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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Strength of a Woman

In the 2nd of our back-to-back interviews with cast members of Robert Chafe’s Tempting Providence – currently running until May 6 at the Neptune Studio Theatre in Halifax – Deidre Gillard-Rowlings (who plays the lead role of Nurse Myra Grimsley Bennett) speaks about her professional past and present.
What inspired you to start acting? My family inspired me to become an actor really. My grandparents operated a movie theatre on The Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and so from a young age I was watching movies on the big screen in our own theatre. The stories and the actors enthralled me. When I graduated from high school there was no other option in my mind as to what I wanted to pursue as a career.My family is full of fun and has always loved a good story however it is told and they passed that love on to me. They all are natural story tellers and I guess gave me the push the confidence and most importantly the support to pursue a career on the stage.
Are they the same reasons that you …

Knowing His Role

As one of four actors performing in Neptune Theatre’s minimalist production of Robert Chafe’s Tempting Providence, Robert Wyatt Thorne has learned to do more with less on stage. Recently the Newfoundland-born thespian spoke with AE about his personal and professional life.
What inspired you to start acting? When I was in Grade 10 I followed an older more attractive girl into the school library, turns out she was going to a drama club meeting. So I decided to stick around and see what it was all about. I was in 4 shows that year and continued on with it next year as well; once I finished high school I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. Then I made my choice to go to theatre school at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, in Corner Brook, NL.

Are they the same reasons that you do it today? Somewhat of the same reasons. I still can’t picture myself doing anything else at the moment - if I could I would probably be off doing them.

What are the biggest challenges of the profession? I would h…

A Good Hand!

Tempting Providence
Neptune Studio Theatre, Halifax April 26, 2012
A moment of silence spoke volumes during last night’s premier of Robert Chafe’s Tempting Providence at Neptune Studio Theatre in Halifax.
Courting newly-transplanted nurse Myra Grimsley, the young Angus Bennett comically declares “This is where a person comes to break a few habits, and make a few new ones…”
In the ensuing stillness, Grimsley - now thousands of miles from her native England – gazes out over the audience, acknowledging her fate. As the reality of being swept upon the shores of a distant Newfoundland outport sinks in, a steely resolve takes root, and the caretaker embraces her destiny with whole heart.
The post-World War I culture-clash tells only one side of the story, however, as the character and dialogue-driven performance explores deeper themes of love, loyalty, integrity, identity, humility and courage.
“Well, one must always be of some good use,” shares Grimsley aloud, setting the tempo and tone for the t…

ViewFinders Film Festival Winners Announced!

The 11th annual ViewFinders: International Film Festival for Youth, a week-long festival of film, video and media for youth, have announced its award-winners for the event that took place in HRM, April 15-21. ViewFinders Film Challenge Award Winners, Youth Made Films:
Green Screen Challenge: First Prize ($500)
Sponsored by Efficiency Nova Scotia
PBP: Plastic Bag Production, Bethany Boutilier, Paige Mary Rose Jenkins, Whitney Minick - West Northfield, NS

Green Screen Challenge: Second Prize ($250)
Sponsored by Efficiency Nova Scotia
Trashy the Trashman, Stewiacke Teen Group: Sean Davenport, Hannah Sinclair, Alex Kaminski, Patrick Wells - Stewiake, NS

Green Screen Challenge: Third Prize ($100)
Sponsored by Efficiency Nova Scotia
Our Life on the Rez, Madison Nicholas, Makayla Francis, Destiny Francis, Liz Francis - Pictou Landing, NS

NBCUniversal Film Challenge: Animation Prize ($250)
Sponsored by NBCUniversal
Recipe for Love, Gwyneth Christofel - Halifax, NS

NBCUniversal Film Challenge: …

Man About Town

A veteran of the stage, actor Ian Simpson makes his Neptune Theatre debut as Georges – the dashing, man-about-town and co-owner of La Cage aux Folles in Neptune Theatre’s current production of the same name. Recently AE spoke with the thespian about his profession and the frisky French farce.
What inspired you to start acting? I grew up on a farm in Ontario. I dreamed of an exciting "other world" beyond my life on the farm and wanted to tell these stories. I would re-enact what I would see in the movies for my family in our living room.
Are they the same reasons that you do it today? Funny enough, yes. I still love to tell stories especially something as relevant as La Cage aux Folles. And as an added note - I recently moved back to my farm house in Ontario.
What are the biggest challenges of the profession? Actors don't have jobs for life - it is contract work. We are always looking for the next job but if you're passionate about what you do you will continue to persever…


