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2018-19 Spotlight Series offers an exciting lineup full of diverse artists

The 2018-19 Spotlight Series features 27 professional performances in music, theatre, comedy and dance — from a wide range of genres.

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“Our mission is to deliver programs, services and facilities to provide our community with enriching live performance experiences, and the Spotlight Series plays an important role in achieving that goal,” says Tim Yerxa, executive director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

“We consider our organization to be a cornerstone of our community, and we believe the performing arts experiences we provide help to enhance the lives of people living in the Greater Fredericton region. Personally, I like to think that we are helping make ‘the good life’ even better for those who live here.”

The Spotlight series invites some of the most exciting artists touring today to the Playhouse stage. This year we have hilarious comedy performances, large-scale orchestra performances, innovative dance shows, family-friendly acts, musicians from close to home and around the world, compelling theatre pieces and much more.

Comedy

Comedy fans will be delighted by God is a Scottish Drag Queen, a one-man performance by award-winning Canadian comedian Mike Delamont in which God, dressed in a floral power suit, comes down to Earth to skewer everything from Justin Beiber to the Pope.

Thank You for Being a Friend brings the classic dialogue, razor sharp gags and taboo-breaking stories of The Golden Girls to life, performed with (yes) puppets.

U.K.-born, Saint John-based comedian James Mullinger makes his long-awaited debut solo stand up performance at the Playhouse, and it promises to be a memorable one, full of brand new material as well as some classic routines.

Orchestra

This year’s lineup includes household names, like Steven Page, former lead singer and songwriter with Barenaked Ladies. He will perform a special show of Barenaked Ladies hits and original music with Symphony New Brunswick.

There are several orchestral performances in the series, including the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, a renowned touring orchestra, joined by cellist Ariel Barnes.

Cutting edge classical string band Collectif9 returns to the Playhouse along with experimental chamber quartet Architek Percussion with a new performance call My Backyard, Somewhere.

Symphony New Brunswick joins forces with New Brunswick-based experimental and new classical music company Resonance to perform an original score alongside a screening of the groundbreaking silent film Metropolis.

Dance

Playhouse favourite, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen returns with Coppélia, one of the world’s oldest surviving ballets — and one of the best known comedic ballets.

The lineup includes a number of other acclaimed dance companies, including New York’s Ailey II, renowned for merging the spirit and energy of America’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers.

Motus O Dance Theatre will perform Prisoner of Tehran, a synthesis of dance, theatre and storytelling featuring Marina Nemat, who was held as a political prisoner for two years.

The dance program also includes Gadfly, an innovative company focused on the junction where urban dance, jazz and contemporary styles collide and tune together.

Family night

Families can look forward to a variety of shows this season, including Tomáš Kubínek, a comic genius, virtuoso vaudevillian and all-around charmer who provides utterly joyous experiences audiences will remember for a lifetime.

Las Vegas-based magician Justin Flom has gained a huge following thanks to his fascinating tricks, performed using simple items like cards, Coke cans, Life Savers and dollar bills.

Canadian family band Leahy is one of the country’s most highly regarded progressive folk-roots with their pulse-raising rhythms, compelling storytelling and infectious melodies.

KidStage

The Playhouse will once again present its Kidstage Series, and is pleased to announce that all performances this season will once again have Pay-What-You-Will ticketing. The series features three shows: DuffleBag Theatre’s Snow White; Circus Incognitus by eclectic clown, juggler, balancing artist and poet Jamie Adkins; and beloved family entertainers Sharon & Bram.

Classic Albums Live

Fans of audience favourite Classic Albums Live will enjoy two performances this season from these skilled musicians, with Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy and Queen: A Night at the Opera.

Music

Yukon-based trio Diyet & the Love Soldiers performs alternative folk, roots, country and traditional Aboriginal music with melodies and stories deeply rooted in an Indigenous world-view.

Lloyd Spiegel, an artist at the forefront of Australia’s blues scene, and a rising star in North America will take the stage

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Royal Wood has established himself as a true musical talent, who will wow audiences with his constantly evolving sound.

Canadian singer-songwriters Luke McMaster and Ian Sherwood will join forces for a special double bill concert that highlights both of their talents.

And beloved Playhouse duo Fortunate Ones is back in support of their upcoming album, bringing anthemic melodies to life with guitar, accordion, piano and percussion.

Theatre

The Spotlight Series offers a number of compelling theatre performances like Huff, a wrenching yet comic tale by playwright Cliff Cardinal about a family caught in a torrent of solvent abuse.

