Category Archives: MIPAC

Video Introduction to Mermaid Theatre

Hello there Mermaid fans!

We recently pulled together a wide variety of video files on the office computer to make a little video that showcases some of what we do here at Mermaid.

The video is from a variety of sources, including some footage provided by the Province of Nova Scotia when they came to get some shots of Jim in conjunction with his recent Order of Nova Scotia award.  Much of the other footage is either from promotional videos of our touring shows, or office video we’ve shot to show people what we’re up to.

The music is original music by Steven Naylor, who has composed for Mermaid for many years.  The clips in this video are all from Mermaid versions of Eric Carle stories.

Thanks everyone, for making this happen.

 

Movie Night in Windsor

Locally filmed “Weirdos” being screened at MIPAC

(Windsor, NS)  The Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Center (MIPAC) will welcome movie fans for the first time in nearly twenty years with a special community screening of Bruce McDonald’s acclaimed WEIRDOS. Shot partially on location in Windsor, the touching coming-of-age film will be shown on Friday evening, June 16th at 7:30 PM. 

Based on an original screenplay by Daniel MacIvor, Weirdos follows the story of fifteen-year-old Kit (Dylan Authors) who dreams of a more glamorous life in the big city, faraway from the small town where he lives with his father (Allan Hawco) and grandmother (Cathy Jones). Enlisting the help of his girlfriend Alice (Julia Sara Stone), they hitchhike towards a new home with his glamorous, artistic mother Laura (Molly Parker). As Kit and Alice reach their final destination their relationship is tested as Kit comes to realize that his life will change forever.

The film was nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Molly Parker for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Daniel MacIvor for Original Screenplay, Duff Smith for Achievement in Editing, Bethana Briffett for Achievement in Costume Design, and Matt Likely for Achievement in Art Direction. The production premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and has since been applauded by enthusiastic audiences at both national and international film festivals.

The one-time screening is intended to celebrate the Town of Windsor’s importance as a destination for film crews. In addition to Weirdos, local streetscapes, homes and businesses (including MIPAC) have provided the backdrop for a number of other feature films, including Two If By SeaThe River King, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Blackbird, and Cloudburst, as well as a number of TV movies and series.

The Imperial Theatre was built by John H. ‘Jack’ Bustin in 1914 (refurbished following a fire in 1931), and regularly presented plays, concerts and traveling musical shows in addition to films. Country and Western greats including Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, Kitty Wells and Smiley Bates performed on the Imperial stage, while The Windsor Concert Party variety shows entertained troops stationed nearby as well as local residents.

In 1947 the Theatre was sold to the B & L cinema chain (Bernstein and Lieberman) of Saint John, NB, the pioneering company who introduced “talkies” to the Maritimes.  The Imperial was sold again to Dr. Garth and Lauren Vaughan in 1986, who promoted both live entertainment and movie screenings.  Following their retirement, Mermaid Theatre acquired the facility in 2003, and began the extensive restorations that have resulted in the MIPAC renaissance.  Recent upgrades to both interior and façade have been supported by the Province of Nova Scotia’s Community Facilities Improvement Program and The Government of Canada’s 150 Community Infrastructure Program.

The black-and-white film is rated PG and runs 85 minutes.  Showtime is 7:30pm.  Admission to the Weirdos screening is $14, with tickets available online at Ticketpro.ca, by phone at 888-311-9090 or in person at Windsor Home Hardware and at the door.

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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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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News from Mermaid: Stella, Caterpillar, MIPAC, and More!

Hello friends of Mermaid Theatre!

We’ve been very busy for the last few months, and we’ve still got lots to do.  Here’s an update of the latest events from here in our facility in Windsor.

* Our biggest job is to finish building the puppets and set pieces for our newest production, Stella Queen of the Snow.  The production team is going full throttle to get everything ready.  We have people sewing, painting, carving, building, composing, and preparing for the premiere next month and subsequent fall tour.  Things are really starting to come together.  Rehearsals begin this month, and we’re presenting the world premiere of the show at the Magnetic North / STAGES Theatre Festival, taking place together in Halifax in June, with a US/Canadian tour to follow in the fall.  We’ll post the schedule in the coming weeks.

* Our Swimmy, Frederick, & Inch by Inch company returned from tour a couple of weeks ago after a successful tour with nearly 60 shows in 14 states.  Welcome home, folks!

"Caterpillar" in Korea, 2014

“Caterpillar” in Korea, 2014

* We still have two companies on the road touring The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites.  One company is currently in their final venue for a multi-week run at the Chicago Children’s Theatre.  The other company has completed over 150 shows and is currently finishing their tour with a four-week visit to South Korea and had a great response from our first-ever audiences in the Kingdom of Bahrain for their Spring of Culture Festival in March.  We’ll also be touring Caterpillar again in the fall, with over 200 shows in 25 states and 3 provinces.  We’ll post that schedule in the coming weeks as well.

* Since September 1, 2013, the three touring companies have performed over 385 shows for a combined audience of over 225,000 people!  Keep up the good work and safe travels to the “Caterpillar” companies!

* We’re currently welcoming nine aspiring puppeteers to Mermaid’s annual ANIMOTION Puppetry Intensive.  They’ve come from several provinces to study with us, and Jim and Struan are keeping them very busy.

Animotion participants, having mastered the art of juggling, await further instruction.

Animotion participants, having mastered the art of juggling, await further instruction.