For as long as she can remember, music has been a part of Shauntay Grant’s life; Sunday mornings immersed in gospel tunes, hours devoted to the piano and cello, arranging pieces for her high school’s productions and singing in, even conducting, various choirs made up the soundtrack of Grant’s youth.
The power of words has also been a passion for Grant. As an adult, she served as Halifax’s Poet Laureate (2009-2010) and authored award-winning children’s books. She continues to host CBC Radio’s “All The Best” and wows international audiences with her spoken word.
“Words and music have always been central to my life,” shared Grant. “As an artist, I don't really differentiate between my artistic practices -- my songs are my poems, and vice versa”. Her dual absorption gave rise to WordRhythm Productions – a collaboration between musicians and spoken word artists who perform, lead creative workshops and host social justice events.
Each WordRhythm show offers something fresh. “At the Halif…

Funny, Frisky, Flamboyant ~ it has to be 'Folles'!

Neptune Theatre in Halifax brings its 2011-2012 season to a close with La Cage aux Folles, Harvey Fierstein's classic, campy account of two aging lovers and their cheeky-chic nightclub.
While most are likely more familiar with the mega-award winning French farce's anglicized film adaptation, The Birdcage (Nathan Lane & Robin Williams), the original version is better in its nuance and subtleties.

That said, this is 'Cage' - outlandish, outrageous, over-the-top burlesque at its very best. Stylish and sexy, the Can-Can Chorus alone is enought to give status-quo Nova Scotians a stiff, swift - and much-needed - kick in the pants.

A 'Titz & Glitz' opening number sets the stage for the two-hour-plus soiree of music, dance, slapstick and sentiment.

Making his Neptune debut, Ian Simpson is sure and strong as George, the dashing, well-dressed man-about-town and partner of Albin - performed above-and-beyond by Steven Gallagher - the dramatic, darling drag queen an…

Studio Sarah

Sarah Nicholson doesn’t see her paint-your-own pottery studio as a place for the elite artist – someone who is already acquainted with techniques and formal artistic training. She understands Studio Sarah to be a place where anyone can come and have a good time, creating their own, unique artwork.
Studio Sarah advertises “fun art, not fine art”, trying to abolish the barrier that many adults approach art with. “People, well really only adults, are often terrified. They come in with the feeling that they are not creative and have no artistic talent.” Nicholson’s studio provides a nonthreatening environment where people can challenge that assumption.
“I have one client that was a bundle of nerves the first time she painted”, recounts Nicholson, “She needed constant reassurance. Now she is planning to do a whole dinner set of hand-painted dishes and serving pieces.” Studio Sarah provided the safe space that individual needed to begin her exploration.
During a “wine and stein” event where l…

It’s Murder in the Wings!

From April 19th to May 5th, Bedford Players presents “It’s Murder in the Wings,” a homicidal mystery filled with comedic relief. Arts East spoke with the play’s director Kim Shaw and actor Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons. Kim Shaw
AE: How long have you been a member of Bedford Players, and what roles have you played? KS: I began volunteering in theatre when my daughter joined Unicorn Theatre at age 7, in 1995. Over the years I learned many aspects of theatrical production including costumes, props, stage management, directing, technical, set design, programs and publicity. I also served as chair on the board of directors. After a short break when my daughter went off to university, I found I needed to return to the theatre. I produced and directed the musical “Willy Wonka” at an elementary school. I was ASM and Props Mistress with TAG before joining Bedford Players as a Front of House volunteer for “Busybody” in the fall of 2010. Fortunately for me, Bedford Players has allowed me to jump in wi…

Heart & Soul...

