Reflections on Summer 2015

My Summer at Mermaid Theatre
by Chelsey Robichaud, Mermaid’s 2015 summer student

During my elementary school days, I would attend Mermaid Theatre performances with my mother. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the company’s puppetry magic. From the art of the puppets, scenery, loveable characters like Opus the penguin, the caterpillar eating his way across the stage – I was on the edge of my seat! I grew curious of the company and how everything comes together for one spectacular show.

When I saw the advertisement for the summer student position, I immediately applied. The position appealed to me because I’ve been eager to work for a theatre company and learn the business of theatre. My fingers were crossed up until the day I received the phone saying I had been selected for the position. That day was a celebration! I was so excited to start a job that would fulfill my summer with an experience that I am passionate about, and can learn from.

Walking into Mermaid Theatre on my first day of work, I was very excited and not at all nervous. I soaked in the information like a sponge because theatre has always been my favourite thing in the world. When you are in a job that you love, it is easier to learn your tasks.

The theatre world is intriguing – there are several aspects from what happens on stage to behind the scenes! So far, I have learned many things including the history of Mermaid, the building, the roles of every employee, the shows and how everything comes together to bring a children’s story to life.

I can’t even begin to list what my job consists of because every day is different. My large projects involve organizing tour books and other documents for Goodnight Moon/The Runaway Bunny and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favourites as they will both tour North America this season. My job also consists of researching every venue Mermaid tours to make sure that the company has the information they need. My favourite part of the job is giving people tours of our building. The looks on their faces and reactions are priceless because they are amazed at what goes into creating a show. It’s great to have people who have been in the audience and have the chance to see these puppets up close! I enjoy demonstrating how some of the puppets work and explaining how they are made.

What’s fun about my job is it consists of things I actually do in my spare time. Whenever I am travelling to a city for vacation, I do extensive research on local venues so I can attend concerts and theatre performances. That being said, the task of finding ticket sales for our shows was no problem! I enjoy learning about unfamiliar places, their venues and various theatre companies who tour with their shows.

Beyond my desk, the office has busy here at Mermaid. We prepared for Caterpillar to perform in China for one month. We are also in the process of planning the Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny North American tour, and for Guess How Much I Love You & I Love My Little Storybook to go to Ireland! It is interesting to look at the entire process to be able to perform their shows in different countries – Such as hiring the actors, receiving contracts and Visa applications to work outside of Canada, hotels, meals, everything. It is such a remarkable process! I am also interested in how the company works to receive the rights to other well-loved children’s stories.

I am sad to say that this is my last week at Mermaid Theatre for this summer. It’s been an amazing summer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have learned. Honestly, I cannot think of a summer job that is better than this. I am fortunate to have a job where I wake up feeling excited every morning for what the day will bring – even on a Monday morning. The employees here have been quite friendly and helpful to me as I had to navigate the ‘behind the scenes world’ of theatre. Their stories of their work and how the company came to be are quite inspiring. I have gained so much knowledge from this company, and I wish to continue this summer work!

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Explore our New Season

Check out MIPAC’s exciting line-up for the 2015-16 MIPAC Performing Arts Series.  With thirteen diverse performances, MIPAC invites you to join us in a blend of Canadian musical icons and family performances that will take you from a down-home Cape Breton kitchen party to an Indigenous dance-theatre performance based on the traditions of oral storytelling.  We hope you can join us!

The MIPAC Performing Arts Series welcomes back some familiar faces as well as introduces you to some new talent that might just take you by surprise.  Some of Canada’s most popular musical artists will have you singing, toe tapping and dancing in your seats.  With a mix of puppetry, dance, and theatre, our Family Series offers you six professional performances to entertain both the young and young-at-heart.

Launching the Family Series on Sunday, September 20 is Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s gentle stage adaptation of Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny.  October heats up with three musical performances beginning with Polaris music nominees, husband and wife musical team, Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland of Whitehorse.   Annapolis Valley’s homegrown band The Spinney Brothers take the stage on October 17 in their unique style of traditional southern flavoured bluegrass music that led to their Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame induction in 2010.  On October 30, the Joe Murphy Blues Bonanza with Dave MacLean and Watermelon Slim brings together these renowned musicians in a musical collaboration sure to get your blues flowing. 