Chase Padgett will return following his wildly successful performance of 6 Guitars in 2016 with Nashville Hurricane, a curious tale full of stories and songs about a mysterious acoustic guitarist who appeared out of nowhere 40 years ago, conquered the music industry, and disappeared without a trace.

Storytelling champion Stéphanie Morin-Robert performs a feat of riveting comedy in Blindside, a one-woman play about her life as a feisty seven-year-old who wields her glass eye as a superpower.

Evil Dead The Musical

In addition to the Spotlight Series, the Playhouse has announced a special presentation of Evil Dead The Musical. This hit off-Broadway show takes all the elements of the cult classic Evil Dead film series and combines them for one of the craziest, funniest and bloodiest theatre experiences of all time.

This laugh-out-loud performance has become a cult sensation of its own, and will be enjoyed by both fans of the series and those who have never seen it before, thanks to its jokes, cheesy effects, blood, and truly impressive musical numbers.

Holidays

Just in time for the holidays, The Celtic Tenors bring their world-class act to the Playhouse for a Christmas show featuring classic carols and beloved Irish holiday favourites.

A Christmas Time with The Ennis Sisters highlights this Atlantic Canadian trio’s buttery harmonies, as they perform tunes that evoke the spirit of a Newfoundland Christmas.

Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas with The Jerry Granelli Trio will bring the beloved music from A Charlie Brown Christmas to life on stage, giving parents and grandparents the chance to introduce a new generation to jazz music.

Become a Spotlight member

For only $55, Spotlight members receive early access to the best seats in the house and special discounted pricing on Spotlight Series, Special Presentations and Spotlight Partner performances (i.e. Theatre New Brunswick, New Brunswick Country Showcase, Symphony New Brunswick and the Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada).

“We’re thrilled that our Spotlight membership program has received such a high level of participation over the years,” says Yerxa.

“With the purchase of one membership, patrons can buy up to six discounted tickets per performance, which puts money back in their pockets right away.”

Spotlight Memberships are on sale now for our current members until June 22, after which we will still continue to receive renewals — but will also be processing new memberships. Full priced tickets go on sale July 27.

Any questions?

For more detailed information on 2018-19 Spotlight Series performances check out our season guide or contact the box office.

 

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Employment Opportunity: Technician

PLAYHOUSE_low

TECHNICIAN (Stage Carpentry Specialist)

Permanent Full-Time

Fredericton Playhouse Inc., a charitable non-profit organization that manages and develops a 709-seat performance venue, has an exciting opportunity for a professional Technician (Stage Carpentry Specialist) to join our team.

Reporting to the Assistant Technical and Facilities Director, the Technician delivers high quality technical production services to artists/user groups and maintains the facility’s theatrical production equipment and systems.  The Technician will have a good working knowledge of various areas of technical services and theatrical production equipment and operations. Specific skills and knowledge in the area of stage carpentry is essential.

Working in collaboration with the technical team in a fast-paced environment, this position requires exceptional technical and problem-solving skills; a strong desire to meet and exceed client expectations; an ability to do heavy lifting and work at heights; and basic computer skills. The ideal candidate demonstrates strong organizational and interpersonal skills, is dependable, works well under pressure, is able to work in a flexible schedule, and has a personal passion for the performing arts.

Remuneration will be commensurate with the successful candidate’s experience and training. In addition to a comprehensive benefits package, the starting salary range for this position is $32,091 to $43,323 annually.  The anticipated start date is between August 27 and September 10, 2018.

This position is in a bargaining unit (Local 680, IATSE) for which collective bargaining for a first contract is currently in process.

Apply by e-mail correspondence to: judy@theplayhouse.ca

Deadline for applications is Monday, June 18, 2018.

Only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. Fredericton Playhouse Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

Reflecting the Cultural Diversity of our Community

Embracing diverse cultural backgrounds is one of our core values at the Fredericton Playhouse. Over the last few years, we’ve made targeted efforts to showcase Fredericton’s diverse ethno-cultural community through performances, programs and partnerships.

Fredericton is home to dozens of different ethno-cultural groups, composed of both newcomers and people who were born and raised in Canada. Many of these ethno-cultural associations exist to celebrate elements of their specific culture – including the performing arts.

The Playhouse is a perfect venue to host celebrations of diverse culture and the performing arts. We’re always excited to welcome performances and often see them paired with additional elements, like food, visual arts, or learning and enrichment experiences.

These performances are not at all limited to one cultural group when it comes to the scope of the audience. Everyone in our community is encouraged to come out and experience an entertaining performance that may provide some insight into or exposure to a different culture.

For many years, groups like the Chinese Cultural Association of New Brunswick and the Asian Heritage Society of New Brunswick have used the Playhouse to stage variety shows, plays and musical events. These performances are always well-attended, and have only gotten more popular over the years.

