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Paris – The Show exports the charm and flavour of the City of Lights to Fredericton

5. Paris

Coming up at the Fredericton Playhouse on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m., Paris – The Show is a vibrant tribute to the greatest French songs of the post-war years.

All the charm and flavour of the City of Lights will be exported directly to Fredericton in Paris – The Show. Full of beautiful costumes and spectacular sets, audience members will be transported to the stages of the greatest Parisian cabarets of all time. The show features a repertoire of iconic French musicians, including Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Lucienne Boyer and many more.

The performance tells the story of Françoise, a young girl who arrives in Montmartre with dreams of becoming a famous artist. On her journey, she crosses paths with Ediath Piaf and becomes her friend and confidante. She also meets Jules, a young singer living in Pigalle. A romance blossoms in the city where love conquers all.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present an Experience More! pre-show Wines of France Tasting on November 8 at 6 p.m. at Corked Wine Bar. Participants are invited to immerse themselves in Parisian culture by starting the night with a series of French wines. Interested participants must pre-register for this event by contacting the Playhouse box office.

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

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Fredericton Symphony Orchestra commemorates Canada’s 150th anniversary with a special performance

27. FSO

The Fredericton Symphony Orchestra will perform as part of a special show called First World War in Film and Music: Battle of the Somme at the Fredericton Playhouse on Monday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The orchestra will commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary with a performance of a musical score by Laura Rossi, presented in conjunction with the 1916 documentary film The Battle of the Somme. Composed in 2006 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the groundbreaking film, Rossi’s score as performed by the orchestra will give greater meaning and depth to the wartime footage featured in the documentary.

The Battle of the Somme is a compelling record of one of the key battles of the First World War, during which more than 24,000 of our soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing. The fallen from the Battle of the Somme were among the more than 66,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who lost their lives in the First World War. This film is the first feature-length documentary record of combat. It remains one of the most successful documentaries ever made, and has influenced the past 100 years of documentary filmmaking.

This performance is part of the Fredericton Playhouse’s Canada 150 Performance Series, which celebrates the milestone of our country’s 150th anniversary of confederation with multidisciplinary performances that reflect Canada’s vibrant performing arts landscape.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present a free Experience More! Pre-Show Talk with Brent Wilson, starting at 6:15 p.m. Wilson teaches military history at the University of New Brunswick, including courses on the First World War and war through film. This presentation will provide historical context for the film The Battle of the Somme by briefly describing the battle, how and why the film was made and used, and the impact it has had on its audiences.

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

Playhouse board provides budget update and additional site option for new performing arts centre

In an update to Fredericton City Council, the board of directors of Fredericton Playhouse Inc. provided a revised costing of a new regional performing arts centre and a new option for a site.

The updated project costs to build a new performing arts centre in the City-owned parking lot at the foot of York Street have been reduced from $51.3 million to $47.1 million due to the elimination of land acquisition costs and updated construction costs.

“As we get a better understanding of the various elements of the project, we are able to adjust the project budget accordingly,” says Greg MacFarlane, Vice President of the non-profit organization’s board.

A new site option was also presented to Council with two variations on how it could be developed. A lack of momentum on moving the project forward on the York Street site combined with an increased risk of the present Playhouse failing and closing gave the board cause to look at an option not considered earlier: an expanded version of the current Playhouse site at the corner of Queen and St. John Streets. The Playhouse hired architectural consultants to study the feasibility of this new option.

The new site option extends to the centre line of St. John Street, thereby reducing the street to one lane or closing it to vehicular traffic altogether, creating a pedestrian thoroughfare between the performing arts centre and the provincial legislature. It entails locating the performing arts centre closer to the sidewalk on Queen Street.

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The new site option would extend the performing arts centre to the centre line of St. John Street,                                                                                                                                                                                                                and closer to the sidewalk on Queen Street.

The first variation presented would involve completely demolishing the Playhouse and locating the new performing arts centre on the expanded site. Although the current plan (which includes an 850-seat theatre, a 300-seat studio theatre, larger lobbies, and shared support space) would fit on the new site, it would require a two-and-a-half-year interruption of service while the Playhouse is closed and the new centre is constructed. The cost estimate for this option is $45.1 million, compared to $47.1 million on the York Street site.  The lower construction cost is due to the Queen Street site being less prone to flooding.

The second variation would see the existing auditorium within the Playhouse retained and improved (expanding from 709 to 800 seats), while the additional lobbies, support spaces, and a second 300-seat theatre are added to it. Based on the consultant’s study work, this option could provide a phasing approach to the construction that would reduce the closure of the Playhouse to two periods of four and seven months respectively. The estimated cost of this renovation and expansion option would be considerably less ($40.7 million) than a completely new building.

“All three options have their merits and their challenges,” says MacFarlane. “But we wanted to be exhaustive in our research and present an option that hadn’t been studied or considered before.”

Playhouse representatives now intend to meet with various community stakeholders, including the dozens of organizations that currently rent the Playhouse to present performances. They will also conduct a survey to gauge the public’s opinion on the new options.