On November 22, MIPAC welcomes back to its Family Fare Series Motus O in their exhilarating performance Alice. Rich in athleticism and innovative dance theatre, Alice is adapted from Lewis Carroll’s whimsical stories, Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  On January 19, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia returns with its flagship production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites.  Maritime Marionettes present The Lonely Leprechaun on February 14.  Hailing from Truro, NS, these regulars to the MIPAC stage tell the story of Sally, whose muse magically appears as Sandy, the lonely leprechaun.  

Like his trademark suit, David Myles’ music is timeless.  David’s only artistic constants are his always growing, shape shifting songwriting, and his exceptional ability to entertain.  Join David on the MIPAC stage March 18 for an evening of vocal harmonies and irresistible energy. 

Springtime blooms at MIPAC with four April performances. On April 2, the Yukon-based Ramshackle Theatre will take your family along for a Sci-Fi Double Feature Cardboard Science Fiction Puppet Show. This all ages cardboard puppet show is filmed and projected live onto the big screen, to create a one-take 1960s sci-fi B-movie.  Joel Plaskett Emergency proves he can be all things to all people, as he rocks MIPAC on April 7 with one of the most diverse and fan pleasing albums of his career.   In a ‘love letter to music,’ 6 Guitars is a pitch perfect blend of music, comedy, and characters. Chase Padgett is one talented musician who delivers a virtuosic performance as he becomes 6 different guitar players each with their own distinct voice, views, and musical style. 

In a tender coming-of-age story, Red Sky Theatre’s Mistatim blends cultural barriers in a story of truest friendships and communication.  With just a simple wooden fence separating Calvin on his father’s ranch and Speck on her reservation, Calvin attempts to ‘break’ Mistatim the only horse no one else could tame in order to prove himself to his father.  Told through the beauty of Indigenous dance and storytelling, don’t miss seeing Canada’s most celebrated contemporary dance-theatre company. 

Are you ready for some down-home good time? On May 14, Cape Breton’s electrifying line-up of East Coast musicians, Còig (Ko-ig) wraps up the season in an exciting show not to be missed.  Originally coming together for the Celtic Colours International Festival, Còig is today one of Cape Breton’s most captivating young bands.  With numerous accolades and awards, these successful solo musicians in their own right come together to bring you one exhilarating ‘kitchen party’ full of banjo, bouzouki, fiddle, mandolin, flute, whistle, vocals and piano.  This is what Cape Breton is all about!


TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets on sale now at Ticketpro.ca, by phone at 1-888-311-9090, or in person at Windsor Home Hardware and all other Ticketpro outlets.

MIPAC has introduced two special options to help you get the most of your performing arts experience:   

THE VIP PACKAGE:
David Myles, Joel Plaskett Emergency & Whitehorse
Attend all three performances for $110

  • Guaranteed seating in first two rows
  • Invitation to post-show reception with complimentary refreshments.

FAMILY PACKAGE:
Pick any four Family Series shows for $48. General seating.
(regular $13 Advance | $15 Door.) 

For full season details on the 2015-16 line up, go to: mermaidtheatre.ca/mipac/current-season

goodnight moonFAMILY SERIES Mermaid Theatre
Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny

Sun, Sep 20 @ 2pm 
whitehorse logo Whitehorse
Sat, Oct 10 @ 8:00pm
 

IMG_2391-300x214
The Spinney Brothers
Sat, Oct 17 @ 4pm
2015-Oct30-joe murphy Joe Murphy Blues Bonanza
with special guests
Fri, Oct 30 @ 8pm
Motus O Alice2FAMILY SERIES Motus O Theatre
Alice in Wonderland 
Sun, Nov 22 @ 4pm
CaterpillarFAMILY SERIES Mermaid Theatre
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & 
Tue Jan 19 @ 6:30pm
lonely leprechaunFAMILY SERIES Maritime Marionettes
The Lonely Leprechaun
Sun, Feb 14 @ 2pm

