance with a mixture of song, dance, wit, and good old fashioned charm.
Embracing the versatile and beautiful sounds of the cello in eight-part harmony, Ô-Celli offers an unparalleled musical experience. Hailing from Belgium, Ô-Celli’s performance is a unique and unforgettable musical journey as the eight master cellists perform a blend of original material and beloved classics.
Paris – The Show
From Edith Piaf to Lucine Boyer, Paris – The Show uses legendary post-war French cabaret music to capture the vibrant spirit of Paris and bring it to Fredericton’s stage. With gorgeous costumes, lavish sets, and an iconic soundtrack, it tells the story of a young girl in search of love in the heart of Paris.
A Passage to Bollywood
A vibrant, passionate performance filled with colourful costumes, classical Indian songs, modern Bollywood hits, and stunning performances, A Passage to Bollywood offers a night of excitement, drama, and romance. Combining music, dance, and theatre, the Navdhara India Dance Theatre performs a unique blend of Indian and western dance traditions and methodologies that’s sure to entertain and delight.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra
With adventurous and exciting live performances, Lemon Bucket Orkestra is unsurprisingly (but also tragically) Canada’s only Balkan-klzsmer-gypsy-party-punk supergroup, with an ever-expanding and evolving roster of musicians. Performing traditional Eastern European folk songs with a unique infusion of funk, psychedelia, swing, blues, and punk, Lemon Bucket Orkestra is a truly unique live experience.