“We want to know what people think,” explains MacFarlane. “Are people concerned about the closures? Are they excited about this location? And then we will be back to City Council in the late fall to present our findings along with an opinion from our board on the best way forward. If one of these two new options is acceptable to the community, then we may be able to see some more momentum on securing the financial partnerships we need to move the project forward.”

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.

Bill and Joel Plaskett team up for a must-see performance

4. Plasketts

Award-winning musician Joel Plaskett will join forces with Bill Plaskett for a must-see performance at the Fredericton Playhouse on Thursday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Halifax-based artist Joel Plaskett has gained great acclaim as a multiple Juno-winning songwriter, selling out clubs and concert halls from coast to coast. For his latest project, he’s sharing the spotlight with his earliest musical influence – his father, Bill Plaskett. Their album Solidarity, released in February, is the first musical collaboration between father and son.

Solidarity is a powerful collection of original and traditional songs reflecting the duo’s individual journeys and personal politics. This performance promises to be full of strong guitar playing and thoughtful, accessible music, featuring everything from contemplative love songs, to folk-based political tunes, with a touch of rockabilly country blues in between.

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

Ô-Celli creates a unique, full and exceptional sound using eight cellos

3. O-Celli

On Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m., Belgium-based cello ensemble Ô-Celli performs at the Fredericton Playhouse.

Ô-Celli was brought to life by the shared passion of eight skilled cellists who promise to take you on a fabulous journey through a repertoire of both original and arranged pieces. This beautiful concert will cover a wide range of music, from Tchaikovsky and Strauss to Piazolla and Nino Rota.

Audience members will experience a unique, full and exceptional sound when the members of Ô-Celli perform together, creating music different from any other instrument with their eight cellos.

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

Sister returns to the Playhouse for a Late Nite Catechism Halloween show

2. LNC

Back by popular demand, Late Nite Catechism returns to the Playhouse on Sunday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. with The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales.

Sister is preparing her catechism classroom to teach another hysterical lesson in the fifth instalment of this series to grace the Playhouse stage. This edition will reveal the Church’s take on familiar Halloween tales of ghosts and goblins. Full of Sister’s signature class participation, audience members will get a hands-on lesson on creating a Catholic-appropriate Halloween costume just in time for the big day.

This show is part catechism class and part stand-up routine, with jokes that can be appreciated by audiences of all religious backgrounds. The audience becomes part of Sister’s class, as she takes you back to the days of Latin Mass, meatless Fridays and a ruler across the knuckles.

The New York Times calls this interactive show “hilarious, well-written and inspired.” Jeffrey Lyons from TV’s Sneak Previews says Late Nite Catechism is “something to savour and enjoy…one of the most intimate, rewarding shows in town.”

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

Fredericton Playhouse reports successful season, but raises concerns over deteriorating facility

The Fredericton Playhouse, Fredericton’s first choice for live performance, recorded another successful season in 2016-17. While the organization saw increased activity levels and high levels of fundraising and participation in community outreach programs, the facility itself is at capacity and is in a progressively deteriorating state.

Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa and Playhouse Board President Susan Holt delivered the non-profit organization’s results in its annual report to Fredericton City Council on Monday. The report showed the Playhouse has had a busy year with 201 days in use, up 14 per cent from the previous season. This usage included 141 performances of 109 different offerings. In total, 50,335 tickets were issued.

Highlights from the 2016-17 season included a successful Friends of the Fredericton Playhouse fundraising campaign, which raised $60,000 to support community programs. The Backstage Bash, the Playhouse’s signature fundraising event, was also a success, raising $8,000 for the organization.

The Playhouse was also proud of the high levels of participation in its Arts are for Everyone program, which seeks to reduce barriers in participating in the performing arts by working in partnership with local agencies, including the Fredericton Food Centre and the Multicultural Association of Fredericton. In total, 405 individuals were able to attend shows or activities through the program.

“We’re pleased to report that we had a successful year,” Holt said. “We continue to see increases in our audience, with nearly a quarter of Fredericton residents attending the Playhouse this past year.” Holt said that 22 per cent of city households held a ticket to a Playhouse event last year. “We’ve seen high levels of satisfaction from our patrons as well – in our recent patron survey, 97 per cent of respondents rated their Playhouse experience very good or excellent.”

Although the Fredericton Playhouse operates independently from the City of Fredericton, its mandate to manage and develop the City’s live performance venue is achieved through an operating partnership with the municipality. In his presentation, Yerxa explained that the City’s contribution towards the 53-year-old facility accounts for only 31 per cent of the organization’s budget. “The remainder of our funding comes directly through earned revenues, contributions from individuals, and grants,” he said.

Yerxa noted that working toward the creation of a new regional performing arts centre to replace the existing Playhouse remains a top priority. While the facility is being maintained as best as possible, the building is at the end of its useful life. Last year, the City designated the parking lot behind City Hall as the future location of the new performing arts centre. Yerxa said that replacing the current Playhouse is now an urgent concern.

“Over the past season, the Playhouse experienced two major heating failures within a six-month period,” he said. “It is impossible to predict when an unplanned shutdown due to a system failure could occur. This project remains a top priority for us and for the community we serve, and in the year ahead we hope to gain greater momentum in moving this project forward.”