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Hit Fringe festival show Roller Derby Saved My Soul is a fun and uplifting comedy

30.RollerDerby

The hit one-woman Fringe play Roller Derby Saved My Soul is coming to the Fredericton Playhouse on Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Since premiering at the Ottawa Fringe Festival in 2011, Roller Derby Saved My Soul has charmed critics and audiences all over the world. Roller derby and superheroes collide in this delightful comedy, described by CBC as “perfect escapism and purely satisfying entertainment.”

With a mixture of heartwarming honesty and snappy observations, the play follows two sisters who try to navigate the tough competitive world of roller derby and finally learn to unleash the hero within. Written by and starring New Brunswick’s own Nancy Kenny, this one-woman show is fun, uplifting and original.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present a free film screening of On the Fringe on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. in partnership with Mayworks Fredericton. This feature-length documentary follows the adventures of artists touring the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit during the summer of 2014. Directly following the film there will be a discussion with Nancy Kenny, who is also the executive producer of On the Fringe.

The Playhouse will also host a free Experience More! Pre-Show Derby Demo on April 21 at 7 p.m. Members of the Capital City Rollers will present a brief demonstration of their roller derby skills and techniques on stage, right before Roller Derby Saved My Soul begins.

Pleased be advised this performance contains occasional use of strong language.

Tickets for Roller Derby Saved My Soul are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

Jake’s Gift commemorates Second World War with poignancy and surprising humour

29. JakesGift

On Tuesday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m., the Fredericton Playhouse Spotlight Series will present award-winning Canadian play Jake’s Gift.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017, Jake’s Gift has been performed in over 200 communities across Canada and overseas, including a much-lauded performance at the Playhouse in 2009.

This powerful one-person performance by playwright Julia Mackey follows a Second World War veteran who reluctantly returns to Normandy, France to commemorate the D-Day landings. There, he meets a young girl who challenges him to confront long-ignored ghosts – most notably, the wartime death of his elder brother.

Full of poignancy and surprising humour, at its heart, Jake’s Gift is a story about the legacy of remembrance. This touching performance personalizes the story behind one soldier’s grave.

Following the performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present a free Experience More! Conversation with Julia Mackey. Moderated by journalist Christine McLean, this event will allow the audience to learn more about the artist’s background, while also highlighting her interpretation and development of the artistic process and exploring her motivation to create.

Jake’s Gift is a Pay What You Will show, a pricing idea introduced last season, 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.

Tickets for Jake’s Gift are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344.

Nominations sought for The Playhouse Honours 2017

The Fredericton Playhouse is asking the public for nominations for The Playhouse Honours 2017.

Since 2008, the Fredericton Playhouse board of directors has awarded The Playhouse Honours annually. The recognition honours individuals’ involvement in the performing arts in Fredericton, fostering a deeper appreciation of the value that people can make to community life through their work in music, theatre, dance, spoken word, and multidisciplinary performing arts. A permanent display in the west gallery of the Playhouse recognizes the honourees.

The Playhouse Honours award is a way of thanking community leaders who have made a meaningful contribution to Fredericton through their involvement in the performing arts,” says Susan Holt, president of the Fredericton Playhouse board of directors. “This initiative recognizes a deserving individual each year, and it’s also an opportunity to celebrate with the many community members whose lives have been significantly impacted by the recipient.”

Nominations can be made by any person or organization. Underscoring the personal investment that they have made in the community, recipients must be individuals, not companies or organizations. Recipients may be a professional or amateur artist, administrator, volunteer, educator, philanthropist, advocate, organizer, etc. A selection committee (jury) comprised of members of the local arts community will review the submissions and recommend an honouree to the Fredericton Playhouse board of directors.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 28, 2017. Past recipients include Ilkay Silk (2008), Brent Staeben (2009), Philip Sexsmith (2010), Walter Learning (2011), Mabel Doak (2012), Bonnie Kilburn (2013), Michael Doherty (2014), Hrvoje and Aida Tisler (2015) and Peter Pacey (2016). The Playhouse Honours is proudly presented by Atlantic Mediaworks.

To nominate a candidate for The Playhouse Honours award, please fill in the following information and complete a written submission of no more than two (2) pages describing the reasons you feel that your nominee should be considered for The Playhouse Honours.

An emphasis should be placed on the accumulated contributions of individuals over a period of time and consideration should be given to the local legacy and impact of the nominee on community life and the performing arts.

Date:
To the selection committee:
I/we hereby nominate [name(s)]
to receive The Playhouse Honours.
Nominator:
Address:
Telephone: Email:
Signature:

You may attach additional information such as letters of support, materials, testimonials, etc. to your submission.

Nominations may be sent to:
The Playhouse Honours Committee
Fredericton Playhouse
686 Queen Street
Fredericton, NB
E3B 1C2
Fax: 506‐459‐6206
Email: valerie@theplayhouse.ca

For more information please contact Valerie Hillier at 4596209 or visit www.theplayhouse.ca/the-playhouse-honours.

Preparing for Performances Takes More Effort Than You May Realize…

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Measha Brueggergosman performs at the Playhouse.

When you attend a performance at the Playhouse, the show you’re seeing on stage is a final product. What you may not realize is that our technical and front of house staff begins to prepare for a performance weeks before it reaches the stage.

Last season, the Playhouse hosted 120 events. I thought it might be interesting to take a behind-the-scenes look at the process our staff goes through to prepare for each and every one of these shows.

