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Unique band Lemon Bucket Orkestra inspires joy in audiences everywhere

16. LBO

Following their wildly celebrated performance at the Playhouse in 2015, Lemon Bucket Orkestra returns with another adventurous and unexpected show on Friday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Canada’s only self-described Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk superband developed on the streets of Toronto in 2010, and has grown from a quartet of guerrilla-folk troubadours to encompass members numbering in the double digits.

You’ll be blown away by Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s ability to connect with audiences through reworked Balkan and Eastern European folk songs spiked with a signature blend of funk, punk, psychedelia, blues and swing. Incorporating an impressive array of influences and instruments into their performance, this is a truly unique act that inspires joy in all who have the chance to experience them live.

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

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Call Mr. Robeson tells the remarkable story of an actor, singer and civil rights campaigner

15. Robeson

Coming to the Playhouse on Thursday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m., Call Mr. Robeson is an award-winning play about one of the forerunners of the civil rights movement.

Call Mr. Robeson follows Paul Robeson, a great and famous American actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. Famous for performing songs like “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” and “Ol’ Man River,” Robeson was branded a traitor to his country for being too radical and outspoken for the 1950s.

This roller coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life highlights how his pioneering and heroic (but largely forgotten) political activism has led many to describe him as the forerunner of the civil rights movement.

Call Mr. Robeson is written, performed and produced by Tayo Aluko, a Nigerian-born artist based in Liverpool, UK. This one-man play has received accolades at Fringe festivals around the world, and won the coveted Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award at Brighton Fringe in 2016. The play has also been performed to great acclaim in Nigeria and Jamaica, and at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2016.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present a free Experience More! lecture and concert on Wednesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. called From Black Africa to the White House. Presented in partnership with the New Brunswick African Association, this celebration of Black History Month features a musically illustrated talk by Aluko, followed by a panel discussion with Aluko and Saa Andrew Gbongbor, president of the NBAA. Tickets can be reserved in advance through the Playhouse box office.

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

Valentine’s Day gift guide

January is almost over, and that means Valentine’s Day is only two weeks away! If you’re struggling to come up with exciting and innovative gift ideas for that special someone, we’ve got you covered. A night out at the Playhouse makes for the perfect romantic evening! Take a look at our performance suggestions below:

VictoriaVD

Victoria (February 14)Spend Valentine’s Day itself watching an incredible piece of theatre! Victoria is a moving play that promises to dazzle you and your date. It’s performed by Dulcinea Langfelder & Co., a Montreal-based theatre company known for transporting audiences to a playful universe.

LemonBucketVD

Lemon Bucket Orkestra (February 23). Tickets to see Canada’s only balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk superband are the perfect gift for a musically adventurous Valentine! Lemon Bucket Orkestra returns to the Playhouse stage with the perfect blend of funk, punk, psychedelia and swing to drive away the mid-winter blues.

PostSecretVD

PostSecret: The Show (March 17). What’s more intimate than sharing secrets with a loved one? How about hearing dozens of hopeful, shocking, funny and painful secrets together? PostSecret: The Show explores the true stories behind secrets that have been shared as part of the incredibly popular PostSecret blog, which has led to six best-selling books and an exhibit in the Smithsonian.

RosieVD

Rosie & the Riveters (April 11)Enjoy a special night out with your sweetheart experiencing uplifting folk music from Rosie & the Riveters! This trio performs original songs with a vintage 1940s flair, featuring sophisticated harmonies, body percussion, scintillating dance moves and lots of humour.

CadenceVD

Cadence (May 5)You and your Valentine will swoon for these smooth a cappella crooners! Cadence brings a mesmerizing display of musical genius and an infectious energy 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.

Victoria promises to dazzle audiences and heal the soul

14. Victoria

On Wednesday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m., Dulcinea Langfelder & Co. will perform the play Victoria at the Fredericton Playhouse.

