Tag Archives: Mermaid Theatre

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!

 

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Interview with Jim Morrow – part 2

Happy new year!

Last October, we posted a portion of an (email) interview with our Artistic Director, Jim Morrow.  That portion of the interview is available here.  The remainder of his questions and answers are printed below.

Q: What type of puppets do you use in your performances? Who creates them?
A:
We are not a puppet company in the classic sense but a company that incorporates objects to tell stories. The objects that are more fully realized (with eyes, mouths, hands and feet, for example) we call our puppets. We have used traditional styles (hand, rod, marionettes or stringed, body, mouth or Muppet, and shadow) in past shows but design decisions are almost always based more on the unique challenges associated with adapting well known storybook characters into fully realized objects rather than on a particular puppet tradition. Essentially we first carve objects, or sculptures, and then learn how to move them through space by experimenting. Some of these sculptures have rods or strings incorporated and, as such, are considered traditional puppet styles but there can exist in any given play, many styles of puppets that are both traditional and new. There are no books we can refer to discover how to move these objects. We simply have to study and learn through experimenting and trial and error.

 

Q: Who composes the music you incorporate into your performances?
A: Music is a fundamental component of each Mermaid show and is a primary consideration from the early stages of development to completion. Music not only provides the requisite beat and rhythm that compliment the action but also adds a layer of emotional texturing that underscores each moment throughout the play. Steven Naylor is our principal sound designer and composer and we have been very fortunate to include his considerable skill and knowledge in our creative process for a very long time.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Institute of Puppetry Arts?
A:
Mermaid’s Institute of Puppetry Arts was created to provide training opportunities for anyone with an interest in learning the art of object movement and puppetry. Since the company’s inception forty-four years ago, puppetry has maintained a fundamental role in the development of each new play, and it has been integral in securing Mermaid’s unique place in the ecology of theatre for young audiences in North America and beyond.

Workshops: Through a variety of workshops, carefully crafted to serve the needs of both the general public and a theatre community increasingly curious about puppet construction and manipulation techniques, and with experts who are well versed in all aspects of puppet instruction, we annually reach hundreds of children and adults alike, both here at home and abroad. Puppetry instruction is also evolving in theatre programs offered by institutes and universities, where there is a growing curiosity about the medium and its application to core training.

Animotion: Our professional training session, called Animotion, is now recognized as one of the premier puppet instruction destinations in North America. The three-week long Intensive takes place each spring at our headquarters in Windsor and brings together ten participants from around the continent, most with limited knowledge of, or experience in, puppetry and object theatre. Each session is guided by a series of exercises designed to gently ease the participants from the early stages of learning the rudiments of manipulation, to fully realized moments complete with home made puppets and music.

Play Creation: The Institute of Puppetry Arts also boasts a play-creation component, with an emphasis on one-hour curriculum-based theatre pieces designed specifically for presentation in school auditoria. Developed collaboratively with specialists in the field of conservation biology and teachers of science, to date we have created two interactive productions that deal with issues relating to underwater marine biology (Sunken Treasures), and species at risk (Code Green).

 

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

Histories of the Summer Student: Part I

Note: this blog post was submitted by Rick, our summer assistant at Mermaid Theatre, who unfortunately missed his first day due to a terrible case of the flu. This is part one of a series, apparently — Jason.


 

My commencement at the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, as their summer student, was much anticipated.

Having returned in April to my homeland from imparting my wisdom, knowledge and disposition to the newest generation of Korean progenies across the seas I was eager to embark on another adventure. After my homecoming I promptly set out to seek my fortune as a member of the celebrated workforce of Nova Scotia.

After a month of searching was able to procure an interview at Mermaid Theatre with the luminous general manager, Lisa Gleave. Two days following (a lifetime to be sure), I received an audible message confirming my appointment as the summer student commencing June 2nd. I spent the subsequent weeks putting my affairs in order and delighting myself by reuniting with estranged friends.

