Category Archives: Mermaid Office

Summer Student Recap: Sarah Hiseler

That I’m writing this at the end of my time here says something about how much of a whirlwind this experience has been. While I’ve had some quieter times to familiarize myself with the history and architecture of Mermaid Theatre, for the most part it’s been a blur of paperwork, painting, and tours. As a theatre student, the most fascinating parts for me are getting to see all of the other behind the scenes things that go into making a show- especially those that you don’t always come into contact with as a designer. The contracts, contacts, and research that is required to get the show physically on the road was a completely new thing for me. (The painting, not so much.)

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Working in the “office.”

Unlike other “office” positions, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a wide range of projects. Helping to compile tour documents, mail runs, and updates to our website have been balanced with painting (of set pieces, and the stage), inventory counts, and, on two occasions, running the lighting or sound board. I also got to spend two days out of the office entirely while assisting Struan with giving puppetry workshops at local summer camps. The crafty part of the children’s puppet builds was familiar, however the introduction to some of the puppets and their movement was as much of a crash course for me as it was for the kids! I’ve been lucky enough to walk out at the end of just about every day having learned something new.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the summer, other than getting to know the talented and enthusiastic people who work here, has been getting to show visitors around the facilities. There’s nothing quite like watching people discover something that they never realized was in their own backyard, the return visitors who always have to drop by because they love the place so much, or the pure infectious excitement of someone who has fallen in love with one of the shows on tour and is finally getting to see backstage where they never thought they’d get the chance to go. No matter the age of our visitors, it’s hard not to light up at least a little bit when presented with such engaging characters, and the lucky few who got to watch rehearsals or a run through of The Very Hungry Caterpillar before this summer’s trip to China were especially enchanted (myself included). The style and visual appeal of the black light show is a far cry from the look of Rummabubba, Lid-Maker of the Snufflewogs, the show I saw as a child when it toured to my elementary school, making it a completely new experience for me. Too, the sound track was as much a part of the appeal as the puppets themselves- there are many reasons why these shows are as popular with the adults as they are with the children they bring to see them.

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Everyone at Mermaid, including Waving Dinosaur, wish Sarah the best of luck back in school and beyond!

In the case of whoever comes along next summer, or the ones after, my advice is:

  • to say yes when offered something new (I almost never get to work with children- the workshops were great fun),
  • ask as many questions as you need because there is always a new story, historic fact, or skill to learn (the architecture and history of the building is as cool as the company’s and its staff’s),
  • talk to everyone who comes through that door as you never know who you’ll get to meet (other artists, visitors from all over, former Mermaid people… all sorts of interesting folk),
  • keep paint clothes in the office (you will end up wearing it, just make your peace with that fact early on)
  • don’t stress too much about any of it (just take your time),
  • and have fun (I know I have!)

And the Reviews are In!

It’s a beautiful spring morning here in Windsor.

I was just poking around on Mermaid’s Facebook page, and I realized that there are a great many reviews of our performances from all of our different productions and from venues all over the US, Canada, and elsewhere.

These positive reviews made my day, and the represent the work of not only our creative team in Windsor, but the dozens of performers and stage managers who have toured our shows in the last few years, as well as the crews that work with us in each venue to bring our puppets to life in another theatre full of happy children.

I’m pasting them all below — I’ve stripped out the FB links, but they are otherwise unedited.   You can check out the reviews for yourself if you’re ever so inclined.


 

Crystal Patterson — 5 star
January 7 ·
Just attended Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny in Des Moines, with our 4 year old son. Was honestly one of the best children’s productions I have been to. Whimsical, amazing life-like puppetry, and the set was so cool! A spectacular job all around!!

Linda McKenna — 5 star
November 29, 2015 ·
Thank you for the great show in Kingston, Ontario today. Our grandson got home and has spent hour putting on show with his puppet theatre. What a wonderful way to inspire imagination! Thank you for your production of Runaway Bunny and Good Night Moon

Laura N Chris Surber — 5 star
April 8 at 8:26pm ·
My son’s class came to watch your performance of The Very Hungry Caterpillar today at ASU, in Boone N.C. He was so excited to come home, and tell us of his wonderful experience. Thank you for fueling his love for the arts, in such a creative way.

Mike Coxlarge — 5 star
January 29 ·
We took our 3 year old granddaughter to the Goodnight Moon/Runaway Bunny show in Toledo. Was sure she would enjoy it, but didn’t expect much from an adult standpoint. Was I wrong! The show was incredible, from the staging, to the sets, to the absolute perfection of the performers. If you have the chance, you really need to see this show!