* At MIPAC, our local theatre, we’re hosting the final two shows of our 2013-14 Entertainment Series.  SQUID Precision Drummers with Cassie & Maggie MacDonald are playing this Saturday, May 3, at 2pm; and Canadian playwright Jeremy Webb brings his online-dating comedy FISHING to our stage on May 17 at 7pm.

squid-fish

* Mermaid’s Youtheatre is performing their new project, Be the Peace, at the Nova Scotia High School Dramafest in Halifax this weekend, with several performances in the coming months at several high schools around the province.

* Finally, we’re looking for a summer student here at the office.  This is a full time job for 12 weeks beginning June 2.  The posting is on the job bank.gc.ca website.  It’s open to students who are returning to school in the fall. If you or someone you know in the Windsor, NS area wants to work in a cool place, please get in touch.  The deadline is May 15.

Thanks for reading.  Have a good weekend!

@SpringofCulture and South Korea tour for #VeryHungryCaterpillar, and other news from Mermaid!

It has been a wild ride here at Mermaid Theatre’s headquarters in Windsor, NS for the past few months. We’ve put three shows out on the road, most recently sending off Mermaid veterans Christine Oakey, Kaitlin Morrow and Seann Murray with our Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch. They’re currently doing shows in the Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, and we totally envy them at this time of year.

Seann, Christine, and Kaitlin with some of their friends from "Swimmy, Frederick and Inch by Inch"

Seann, Christine, and Kaitlin with some of their friends from “Swimmy, Frederick and Inch by Inch”

Swimmy heads back North in March, with dates in New England and the Midwest. Our full schedules for all tours are here.

Back at home, we launched our 6th performing arts season at MIPAC, and had a great second workshop for our new production Stella, Queen of the Snow, based on the book by Marie-Louise Gay.  Also, our revitalized Youtheatre group has begun work on their new project on the topic of violence against women and girls.

Things don’t appear to be slowing down, and to top it off we’ve been dealing with our #WintryWednesdays, which means we’ve had major winter storms and office disruptions for at least the past three Wednesdays.  The good news is we’ve got two exciting international engagements happening in the next couple of months.  The first will see The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favourites head to the Kingdom of Bahrain for a week-long engagement at the Spring of Culture Festival. This touring company (one of two that are currently touring Caterpillar around the U.S. and Canada) consisting of Yvonne Yip (SM), Jonny Thompson, and Mara Zigler, will be joined in Bahrain by Mermaid’s Artistic Director Jim Morrow and General Manager Lisa Gleave.  Following that festival, the company (after a brief Roman holiday) will have a week off and then fly to Seoul, South Korea for a four-week run in and around the city.  We’ll get the details posted on our website soon.

April and May also see another installment of our ANIMOTION training workshop happening here at HQ. We’re pleased to report that it is almost full and we’ll be turning out another group of professionals, pre-professionals and educators freshly schooled in the art of puppetry—Mermaid style.

Directly following that, rehearsal for Stella will begin, as we will be showcasing the world premiere as a co-present with the Stages Festival and Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Halifax in late June.

Artistic Director Jim Morrow carves a puppet for "Stella Queen of the Snow"

Artistic Director Jim Morrow carves a puppet for “Stella Queen of the Snow”

Finally, we at the office would like to offer a “warm” shout-out to the other touring Caterpillar company (Shawn Sorensen, Kat McCormack and Simon Rainville), who have endured freezing Midwest winter weather and touring van malfunctions in good spirits and with minimal complaining.  We hope that 5-week sit-down run with the Chicago Children’s Theatre in the spring makes up for it!

Two Mermaid Theatre "Caterpillar" companies meet on tour in Toronto.

Two Mermaid Theatre “Caterpillar” companies cross paths while on simultaneous tours in the US and Canada. Toronto, 2013.

HAPPY TOURING! updates from FLA, NY, and home (#WindsorNS)

Good morning!

We back here in the office would like to extend a warm wish for a great tour and safe travels to the second company of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favourites which just headed out on the road this week.  Yvonne, Jonny and Mara have already performed their first show yesterday in Geneva, New York, and will be starting their second performance for a school group in just about twenty minutes’ time.  They also have the good fortune to be performing their next shows tomorrow at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City!  Not a bad way to start a tour! From there they have a few dates in the Northeast before extended runs in Montreal and Minneapolis.

Mermaid Theatre's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" 2013-2014 tour: Yvonne Yip, Jonny Thompson, Mara Zigler

Mermaid Theatre’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar” 2013-2014 tour: Yvonne Yip, Jonny Thompson, Mara Zigler

The first Caterpillar company headed out in the beginning of October.  Shawn, Kat and Simon (please send me a picture from the road and I’ll post it!) have already performed 30 of 230+ shows on their 9-month tour, and are doing dates in Florida for a couple of weeks before heading back to Ontario.  Our full schedule (which includes both tours) is here on our website.

Back here in Nova Scotia, it’s Nova Scotia Music Week! Our General Manager is representing MIPAC at the festivities in Sydney, NS this weekend.  MIPAC received our first-ever Music Nova Scotia nomination for Community Presenter of the Year!  We’re so excited to be included along with other great venues throughout the province.  The full list of nominees is here.

Finally, next weekend, we’re presenting Honkytonk Blues: Featuring RYAN COOK, JOHN CAMPBELLJOHN AND STAN CAREW. The show is Saturday, November 16 at 7pm.  Tickets are available in all the usual ways — full details are on the ValleyEvents website, which is truly the best place to go for events in the area.

honkytonk-jpg

Have a great weekend!