David Myles David Myles
Fri, March 18 @ 8pm
ramshackle 2FAMILY SERIES
Ramshackle Theatre
Sci-Fi Double Feature: 
Sat, April 2 @ 2pm

joel plaskett emergency Joel Plaskett Emergency
Thu, Apr 7 @ 8pm
6 guitars copy 6 Guitars
Fri, April 22 @ 7:00pm
Mistatim - Red Sky 175FAMILY SERIES Red Sky Theatre
Mistatim
Fri, Apr 29 @ 6:30pm
coig Còig
Sat, May 14 @ 7:00pm

Latest Updates from Mermaid Theatre – June, 2015

Summer is sometimes quiet in our office, but this season, there’s lots going on, including some international tours that are shaping up quite nicely.

  • vhc-china-mapOur “Caterpillar” and his friends will be returning to China next month, with performances in several big cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Nanjing, Changzhou, and several others.  Narrated in Mandarin by Da-shan (aka “The most famous foreigner in China”) the show,《好饿的毛毛虫》in Chinese, begins rehearsals next week for dates beginning July 15 in Beijing.
  • We’re also planning to head to Singapore and Ireland in the coming months with the charming Guess How Much I Love You & I Love My Little Storybook — more information will be posted once the details are finalized.
  • IMG643Chelsey, our summer student, has arrived to help us work on paperwork and give guided tours of the facility.  There’s lots to see, and we’re always happy to show people around.  We’re open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm (if you want a tour, try to arrive before 3:30!).
  • We’re also getting ready for our 2015-16 US/Canada tours, with Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny heading out in September, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites rolls out in January.  We’ll have the tour schedules posted online soon.
  • Our MIPAC 2015-16 Performing Arts Series will be finalized and shared with everyone within a month.  Stay tuned — there’s lots of great shows in our theatre this coming season.
  • Mermaid’s Youtheatre will be presenting their final performance this school year of their show “The Hivemind,” at The Mermaid Loft.  The performance is on Wednesday, June 17 at 6:30pm, and you are all invited (ages 13+ only).
  • In collaboration with other Atlantic Canadian puppeteers, we’ve launched a local chapter of UNIMA, the international organization devoted to the art of puppetry.  Full details are on our website and you can see what we’re up to on our new blog/journal.
  • Finally, just a quick note: because our production team will be so busy this summer getting ready for our tours, we will not be hosting any summer day camps this year.

Have a great week!

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

Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association

Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association / 
Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique

** la version française suit **

A new initiative will provide a platform for the region’s puppet theatre artists by forming an alliance among worldwide practitioners of the age-old art. The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association / Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique (ACPA/AMCA) will be formally affiliated with UNIMA-Canada andUNIMA-International, sister organizations whose mandate is to link puppeteers nationally and internationally; to support professional programs; to stimulate the general public’s interest in the art of puppetry; and to promote the visibility of Canada’s puppeteers all over the world.

The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association, with headquarters at Mermaid, is registered under the Nova Scotia Societies Act and governed by a founding board of directors drawn from the four Atlantic Provinces.

Since its inception, Mermaid Theatre has played a pioneer role in promoting the art of puppetry. The creation of the Institute of Puppetry Arts in 1998 laid the foundation for diverse teaching, mentoring and outreach activities. In particular, the Institute’s professional training intensive known as Animotion has garnered widespread respect as its graduates launch their careers in the performing and media arts. The Theatre Loft, with its increasingly popular artist–in-residence program, has become an important centre for puppetry-related research and development.

We are currently looking for and accepting new members throughout the Atlantic Canada region.  The annual membership fee is $20 (includes affiliation with UNIMA CANADA and UNIMA International.  Please note that the ACPA/AMCA is a Nova Scotia Registered Society but not a charitable organization – accordingly no tax receipt will be issued.)