“I want my old age to be more than playing bridge,” states Jesse Robson. I commiserate with her. Don’t we all want more than that? Don’t we want to continue with drama and painting, writing and dancing?
Unfortunately our society seems to advance stereotypes of older adults as “items” to be warehoused- locked away in nursing homes or other seniors’ facilities. Robson explains, “I think that our society values disposability over longevity.” Thinking of how most people would rather just buy a shiny new computer than take the time to remodel their old computer, she may be on to something. She continues, “I think that seniors are often seen as ‘yesterday’s news’ – worn out entities that ought to be replaced by newer, up-and-coming models.”
Robson, 24, initiated Heart & Soul Summer Arts Camp. It is a weekly program directed towards older seniors, including those with mobility or psychological impairments. She wants to demonstrate that getting older does not need to mean being closed to ne…

Binnie Brennan Book Launch!

Nova Scotia author Binnie Brennan launches her latest work, a stirring selection of short stories called A Certain Grace, today at 4pm at The Company House in Halifax. Recently she took our Proust Questionnaire.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Finally getting a toe-hold on a new story, only to run out of ink.
Where would you like to live? Where I live now – in Halifax.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Sitting on a sun-warmed rock on the coastal trail near Duncan’s Cove, listening to the seals making their unseemly racket.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent? My tendency to stare out the window and disappear for awhile.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Charlie Bucket
Who are your favorite characters in history? Helen Keller; Elizabeth Bishop; Buster Keaton.
Who are your favorite heroines in real life? My mum and my daughter.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Morag Gunn; Pippi Longstocking.
Your favorite painter? My mum (Mary Lou Payzant).
Your favorite mus…

“Acoustic Junkie”

Campbellton, New Brunswick’s Melissa Girvan will be showcasing her unique style and sound this weekend in Moncton as part of the East Coast Music Awards. Recently AE spoke with the young singer/songwriter about her passion and profession.
What inspired you to start writing songs? I've always had an interest in writing poetry and singing, well, that was a passion... I wasn't very good at it growing up, but I loved the way it made me feel. When I finally learned how to play guitar, I had my outlet and that's it. I couldn't stop. And with anything else, you put the time in it and practice, you get better. People started to show a real interest and it drove me to keep at it. Thanks People :)
Are they the same reasons that you still do it today? Definitely...When I am in my "mode" I like to call it "My Self-Therapeutic" session. If it wasn't for music, I think I would be all sorts of screwed up
Who were/are your musical influences? I remember when I was 14…


Produced by the Atlantic Film Festival, the 11th annual ViewFinders: International Film Festival for Youth - a week-long festival of film, video and media for youth in greater HRM - presents three Gala screenings for the event, April 15 – 21.
Festival screenings kick off on Sunday, April 15th at 6 p.m. at Empire 8 Park Lane with the Opening Gala film, Undefeated (2011). Winner of the 2012 Academy Award in the Documentary Feature category, this inspiring documentary film, set in inner-city Memphis, chronicles the 2009 season of the severely underfunded and underprivileged Manassas Tigers as they try to make the playoffs for the first time in the high school’s 110-year history. Focusing more on creating winning young men than winning football games, coach Bill Courtney has fielded a team that seems poised to reverse its fortune and finally end the playoff jinx. 
In advance of the screening, attendees can participate in the Pre-Opening Gala Popcorn Party at 5:00 p.m. at Empire 8 Park Lane.…

Behind the ECMAs – Part 2

The East Coast Music Awards kicked-off in Moncton, NB last night. In the first of a two-part interview, ECMA executive director Su Hutchinson opens up about herself and the annual gathering.

ECMA Week (which includes conference)SH: So we call it “ECMA Week” (“ECMA Week 2012” is in Moncton). The awards are just one part of what we do. We actually do an entire week of programming, which is showcasing, it’s the business meetings, conference sessions…and then it all ends on the Sunday night with the awards show. But, we’re actually the “East Coast Music Association” so there’s a lot more going on than just the awards. But 24 years ago that’s how it started [with mainly the awards] with people getting together saying, “let’s celebrate our industry”, and rightfully so. And it has become now one of the more significant music industry events in Canada. If you click on the ECMA 2012 schedule, you can see exactly the kind of sessions we offer there, all the showcasing and we have about 600 artis…