With as many as three to five performances on our stage during an average week, Playhouse staff members are easily communicating with 15 to 25 different artists or groups at any given time.

A member of our technical department typically reaches out to the artist about a month before their show. Sometimes we’ll communicate directly with the performer, sometimes with a tour manager, technical director or production manager.

This early conversation, known as the “advance” is an opportunity to describe the Playhouse’s specifications; touring artists perform in a wide range of different venues, all of which have different lighting, sound and stage capabilities, so it’s important that they understand our particular details. It’s also a chance for our technical department to determine whether the artist will bring their own technicians, and to discuss how many Playhouse crew members will be needed.

Over the weeks ahead, our technical staff will discuss the artist’s needs in great detail, depending on the type of performance. For example, in the case of a band, we would need to know elements like the artist’s “stage plot”, which determines where the instruments and equipment should be located on the stage.

Most dance and theatrical performances will provide us with a detailed technical rider, a document that explains how to set up the stage, lighting, sound and sets for the show. The rider provides our technical department with a solid understanding of elements like lighting cues, and the ways we will need to use our fly system to raise and lower sets. About a week in advance, the technical department will send along a confirmation sheet to summarize all the technical details, as well as the schedule for the day and the crew requirements.

Our patron services manager also reaches out to the artist about two weeks before the show to begin preparing their “front-of-house” experience. This is an opportunity to discuss everything from catering and merchandise needs, to the artist’s photography policy, as well as the details concerning any special post-show receptions or meet-and-greets that might be planned. This department is also responsible for scheduling volunteers, bartenders and merchandise sellers to work during the show.

The day of the show is when all of this behind-the-scenes work pays off. Most often, touring artists will load in their instruments, sets and other props and equipment earlier on the day of the performance. Our technical crew will set up lighting to the artist’s specifications, and will run sound checks and rehearsals if required. In the meantime, our front of house department sets up catering, prepares merchandise areas, ensures any show programs are prepared and ready to be handed out, and checks in with the artist to make sure their needs are met.

Some shows are more complicated than others. While a standup comedian might just require a single microphone, a full theatrical performance could require complex sets, which may need to be changed during the show. All of these factors are taken into account during the planning and execution of the setup.

Once the performance is finished, the technical crew works quickly to remove all of the artist’s equipment and load it onto their truck, making sure the stage is ready to go for the next day when, often, our team will start the process over again from scratch.

Thanks to these extensive preparations, performances at the Playhouse should appear effortless from the audience’s perspective. But make no mistake; there are many more hours of planning and preparation than there are hours of performance. We work hard to ensure our patrons’ only job is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

 

“Ambassador of the blues” Guy Davis to perform in Playhouse’s Kidstage Series

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Coming to the Fredericton Playhouse on Sunday, April 9 at 2 p.m. as part of the Kidstage Series, Guy Davis’ Routes of the Blues is a compelling show for children and adults alike.

Known as an “ambassador of the blues,” and for hit shows at the Playhouse and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, Davis is an accomplished artist who has performed around the world. He’s earned acclaim for his deft acoustic playing, his well-travelled voice and his literate, yet highly accessible songwriting.

His parallel careers – as a musician, an author, a music teacher and a film, television and Broadway actor – mark Davis as a true renaissance man, yet the blues remain his first and greatest love.

Children and their families will gain a deeper appreciation for the blues thanks to Davis’ immense knowledge and impressive musicianship.

Tickets for Guy Davis’ Routes of the Blues are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

 

Stephen Fearing captivates audiences with his arresting voice and brilliant guitar playing

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On Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m., Juno-winning folk musician Stephen Fearing will perform at the Fredericton Playhouse.

One of Canada’s foremost singer-songwriters, Fearing is known for mixing powerful lyrics, creative arrangements and brilliant guitar playing.

A founding member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Fearing has built a loyal international following over the past 30 years thanks to his thousands of live shows and nine critically acclaimed albums. In concert, audiences will be captivated by his arresting voice, accomplished musicianship and his ability to turn a phrase with ease.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present an Experience More! Songwriters’ Workshop with Stephen Fearing on Sunday, April 9 at 12 p.m. at the Fredericton Public Library. Anyone can register for this class, during which Fearing will define and examine the elements of a song through performance, discussion and writing. Fearing will also perform songs by a variety of songwriters, leading into a discussion of writing process, lyrics and melodic choice. Pre-registration through the Playhouse box office is required.

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

 

Immortal Chi spectacularly combines martial arts and jaw-dropping acrobatics

25. ImmortalChi

Coming to the Fredericton Playhouse on Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m., Immortal Chi: A Warrior’s Quest for Balance brings the ancient traditions and rich theatrical history of China to life with a rousing 21st century twist.

From the producer of the worldwide hit Shaolin Warriors, Immortal Chi is a spectacular new fusion of Chinese martial arts and jaw-dropping acrobatics, accompanied by an all-female percussion ensemble. This show is a feast for the senses, weaving a compelling narrative around a Tai Chi master and his ultimate challenge to regain his inner energy and life force.

Audiences can expect to see adrenaline-packed stunts, traditional weaponry, incredible feats of human endurance, innovative video projections and stunning costumes. The show kicked off its world premiere tour in the UK in 2014, delighting audiences and critics alike. Immortal Chi is an unforgettable theatrical experience for all ages.

Tickets for Immortal Chi: A Warrior’s Quest for Balance are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.