Victoria is a production that addresses old age, vulnerability, loss and death without being morbid, frightening or depressing. The story follows Victoria, a woman with dementia who has lost her memory, and in turn has lost control over her life.

She is a shadow of herself, adopting comic and dramatic situations as her imagination dictates. Her wheelchair acts as her rocking chair, her prison, her tango partner and her flying chariot. Full of humour and compassion, Victoria will dazzle audiences and heal the soul.

Created in 1985, Dulcinea Langfelder & Co. is a non-profit organization that creates and performs multidisciplinary shows. The company is committed to enlightening life through performances that break cultural and social barriers. Original and contemporary, Langfelder propels her audience to a playful universe.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present a special Experience More! activity called Improving Communication for Caregivers on Tuesday, February 13 at 12 p.m. at the Chalmers Hospital Auxiliary Theatre. Join Dulcinea Langfelder for an artist’s perspective on memory (and memory loss), exploring art as a way to heal patients as well as their caregivers. This theoretical and practical workshop gives participants tools to better master the messages we send and receive, beyond words. It is free to attend, and is designed for family and/or professional caregivers. Please register in advance through the Playhouse box office.

Audience members are also invited to stick around after Victoria on February 14 for an Experience More! Conversation with Dulcinea Langfelder. This moderated conversation with the Artistic Director, choreographer and dancer will add depth and richness to patrons’ live performance experience.

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

If you think attending live performances is reserved for the privileged, think again

While the performing arts have evolved significantly over the years, many people still have preconceptions about the accessibility of attending performances, especially when it comes to the issue of affordability. This month, I’ll address some common myths about the cost of attending performances and other activities at the Fredericton Playhouse.

We sometimes encounter criticism from people who feel the cost of tickets to our shows is prohibitive, and is preventing our organization from being truly accessible to the community. This line of thinking is antithetical to our organization’s mandate, as we believe the performing arts should be accessible to absolutely everyone.

In reality, Playhouse performances are offered at a wide range of prices, and there is actually a wide selection of programming to choose from, no matter your budget. Looking at all of the performances that came to the Playhouse stage over the course of the 2016-2017 season, 12 shows cost less than $20 to attend. The majority of performances – a total of 67 – fell in the $20 to $39 range. We hosted 17 shows with ticket prices between $40 to $59, two performances within the $60 to $79 range, and had only one show that cost more than $80.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we offered 10 completely free performances last season, as well as two “Pay What You Will” shows, which allow the patron to pay whatever price they wish for their experience. In addition, there were 56 offerings that included discounted pricing for students, youth and/or children.

We strive to make performances accessible to students and families with young children in particular, as we know they often have competing priorities within their household budget. That’s why we offer TD Student Rush pricing on all of our Spotlight Series shows, allowing anyone with a student ID to purchase a ticket for only $12 two hours before show time. We also offer “Under 19” pricing, providing half-price tickets to anyone under the age of 19 for all Spotlight Series performances.

The Playhouse has an Experience More! series, featuring enrichment activities like workshops, film screenings, post-show conversations, food and drink events and more, all designed to enhance our patrons’ experience. Many of these activities are offered for free or for a very low cost, providing our audience with even more affordable ways to connect with the performing arts.

Our non-profit organization provides tickets through the Arts are for Everyone program to individuals in the community who may face a number of barriers – including financial difficulties – to attending a performance. These tickets are issued through various local community agencies that work on behalf of their clients or residents. We issue additional vouchers to the Fredericton Food Centre and the Multicultural Association of Fredericton as part of this initiative. In the 2016-2018 season, a total of 238 tickets were redeemed through the Arts are for Everyone program.

We’re continuing to provide affordable programming to the general public in our current season. We’re offering a total of five “Pay What You Will” performances in our Spotlight and Kidstage Series this year, as well as a number of free events.