Sue Slade — 5 star
September 20, 2015 ·
Today was my son & I’s 6th visit to the Mermaid Theatre. Our first was in July 2013 for a preschool puppet- parent & tot workshop- where my son got to explore the world of puppetry – he even got to make his own Very Hungry Caterpillar (which got a lot of use, when reading that particular bedtime story). We followed that up with watching The Very Hungry Caterpillar that September in the theatre, then we were addicted. We even caught the World Premier of Stella & The Snow Queen here in Dartmouth. Which was also nicely done. Today’s Performance of Goodnight Moon & the Runaway Bunny lived up to our high expectations of the productions The Mermaid Theatre puts on- Well worth the 50 minute drive from our house in Cole Harbour. Keep up the good work. My son is now 7 years old- but I wouldn’t mind signing him & I up for another “Day/Halfday” Parent & Child workshop if one were available. With the distance we drive we’d have to go together- we so enjoyed our first one.

Marykate Hanko — 5 star
February 15 ·
Thank you for a wonderful show in New Brunswick NJ! It was engaging, surprising and downright magical. I can’t wait to see another one of your performances

Jennifer Hancock — 5 star
January 18 ·
We saw Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny in Cleveland last week!! Amazing show!! My son loves getting to ask a question at the end. He decides the little bunny’s name should be Tom!!

Megan MacDonald — 5 star
October 2, 2015 ·
Many, many moons ago I attend a puppet making workshop here ( I was 7 or 8) it was one of the best experiences of my childhood! Anytime I’m in Windsor, I make sure to walk by Mermaid and peek in the windows and look at all the amazing creatures

April Gomez Bloxsom — 5 star
February 20 ·
Just saw Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny at the Steifel in Salina, KS! It was a fabulous show! My 4 year old was mesmerized and loved every minute of it! Bravo!

Lesley Andrews Thompson — 5 star
February 20 ·
Just attended The Very Hungry Caterpillar at The State Theatre in Ithaca, NY. LOVED IT!! The imagination and master puppetry was beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you for a great day!

Eric Sorensen — 5 star
January 30 ·
Just saw Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny in Green Bay! Simply the best show! My three year old loves it and was into it the whole time ! Thanks!

Allison Fitzpatrick — 5 star
March 15 at 4:56pm ·
We saw their rendition of Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny in Albuquerque and it was amazing! My 4 year old and I loved it!

Melissa Sprinkle — 5 star
April 12 at 9:38pm ·
We saw Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny today. It was an amazing show. Loved every second of it! Well done!

Elisabeth Harding — 5 star
February 13 ·
Saw The Hungry Caterpillar today, PHENOMENAL! My 2 year old was so in to it too! Will definitely recommend!

Michele Moore — 5 star
January 14 ·
My son had his field trip the other day and saw your performance. You guys did a great job.

Sarah Corney — 5 star
January 23 ·
Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny were excellent. I took my 4, 4, and 2 year olds for an afternoon out in Toledo, Ohio.

Patty Horton Moses — 5 star
February 3 ·
I just saw the runway bunny and goodnight moon with my preschoolers loved it!

Darlene Cowley — 5 star
March 1 ·
The first grade classes of Sallie Curtis Elementary from Beaumont, Texas LOVED your show today!

Jonathan Edwards — 5 star
February 13 ·
I was extremely impressed with the Eric Carle show. My 6 & 4 year olds absolutely loved it. Well done and thank you!

Kim Wipperfurth — 5 star
November 17, 2014 ·
I saw Stella Queen of the Snow with my Extended Day kids (Kindergartners), today in Madison, Wisconsin. Simply amazing! The children were interested and engaged, and it held my attention as well! The puppets are fantastic and flow just as well as live actors. It was very well done! We all loved it. We were lucky enough to see the Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar about a year ago with the same age group.
Love, love, love this group of talented people!!

Debbie Hoggard — 5 star
March 7 ·
My boys and I JUST saw Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. It was fantastic!!!

Jen Boro Peters — 5 star
September 20, 2014 ·
Took my 4 yr old and 6 yr olds to see “The very hungry caterpillar” tonight and it was amazing! I loved it just as much as they did. So happy that I decided to take them last minute!!

Maricela Verduzco — 5 star
February 14 ·
Runaway Bunny was so endearing and beautifully done.

Jen Chung — 5 star
March 16, 2014 ·
We saw the Leo Lionni show in Tribeca yesterday and the Eric Carle show last year at Symphony Space, and Mermaid Theatre is an absolute treasure! From the beautiful recreations of the books to the amazing puppets, I feel so grateful that such talented people are encouraging children and adults alike appreciate theater and storytelling.

Crystal Clark — 5 star
November 29, 2013 ·
Took my 4 year old to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar at The Smith Center in Geneva, NY. It was phenomenal! My daughter and I were mesmerized and truly enjoyed watching some of our favorite books brought to life! Incredibly talented cast and great production! I definitely recommend taking your children to see this play!

