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Showing posts from January, 2015

What a Young Wife Ought to Know

Set in 1920s Canada, What a Young Wife Ought to Know tells the story of Sophie, a young working-class wife who has a lot to learn about love, sex, and birth control. Recently we spoke with award-winning playwright Hannah Moscovitch about the production, which begins tonight and runs through February 8 at Neptune Theatre in Halifax.
What made you want to become a playwright? I went to National Theatre School in the Acting Program and I liked the playwriting classes more than I liked the acting classes. I was crappy at the acting classes and enthusiastic about the playwriting ones.  When I was eighteen, I wanted to be an actor because I liked the texts of plays so much that I wanted to say them out loud. But that’s not what it is to be an actor. Actors inhabit character - they don’t say text out loud. I think all along I wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t understand that about myself. Then once I was immersed in the theatre world, I started to write plays because it’s what I knew. 
Are t…


Featuring: Maureen Batt (soprano) & Cheryl Duvall (piano) Saturday, January 24, 2015 St. Andrew’s Church, Halifax

Rather than Maureen Batt choosing her professional passion, it seems like it has chosen her. And luckily her body, mind and spirit have listened. Though no doubt she has devoted hours and years of sweat and drive to hone her lifework, she performing seems as natural an expression as breathing or blinking.
Saturday night was a very “dark and dreary” one in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While many may have decided to hide under warm blankets rather than venture out in the pounding rains, those fortunate to have found warmth inside St. Andrew’s Church were treated to a very special recital.
Soprano Maureen Batt and pianist Cheryl Duvall presented a wide array of pieces from North American composers, established and emerging, written between 1989 and 2014. Some songs were contemplative, others funny, some so traumatic—in theme, not presentation—they moistened the eyes.
Batt exemplified…

Maureen Batt

It’s a homecoming of sorts for soprano MaureenBatt tomorrow night at St. Andrew’s United Church in Halifax. The concert, titled Crossing Borders, features a wide range of contemporary musical styles, including expressions of pop culture phenomena, nostalgia, and North American beauty. Recently we spoke with the Dalhousie University graduate her about what audiences can expect.
What are your own roots? I’m from Fredericton, NB. My paternal background is English and Canadian; my maternal background is Irish-Canadian.
When and why did you start performing music? My sister and brother and I all started piano lessons when we were young—I was in grade two. In grade five, I started violin lessons on my mother’s childhood violin. I played in orchestras and went to fiddling camps (I wish I could still fiddle!). In grade six, I joined the Fredericton School Girls Choir. By grade seven I also wanted to join the concert and jazz bands, so I started playing saxophone. In grade nine, I started private …

[Shivering] Songwriters Intensive

Shivering Songs, an annual music fest organized by indie folksters The Olympic Symphonium and their pals, takes place January 22-25 in Fredericton. This year’s line-up includes such artists as Buck 65, Amelia Curran, Alan Jeffries, NUAGES and Sentimentals, and even recent Giller Prize winner, Sean Michaels!

On Saturday and Sunday during the festival (January 24 & 25) the Charlotte Street Arts Centre—which is celebrating its 10th anniversary—will be hosting a Songwriting Intensive, where 12 musicians from across New Brunswick will work their creative process with Canada’s legendary root rockers, Skydiggers.
The public can hear their results and learn more about songwriting from Skydiggers at the Intensive Showcase, which will be held at Charlotte Street on Sunday January 25 at 5pm (admission by donation).

The Charlotte Street Arts Centre’s program coordinator, Kaylee Stevens tells us more:
How excited are you about Skydiggers coming to Fredericton to lead the Songwriting Intensive? KS:


Cultural migration is at the heart of this exquisite dance and music work by Indo-Armenian dancer/ choreographer, Roger Sinha, and Iranian-born musician/composer, Kiya Tabassian. Bearing strong roots to their heritage, yet deeply influenced by North American and Quebec cultures, these two remarkable artists and their superb cast of dancers and musicians have crafted a universal quest for identity that resonates with spirited joy. Recently AE spoke with Sinha about the show, which begins tonight at the Sir James Dun Theatre in Halifax.
When and why did you first become interested in dance? I am a child of the seventies and would go out sometime 4 night a week disco dancing, honestly I guess there, but professional dancing, I was so impressed by the films in the early 80’s All That Jazz and the Chorus Line, at first I wanted to be a jazz dancer

Are they the same reasons that you continue to be involved today? Not at all, I went from jazz to ballet then to modern, today I am in dance because…

A Good Death

Going beyond illness and legalities, A Good Deathexamines the ethical, social, practical and emotional challenges to autonomy in dying as one woman, and those closest to her, grapple with the realities of taking control and letting go at the end of life. Recently we spoke with playwright Kim Parkhill about the work, which is being staged by DaPoPo Theatre at the Neptune Studio Theatre in Halifax this week.
What are your own roots?
Good question! Which roots? Geographically-speaking, I grew up in a small community in central New Brunswick. I had a complicated relationship with my rural roots, but I am who I am because of where I have been, what I have done and who I have encountered, and frankly, I'm not sure I'd mess with much of it. My first words on stage, first stories told, first songs sung all happened in my hometown because it was ultimately a nurturing, generous place for me.  The years of experiencing since then have been additive. Artistically, my roots are in very tra…


This week, Halifax’s Up The Hill Theatre Productions present a fascinatingly challenging - and hilariously ambitious - race-against-the-clock attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. Recently we spoke with Andrew Chandler of the ensemble about what audiences can expect.
What are your own roots? I grew up in Waverley, studied percussion at Mt. Allison in New Brunswick, then studied musical theatre performance at Sheridan Institute in Oakville, Ontario.  I lived in Toronto for about 6 years before moving back to Halifax, where I’ve been making a living as an actor ever since.  
How long have you been involved in theatre, and in what capacity? I was pretty shy growing up, so was more of a music guy growing up, but while in university, playing in the pit band for the school musical, I found myself thinking the actors were having a lot more fun than I was.  I auditioned the following year, and got to sing a song in “Anything Goes”.  It’s been about 15 years since I’ve really started acting, …

Open Waters

This Friday and Saturday (January 9 and 10) two venues in Halifax will be hosting a series of concerts and collaborations representing various forms of new and improvised music. It is the Open Waters Festival, presented by the Upstream Music Association. Paul Cram, Upstream’s artistic director, talks about the festival’s recent and “roaring nineties" past, as well as his own roaring musical roots; he also shares some highlights for this festival weekend.

What are your own roots? PC: When I was  7 years old I saw the Benny Goodman Movie, took up the clarinet and joined the Kiwanis Community Band in Vancouver led by the man who played the trumpet  at Isy’s Nightclub. Live music was ingrained early on  because the laws allowed my Dad to take me to Isy’s where I heard Cannonball Adderley 10 feet away from us.
This was repeated with more close up shows of The  Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington Big Bands, improvising artists like Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Elvin Jones before discovering  John C…