For the last two seasons, the Playhouse has partnered with the local branch of the Association of Indo-Canadians to present a performance to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, highlighting Indian culture. These events have also incorporated Indian food during intermissions, provided by members of the Association of Indo-Canadians.

This past November we celebrated the occasion with a dance, music and theatre performance by Navdhara India Dance Theatre. The Mumbai-based company brought a Bollywood film to life on stage, delighting everyone in attendance.

Danceworx Bollywood Shoot-40

Navdhara India Dance Theatre

Last year the Filipino CommUNITY of New Brunswick presented their annual Filipino Cultural Gala at the Playhouse, with a celebration that highlighted the history, traditions, culture and spirituality of the Philippines. We’re delighted that the group is returning again this spring to once again present a show entitled WOW! Philippines in June.

We had the opportunity to develop a new partnership earlier this year when we worked with the New Brunswick African Association to present a lecture called From Black Africa to the White House. This musically illustrated talk was delivered by Tayo Aluko, who performed the play Call Mr. Robeson in our Spotlight Series.

This free event took place in February, and was presented as a special celebration of Black History Month. In addition to the lecture, the evening included food samples and a panel discussion featuring Aluko and Saa Andrew Gbongbor, the president of the New Brunswick African Association.

Having a space in the community to celebrate diverse culture and the performing arts is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for immigrants and newcomers. A 2017 report by the Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Arts Presenting Association called Arts & Belonging found that when newcomers participated in local arts projects, they became less isolated, and learned more about community services and cultural opportunities. Participation also affirmed their sense of belonging and self-esteem.

Plus, newcomers who feel connected to the arts and culture in a community are more likely to put down roots and stay there for years to come, contributing to the local economy and population growth.

That’s why we introduced a program called Making Connections several years ago. Each year we welcome members of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton’s language classes to visit the Playhouse for an information session and a tour of the building. This is an opportunity to learn about what our facility offers and how it operates.

For many newcomers, the Playhouse can be seen as a mysterious building, with which they may not immediately connect. By introducing them to our programs and services with their peers, they realize that it is a facility for everyone to enjoy and to connect with the broader community through the performing arts. We’ve seen great success with Making Connections, as many participants have returned to the Playhouse later to see performances.

It’s important to us that the Playhouse is a place where everyone in our community can feel welcome. Working with local ethno-cultural groups to present performances, learning experiences and other programs is one important way we can help embrace and develop the rich diversity of our community.

Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

New performing arts centre will have major benefits for Fredericton’s economy

By Greg MacFarlane

A new regional performing arts centre will be beneficial to our community in many ways. From an economic perspective, the new facility promises to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on Fredericton and the surrounding region.

The existing Playhouse already has a major impact on our regional and provincial economy. During our 2016-17 season, our facility was in use 201 days, and we issued a total of 50,335 tickets. All of those ticketholders spent money with a Fredericton-based organization, and in the process, they were likely to spend money at other local businesses as well.

Many of our patrons stop by a downtown restaurant for food or a drink before or after a show. And while the majority of people who attend Playhouse shows live in the region, people from other communities also travel to Fredericton on a regular basis to attend performances at the Playhouse, and are likely to stay in a hotel, or go shopping during their visit.

Of course, the Playhouse also employs Frederictonians, with 15 full-time staff members, and dozens of additional casual and part-time employees.

A thriving performing arts scene plays a key role in attracting skilled workers and investment to a community. It’s a major part of what makes a city more “livable” and we know that a community’s quality of life has a huge influence on whether doctors, professionals, or other skilled workers are willing to choose to locate there.

In 2016, Business for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council commissioned a study called Culture for Competitiveness: How Vibrant Culture Attracts Top Talent. It showed that 65 per cent of the businesses and skilled workers surveyed agree that a thriving arts and culture scene is a driving factor when considering relocation. Of the skilled workers surveyed, 36 per cent cited theatre, plays and concerts as an important element of a community, and 34 per cent felt arts and cultural events and festivals were important.

FlipFabriQue

The Playhouse benefits the local economy thanks to events like Flip FabriQue’s upcoming show.

The Playhouse already plays a major role in benefiting Fredericton’s economy, but a new state-of-the-art performing arts centre will have an even more significant impact on our region. The facility’s two auditoriums – an 850-seat theatre, and a 300-seat studio theatre – will increase the number of performances we can offer each year, and the size of the audiences able to attend each show.

An economic impact study commissioned by the Playhouse in 2015 found that the construction phase of a new performing arts centre would create an estimated 714 jobs, and would contribute $141 million to the economy. Moreover, the report estimated that the ongoing operation and use of the facility would be responsible for an additional 101 permanent jobs, and an annual $15.5-million injection into the economy.

