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Summer theatre sizzles in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia summer theatres are full of passion and politics this summer with the premieres of Nothing Less! about women suffragists in Nova Scotia and Pugwash about the Thinkers Lodge to relationship comedies I Do! I Do!, Stage Kiss and All's Well That Ends Well. This is your summer theatre guide.
Photo 5 - Stan Rogers AMOH
The cast of Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart live it up in this Geordie Brown production of the popular show at Neptune's Scotiabank Stage, July 20 (previews July 19) to Sept. 3.

Cape Breton Summertime Revue: The Next Generation: Maynard Morrison directs Jordan Musycsyn, Jenn Sheppard, Margaret MacPherson, Peter McInnis and Stephanie Hennessey with Coig band members Rachel Davis and Darren McMullin, band leaders Stephen Muise and Fred Lavery, Revue band members Brian Talbot and Allie Bennett, a Savoy Theatre/Brookes Diamond production, Aug. 2, 3, 16, 17, 7 p.m., Savoy Theatre, Glace Bay; Aug. 8, de Coste Centre, Pictou; Aug. 9, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax.

SEE ALSO: Passion and politics on stage

Chester Playhouse Summer Theatre Festival:

The 39 Steps, award-winning comedy thriller with four actors in 130 roles in 100 minutes, directed by Mary Lou Martin, starring Allister MacDonald, Kyle Gillis, Ryanne Chisholm and Kelin Boyd, July 12-15, 18-22, 8 p.m.; July 15 and 22, 2 p.m.

Who Killed Spalding Grey, by writer-performer Daniel MacIvor, directed by Daniel Brooks, a solo show about truth and lies and life, July 26-29, 8 p.m.; July 29, 2 p.m.

I'm Your Man – Songs of Leonard Cohen, conceived by and starring Cliff LeJeune with Lisa St. Clair and the Blue Engine String Quarter, directed by Mary Lou Martin, Aug. 2-5, 10-12, 8 p.m.; Aug. 5 and 12, 2 p.m.

Robin Hood, Summer Theatre School production of the irreverent Shakespeare by the Sea musical, directed by Cynthia Myers, Aug. 16-19, 7 p.m.; Aug. 19, 2 p.m.

Cliff LejueneCliff LeJeune stars in I'm Your Man - Songs of Leonard Cohen at the Chester Playhouse in August. 

Lisa Brokop – The Legendary Ladies of Country, Aug. 20, 8 p.m.

Bring the Piano, by writer-performer and Second City alumnus Randy Vancourt, a one-man musical comedy about the travails of a travelling musician, Aug. 23-26, 8 p.m.; Aug. 26, 2 p.m.

Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre:

July 13 to Aug. 26, Bauer Theatre, St. FX University

Company: Francine Deschepper, Sansom Marchand, Christian Murray, Jennifer Roberts, Hugh Thompson, Naomi Vogt and Jeremy Webb


The Hound of the Baskervilles,a spoof on Sir Arhur Conan Doyle's story with three actors in 17 parts, directed by Andrea Boyd, July 13-Aug. 26 (previews July 12).

Kingfisher Days, by Susan Coyne, directed by Mary Vingoe, the story of a poignant friendship between a child, a fairy princess and an elderly neighbour, July 20-Aug. 26 (previews July 19).

Actor WebbJeremy Webb stars in both The Hound of the Baskervilles and Stage Kiss at Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre  at the Bauer Theatre, July 13 to Aug.26. 

Stage Kiss, by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Andrea Boyd, a seven-actor romantic comedy with two plays within a play, Aug. 10-25 (previews Aug. 9)

Family Stage

Martha, by Andy Manley, Gill Robertson and Annie Wood, directed by Richie Wilcox, a Scottish story about friendship, July 26 to Aug. 5 (previews July 25)

New this year are Pay-What-You-Can previews and a “relaxed” performance of The Hound of the Baskervilles on July 15 for anyone challenged by the quiet, the dark and sometimes high volume of theatres. 