Elizabeth Martinez Anthony — 5 star
March 8, 2015 ·
I took my daughter to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar at CCC in New Jersey. It was phenomenal!! We loved it and are still talking about it. Loved how they had a question and answer at the end.

Cathy Callaway Howie — 5 star
October 30, 2014 ·
Took my first graders to The Very Hungry Caterpillar show in Chico, Ca today…fabulous show! The children couldn’t stop talking about it…and I’m still talking about it!!! Please come back to Chico. Awesome!

Tina Winters — 5 star
March 28, 2015 ·
Saw the group perform three Eric Carle stories at Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD. One of the best children’s performances we’ve ever seen!

Toh Chen Yeong — 5 star
October 3, 2014 ·
Utterly enjoyed The Very Hungry Caterpillar, down to every minute detail! It was as therapeutic for the adults as it was cathartic for the kiddos!

Jennifer Peterson — 5 star
January 22, 2015 ·
We just saw The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other stories today at The Grand Opera House…what a wonderful show!! I highly recommend it to anyone!

Elizabeth Duncan — 5 star
November 9, 2013 ·
Just Took Mirabel to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar performed by this group at The Performing Arts Center in Tampa. It was wonderful. Highly recommend for the kids.

Daniel Villegas — 5 star
October 27, 2014 ·
I had the privilege to work with you guys at Mondavi in Davis, California as well as enjoying the show. Thanks

Bhavna Talwar Bhatia — 5 star
September 28, 2014 ·
I just attended the very hungry caterpillar in Singapore. We thoroughly enjoyed it with our 3 year old.

Robin Eddy Ludwig — 5 star
February 28, 2014 ·
Took my nephew and son to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar today at The Peace Center in Greenville, SC. They loved it and so did I. Such a great job!

Anitra Buckel — 5 star
October 27, 2014 ·
Just took my 5yr old son to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar at UC Davis in CA – it was amazing! Fantastic!!

Natasha ‘Ramsay’ Kawasaki — 5 star
March 4, 2015 ·
We went to see the puppet show of Eric Carle’s work. Excellent! My kids and I were mesmerized. Just magical!!

Samantha S. Haemker — 5 star
February 4, 2015 ·
I went with my 6 year old to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar! It was an awesome show!

Susie Roell Zgodzinski — 5 star
January 24, 2014 ·
Loved the Eric Carle show yesterday at The Valentine Theater in Toledo, Ohio! Great job! The kids had a great time.

Mary-Ellen Musacchia — 5 star
January 23, 2014 ·
Took our entire kindergarten to see Swimmy, Inch by Inch, and Frederick today. Simply wonderful!


Thanks to everyone who has made this happen.  Have a great week!

 

An encore for Mermaid’s Puppet Cabaret 

** UPDATED: this event date was changed to Saturday, February 6, 2016.

Prominent community volunteers are lending their support to Mermaid Theatre’s forthcoming fundraising event by undergoing a crash course in puppetry. 

The third annual edition of the company’s popular Puppet Cabaret is scheduled for Saturday evening, February 6 and will feature original vignettes by Cameron Hartley, proprietor of the Schoolhouse Brewery and Kelly Mitchelmore, artist and proprietor of Phoenix Hollow B&B, local residents who are hard at work rehearsing for their stage debut.

Other features of the much-anticipated event include tasty tidbits (prepared by local chef Kerina Dykstra from Let’s Eat Personal Chef Services), a cash bar featuring local brew and wine, a silent and live auction, and cameo performances by former Mermaid puppetry students.  The company’s long-time associate, Mermaid veteran Bill Carr, will serve as host and auctioneer.  In addition to his extensive career as a stage and television performer, Bill is in much demand across Canada as a multi-media artist, humorist, writer, motivational speaker and social commentator.

Struan Robertson, Mermaid’s workshop coordinator, will oversee the puppetry segments of the event, with all staff members working to ensure that guests enjoy a unique “adult evening” in support of Mermaid’s outreach programs for families. Tickets are $60 with a tax receipt issued for a portion of the ticket price. The event is open to adults aged 19 and over. 

The show will be presented on the Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Centre stage at 106 Gerrish Street in Windsor.  Tickets are available by contacting Mermaid Theatre’s office at 902-798-5841 or puppets@mermaidtheatre.ca.