The data used to conduct that study came from the earlier feasibility study work that concluded that there would be 268 shows per year in the new performing arts centre’s two auditoriums. That means the estimated economic spin-offs per show equal approximately $58,000. Consider this – every time we hold an event, we are essentially creating an average of one full-time job. In the new performing arts centre, we will more than double our current economic impact.

Fredericton business networks have been highly supportive of the development of the new performing arts centre, in large part because of the positive impact it will have on our economy and job creation. When the results of the economic impact study were released, Bruce McCormack, General Manager of Downtown Fredericton Inc. said he felt there was no project that would have a greater impact on the downtown than this one, noting that arts and entertainment make downtown Fredericton an exciting place to be.

Fredericton Chamber of Commerce CEO Krista Ross also had a positive response to the study, noting that job creation is great for our local businesses, and in addition, robust cultural amenities and offerings can make our region more attractive as a place to expand and establish businesses.

The Fredericton Playhouse is already an important part of our local economy; the creation of a new regional performing arts centre will only serve to significantly increase that impact.

Greg MacFarlane is the Vice-President of Fredericton Playhouse Inc.’s Board of Directors.

Mermaid Theatre’s adaptations of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny promise to delight children

31. Mermaid Theatre

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia will bring two beloved children’s books to life on the Playhouse stage with a Pay What You Will Kidstage Series performance on Saturday, May 12 at 2 p.m.

Children and parents alike will be captivated by Mermaid Theatre’s adaptations of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. While one is a celebration of nighttime rituals, and the other a pretend tale of leaving home to evoke reassuring responses from a loving mother, both staged productions will bring a new sense of appreciation to stories that have delighted generations.

Based in Windsor, N.S., Mermaid Theatre presents more than 400 performances for 200,000 spectators each year. The company regularly crosses Canada and the United States, and has represented Canada in more than a dozen countries around the world. Mermaid’s choice of material is based on the belief that young people can benefit substantially both in their emotional and aesthetic development from early exposure to literature, the arts, and the power of imagination.

This performance is a Pay What You Will show, a pricing idea offered on select Playhouse performances. This initiative was introduced with a goal of increasing access to Playhouse programs, and encouraging patrons to take a chance on new and exciting performances. For more information about how Pay What You Will works, please click here.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to offer a free Experience More! Interactive Reading event for families at the Fredericton Public Library on Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. Children are welcome to wear pyjamas and bring their favourite stuffie for this special reading of Margaret Wise Brown’s storybooks Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Pre-register by calling 460-2806.

Tickets for Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

Vocal quartet Cadence will wow audiences with a mesmerizing display of musical genius

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Canada’s premier vocal group Cadence will perform at the Fredericton Playhouse on Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m., marking the final performance in the 2017-18 Spotlight Series.

Cadence has been wowing audiences across Canada and around the world for nearly 20 years. The members of this a cappella quartet bring an infectious energy and uncanny verve to every song they sing, whether it’s a classic song by Joni Mitchell, an old bebop standard, or a cheeky arrangement of a 1980s hit. Every song contains all the richness of a full band, but performed using just four voices.

Cadence’s live shows are always a hit, featuring a hypnotic blend of complex harmonies, intricate arrangements, vocal dexterity and just plain fun. On-stage antics and audience participation are par for the course, but so is a mesmerizing display of musical genius. What these boys can do with their voices needs to be heard to be believed.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to offer an Experience More! Performance Workshop on Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m. at the Playhouse. Members of Cadence will lead this interactive, hands-on class, focusing on stage presence, instrumental imitation and vocal percussion. The workshop is open to anyone age 13 and up, and pre-registration is required by contacting the box office.

Tickets for Cadence are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

Cirque company Flip FabriQue creates pure magic on stage

FlipFabriQue

Coming to the Playhouse on Friday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m., cirque company Flip FabriQue will wow audiences with their incredible show Catch Me.

Created by six alumni of Quebec City Circus School in 2011, Flip FabriQue adopts a creative and collaborative approach to highlight each performer’s strengths, and create pure magic on stage. Their performances are spellbinding, crowd-pleasing and incredibly fun.

Their astonishing, lively show Catch Me will leave audiences smiling from ear to ear, mixing cirque and theatre to tell the story of six friends who take a trip to the cottage for their first get-together in a decade. This emotional reunion quickly develops into an explosion of circus feats, incorporating juggling, hula hoop, acrobatics, trampolines and lots of humour, for a spectacular and invigorating performance.

Tickets for Flip FabriQue are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.