Email address: acpa-amca [at] mermaidtheatre [dot] ca 
* A downloadable registration form is available here
* Télécharger le document ici


C’est un plaisir d’annoncer la constitution officielle de l’Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique. Le temps est venu de vous inviter à devenir un de nos membres fondateurs.

Cette nouvelle initiative fournira une plateforme de réseautage pour les artistes de la marionnette de la région et leur permettra de rejoindre l’alliance internationale des praticiens de cet art millénaire. Atlantique Canada Puppetry Association/ Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique sera formellement affilié à UNIMA-Canada et UNIMA-international, des organisations conjointes dont le mandat est de rassembler des marionnettistes à un niveau national et international; d’appuyer les programmes professionnels; de stimuler l’intérêts du public pour l’art de la marionnette; et de promouvoir la visibilité des marionnettistes canadiens partout dans le monde.

L’ACPA/AMCA, dont le quartier général est au Mermaid Theatre en Nouvelle­Écosse, est enregistrée sous la Loi sur les sociétés de la Nouvelle-Écosse et est régie par un Conseil d’administration issu des quatre provinces atlantiques. D’autres informations et le formulaire d’adhésion sont disponible à partir du site Web du Mermaid Theatre (www.mermaidtheatre.ca) et également d’UNIMA-Canada (http://www.unimacanada.com)

N’hésitez pas à partager cette invitation, pour contribuer à bâtir ensemble notre organisation.

Merci pour votre soutien!

Jim Morrow, Président De la part de l’ACPA/AMCA


The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association/AMCA
c/o Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
P.O. Box 2697, Windsor, NS B0N 2T0
acpa-amca [at] mermaidtheatre [dot] ca

Update from Mermaid Theatre / MIPAC, Feb 13, 2015

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.


Hello, Mermaid fans,

Due to the weather forecast, MIPAC has rescheduled the upcoming Family Fare musical performance by Little Miss Moffat.  Originally scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 15 at 11am, the new date is SUNDAY, APRIL 19 at 2PM.  If you have already purchased tickets to the show, they will be honoured on the new date.  If you cannot make the new date, you may contact the place of purchase for a refund.  If you purchased tickets online, you can call Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090.

We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you in April!

Moffat-new-date

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!

cabaret2015

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 .

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 12.09.30 PM

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.

poster-shanghai-vhc_Page_1

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.

 

Summer Vacation Workshops at Mermaid Theatre — August 13 & 14, 2014

Go Struan!Struan has been really busy this spring and summer building and rebuilding lots of Mermaid’s touring puppets.  But he’s taking a couple of days off from that to offer three short puppetry workshops at our facility in August. Two of the programs are for children ages 6 and up, and one is for pre-schoolers to participate with their care-givers. Workshops will be led by our Production Associate and Workshop Instructor, Struan Robertson. If you’re interested in attending these events, please contact us.  Interested students can sign up for both of the Thursday workshops.  All of these events require pre-registration, so act now if you want your child to take part.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pre-School Puppet Playtime (Ages 3-5)
10:00am-12:00pm
$25+HST

A creative, nurturing environment where children explore the playful world of puppetry. In this two-hour interactive workshop, participants will engage their imaginations and create a one-of-a kind puppet to take home.
NOTE: Parent/guardian participation is required for this activity.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Puppet Construction — 9:30am-12:30pm (Ages 6+)
$40+HST
Participants learn the basics of puppetry construction. Students will get a brief lesson in how to bring their creations to life through storytelling and music. All students will bring home a puppet of their own creation.

Puppet Manipulation — 1:30pm-4:30pm (Ages 6+)
$40+HST
Participants will learn how to bring a variety of puppets to life in the style of Mermaid’s own world-touring productions. Students will have the opportunity to try out some of Mermaid’s most famous puppets.

The deadline to register for these workshops is Friday, August 8. There is a maximum of 12 participants at each event, and workshops with fewer than 6 registrants by the deadline will be canceled. To register or for more information, contact us by email at puppets@mermaidtheatre.ca or by phone at 798-5841.