On the eve of my inauguration I busied myself with the task of setting out my finest “business casual” garments and preparing a picnic lunch; the town of Windsor has a myriad of fine outdoor spaces for one to spend an hour out of doors in quiet repose. It was in these moments of preparation when the most dastardly of illnesses sprung upon me (I was no doubt purposefully infected my the youngest member of my eldest sister’s brood.) For hours my body reeled through feverish fits. I finally resolved to inform my employers of my unquestionably fatal situation; I sent an electronic letter to my future mentor, Jason Tucker, and slipped back into my feverish nightmares.

I woke, to my surprise, and finding myself still very much alive, albeit in a dwindling state, I set upon nursing myself back to relative health. Spurred on by the encouragement and well wishes of my new employers, sent that very morn, I endeavoured to vanquish the remnants of illness from me. With my sickbed as my vessel, chicken noodle soup as the wind in my sails, and Mermaid Theatre as my destination; I set my heading and soared towards my own recovery.

IMG308The following morning, still fatigued, I began my expedition, with my trusty companion (of whom I will speak more of in subsequent entries), to the town of Windsor and my bright future.

After passing the ascetic MIPAC entrance I arrived at the façade of the main offices. Upon entering the Mermaid Theatre foyer I was greeted by a particularly friendly and scholarly dinosaur (some hyper-intelligent raptor of sorts). To my left I hearkened, “you must be Rick… the new summer student”.

End of Part I

Stella, Queen of the Magnetic North Festival

th-Stella-sam-hillFirst, a huge thank you to everyone who showed up for our two sold out premiere performances of Stella, Queen of the Snow at the Magnetic North/Stages Theatre Festival last weekend in Halifax.  It was a massive undertaking to get everything ready for these two shows — normally, we don’t have to have new shows ready until the fall, so we had to work extra hard to get it ready for June.

But it was worth it.  We’re very pleased with the response we got, and we’re bringing it out on tour starting in October.  The schedule for our touring performances is on our website here.

It has been very quiet this week at Mermaid, as the creative & production team are taking a much deserved break.  But I wanted to share a few photos from last week, while things were going full-blast:

DSC01088

Jim carves another “Stella” puppet

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Isaac does some last-minute touch-ups.

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Nick is surrounded by workstations for the other creative team members

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Sarah sews curtain bits in place on stage during a break in rehearsals.

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Struan contemplates a very small dog puppet.

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Rick is borrowed from the office to help paint.

DSC01090

Deb covers yet another snow mound with white fabric.

DSC01094

Several “Stella” set pieces return to Struan’s shop for last-minute changes and adjustments.

 

What have we been up to at Mermaid? Building our new show!

 

Rehearsals are now underway for our newest production Stella, Queen of the Snow.  Here’s a little video that shows what we’ve been up to to get it ready!

Images recorded and video created by Jason Tucker
Music by Steven Naylor
(from the Mermaid productions “The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites” and “Treasured Stories by Eric Carle.”)

The “Stella” Team:
Director/Production Designer: Jim Morrow
Composer: Steven Naylor
Narrator: Marie-Louise Gay
Video Design: Nick Bottomley
Associate Designers: Deborah MacLean, Struan Robertson
Premiere Stage Manager: Christine Oakey
Premiere Performers: John Allen MacLean, Sarah Jean Begin

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia Staff
Artistic Director: Jim Morrow
Managing Director: Sara Lee Lewis
General Manager: Lisa Gleave
Artistic Advisor for Music and Sound Design: Steven Naylor
Administrator: Cathy White
Office & Tour Coordinator: Jason Tucker
Production Manager: Deborah MacLean
Production Associate: Struan Robertson
Technical Director: Michael Jamieson
Youtheatre Coordinator: Kaleigh Heide
Scenic Painter: Sarah Haydon Roy
Seamstress: Sarah Harvey Hart
Production Assistant: Isaac Chaytor
Fabric Artist: Holly Carr

Stella and Sam Books are published in English by Groundwood Books and in French by Dominique et Compagnie. For further details about the books please see http://www.marielouisegay.com. Text and Illustration © Marie-Louise Gay.

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!