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Please visit our website at Mermaidtheatre.ca

NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, our main website, mermaidtheatre.ca, is not coming up in search results.  You can reach the site by clicking here.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is located at 132 Gerrish Street, P.O. Box 2697, Windsor, NS  B0N 2T0, CANADA

Our main website for Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is
mermaidtheatre.ca

Our website for Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Centre is at:
mermaidtheatre.ca/MIPAC

We’re on Facebook at:

http://facebook.com/MermaidTheatre
http://facebook.com/MermaidImperial

Puppet Cabaret Fundraiser – Sat, Jan 31 from 7-10pm

Mermaid Puppet Cabaret Fundraiser

Live Auction, Silent Auction, and Great Entertainment
Saturday, January 31, 2015 — 7-10pm

Hello to all friends of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia,

We wanted to let you know about our second annual event to raise funds to support Mermaid’s unique community outreach programs.  Please join us for our Puppet Cabaret Fundraiser on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 7-10 PM at the Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Centre, 106 Gerrish Street in Downtown Windsor.

Along with warm and cold appetizers provided by Cocoa Pesto Catering, a cash bar, and the chance to bid on some great auction items, our guests will be treated to entertainment performed by some of Windsor/West Hants’ most prominent citizens, as well as Mermaid’s own talented creative team.

Join us for an evening of laughter and camaraderie.  Hosted on the MIPAC stage, this is definitely not Mermaid’s usual Theatre for Young Audiences fare!

IMG_0970Local community puppeteers include:
Sarah Arthur, Innkeeper at the Clockmaker’s Inn
Paul Beazley, Mayor of Windsor
Joseph Seagram, Headmaster at King’s-Edgehill School and
Shayla Steeves, owner Blossoms of the Valley and the Lavender Pumpkin Piano Cafe

Tickets are $60 (A tax receipt will be issued for a portion of the ticket price, determined after the event.)  Please note: this event is for ages 19+ only.

Check out some of the excellent items we’ll be auctioning off at our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1592929157607257/

Tickets are available at Mermaid Theatre’s office, and at the door.  We hope to see you there!

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Mermaid’s CODE GREEN Returns for New Tour

The Mermaid Institute of Puppetry Arts popular curriculum-based production, Code Green: enhancing awareness of species at risk will soon return to Nova Scotia’s elementary schools with an updated edition. The company will present thirty-four performances in Kings, Hants and Pictou Counties as well as the HRM from November 13 through December 5, 2014.

Following the model of earlier presentations with the same name, the production is an interactive theatre piece intended to explore the impact of insensitive human activity on the natural environment. Created through extensive consultation with wildlife specialists, the play introduces students to several threatened species, including the little brown bat, the piping plover, the right whale, the woodland caribou, and the Blanding’s turtle.

Four spirited puppeteers share the stage, imparting solid information through the imaginative incorporation of video footage, interpretive comments, a lyrical soundscape and innovative puppetry. The creative team for Code Green includes co-directors Jim Morrow and Struan Robertson, co-designers Jim Morrow, Deborah MacLean and Struan Robertson, composer Paul Cram and puppeteer/performers Hilary Adams, Ryanne Chisholm, Rachel Hastings, and Genevieve Jones. The production will tour with generous support from Arts Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Educational Facilities Society, and the Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund.

A free public performance will be offered at the Windsor Community Centre on Sunday, November 23 at 11:00am.  For more information, please visit http://mermaidtheatre.ca/code-green .

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Mermaid’s Signature Production Visits Shanghai

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s signature production will embark on another international adventure, marking Mermaid’s debut appearance in The People’s Republic of China.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites will be a featured program of Canada Week at the China Shanghai International Arts Festival.  Three Mandarin-language performances and one English show will be presented in the Children’s Art Theatre at the China Welfare Institute on October 25-26, as well as one performance at the Wuxi Concert Hall on October 28 , 2014.

On the road continuously since 1999, Mermaid’s compilations of Eric Carle stories have generated remarkable statistics, including nearly 3500 performances in six different languages for more than two million spectators in fifteen countries.

Directed and designed by Jim Morrow, who ranks among Canada’s most esteemed puppetry creators, the show incorporates innovative “black light” staging techniques and Steven Naylor’s evocative original music. The production has been awarded a Citation of Excellence by UNIMA-USA, one of North America’s most prestigious awards in the field of puppetry.

Company members include performers Jonny Thompson and John Allen MacLean, and stage manager Shawn Sorensen.  Artistic Director Jim Morrow and General Manager Lisa Gleave will also travel with the company. The Mandarin–language version features recorded narration by Dashan (Mark Rowswell), the legendary Canadian-born stage and television performer acknowledged as the most famous foreign artist in China.  The tour has been facilitated with support from The Canada Council for the Arts and Arts Nova Scotia.

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Founded in 1972 and based in rural Nova Scotia, Mermaid Theatre is currently Canada’s most widely travelled performing arts company for young spectators.  Simultaneous tours in October will feature performances in California and New Jersey as well as Shanghai on the same day, ensuring that Mermaid Theatre’s unrivalled touring circuit continues to make theatre history at home and abroad.