Earlier this month, for example, we hosted local theatre group Solo Chicken Productions for a week-long creative residency that resulted in a free, public work-in-progress showing of their piece Pitch Black. In February, the Playhouse will celebrate Black History Month with a free lecture and concert called From Black Africa to the White House, presented in partnership with the New Brunswick African Association. This lecture is part of our Experience More! program, and will be delivered by Tayo Aluko, the creator and star of the upcoming Spotlight Series performance Call Mr. Robeson.

TayoAluko

Tayo Aluko in Call Mr. Robeson

Times have changed in the world of the performing arts. We no longer have to dress up in formal attire for a night out at the theatre, and there’s also no need to break your budget to enjoy a live performance. If you think that attending live performances is reserved for the privileged, think again. Take a closer look at our offerings, and you’ll quickly see that experiencing the magic of the performing arts at the Playhouse really is accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

Fredericton City Council-in-committee approves expanded Queen Street site for new regional performing arts centre

On Monday evening, Fredericton City Council-in-committee approved an expanded version of the existing Playhouse’s Queen Street site as the location for a new regional performing arts centre.

In December, Greg MacFarlane, Vice President of the Playhouse board, presented an option to construct a new centre, built in phases on the existing Playhouse site and extending onto a portion of St. John Street. The concept was recommended to Council as the preferred option, following two months of public consultation by the non-profit organization.

Having received a staff report, they adopted all six of the Playhouse recommendations regarding the project:

  1. Select the expanded Queen/St. John Street site as the location for a new regional performing arts centre;
  2. Approve an all-new construction development option that will be planned and designed in such a way as to reduce Playhouse closures as much as possible;
  3. Direct City staff to immediately conduct the necessary technical study of St. John Street to determine the best configurations of a reduced street width to accommodate the performing arts centre; and to consult with the Legislative Administration Committee accordingly;
  4. Direct City staff to work in partnership with Fredericton Playhouse Inc. to develop a procurement strategy for a design team for the Playhouse board and City Council’s consideration;
  5. Approve a construction budget of $33 million (excluding soft costs, site preparation, planning, campaign costs, and contingencies) to be used as a guide to develop the design; and
  6. Work with Fredericton Playhouse Inc. to resubmit the request for capital funding from the Province of New Brunswick and the Government of Canada, with the updated site, development plan, and project budget.

 

“We’re very pleased to have our recommendations approved,” MacFarlane said. “This project is about to get very real as we move forward with the design work. We are hopeful that our federal and provincial partners will also move quickly to confirm their investment so we can see shovels in the ground in 2019.”

MacFarlane indicated that Playhouse representatives intend to move quickly with their partners to complete the additional study work and to develop a process to hire a design team.

“Now that we have a confirmed site, we are excited to move forward at a more rapid pace, tackling the next phases concerning planning, design and funding.”

The building of a new regional performing arts centre is a priority for the non-profit organization and the City of Fredericton, as the current Playhouse facility is at the end of its life.

Rising folk-pop musician Basia Bulat combines classic songwriting with a radiant, contemporary sound

13. Basia

Coming to the Playhouse on Saturday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. during Fredericton Frostival, Basia Bulat will wow audiences with her electrifying voice and memorable lyrics.

A rising star on Canada’s folk-pop music scene, Bulat has been nominated for multiple Juno Awards, and has had two albums shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. She often appears solo in gigantic concert halls, winning over crowds with an autoharp or charango, stomping feet and two mighty lungs.

Bulat’s songs have been adapted for major performances with symphony orchestras, she’s been tapped for prestigious tributes to Leonard Cohen and The Band, and she’s performed at music festivals around the world, including a highly praised show at Fredericton’s own Shivering Songs Festival in 2017.

Her latest album, Good Advice, was released in 2016. This fizzing, phosphorescing pop album features 10 songs about desire and redemption, lit up with the bottle-rocket of a liberated, faintly psychedelic vibe. See Bulat live in concert to experience her classic, sterling songwriting mixed with a radiant, contemporary sound.

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