Halifax Fringe Festival (formerly Atlantic Fringe Festival):

The festival marks its 27th year in downtown Halifax, Aug. 31 to Sept. 10, with a new name. A partial list of performers and shows is already available online (

Highland Arts Theatre (The Hat), Sydney:

Running in repertory:

Marion Bridge, by Daniel MacIvor, directed by Todd Hiscock, the much-loved tale of three sisters reuniting to care for their ill mother and confront each other, starring Lindsay Mae Thompson, Jenna Lahey and Bonnie MacLeod, July 6-Aug. 10.

Tribe of One, Nova Scotia playwright Michael McPhee's dystopian love story, winner of the 2015 Merritt Award for outstanding new play, directed by Tayves Fiddis, July 7 -Aug. 11.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Tony Award-winning musical comedy, directed by Ron Jenkins, July 8 to Aug. 12

Other shows: Blame Canada!, A Celebration of Canadian musical theatre, Aug. 1; , The Olate Dogs (Rescue Tour), winner of America's Got Talent, Aug. 21 (also coming to Halifax's Spatz Theatre, Aug. 18, and Mabou, Aug. 20); Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea, Aug 22; CHIAROSCURO, a full-length dance production benefiting Cape Breton Dance Studios, Aug. 28-30, and S'Wonderful, The Music of George Gershwin, Aug. 31.

KAZAN Co-op, Halifax: The Immaculate Miss Conception, aka Kevin Levesque, in a show of many celebrity characters with a tribute to The Dumbells first World War performance group, June 30, July 1, July 2, 7:30 p.m. The Waiting Room, 6040 Almon St., ( or cash at the door).

Neptune Theatre, Halifax:
Scotiabank Stage
Geordie Brown's production of Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart, a ceilidh-style celebration of a Canadian musical legend with songs including Barrett's Privateers, Northwest Passage and The Mary Ellen Carter, starring Brown, Maria Campbell, Julien Kitson, Celia Koughan, Adrian Zeyl, Karen Lizotte, Adam LeBlanc, Andrew Murray and Lucas Popowich, July 20 (previews July 19) to Sept. 3. 
Due to construction Neptune's main box office and entrance have been moved from the corner of Argyle and Sackville Street to further down Argyle to the Scotiabank studio theatre entrance. 

Prismatic Arts Festival, Halifax:

Sept. 14-23

The eighth annual culturally diverse, multi-arts festival has yet to announce its lineup. The festival features performances in theatre, dance, music, spoken word, visual arts and media arts by artists from across Canada.\


9th annual Queer Acts Theatre Festival, Halifax:

July 13-16, Bus Stop Theatre, The Marquee

izadIranian-born writer-performer Izad Etemadi (Love With Leila) brings his new show, Kooni, to the 9th annual Queer Acts Theatre Festival in Halifax fron July 13 to July 16

King of Berlin, Doppler Effect's production of Kristin Slaney's Second World War era play about a former Weimar cabaret performer taking on a real-life male identity to protect her lover Margot.

No Treats, writer-performer Aisha Zaman's about a Pakistani Muslim teen coming out to her parents.

The Queer Ages of Hugo Dann, by Halifax writer-performer Hugo Dann with Rosemary Gilbert, about queer theatre artist and activist's life from 1966 to today.

Breakfast, by writers and performers Adam Myatt and Nolan Natasha, a “comedy about waiting, often for the wrong reasons”

Kooni, by writer-performer Izad Etemadi (Love With Leila), an Iranian-born artist raised in Victoria, B.C., about the flight from Iran of homosexuals or “koonis.”

Emerging Queer Artists Double-Bill; fried, by Mi'kmaw and black artist Jade Bayer Peek, and Aquarius from Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Emerging Creators Unit (ECU), (tickets at


Shakespeare by the Sea

July 1-Aug. 4

Outdoor evening shows at Point Pleasant Park and indoor matinees at Park Place Theatre, Halifax:

The acting company includes: Jasmine Shenandoah Ashfield, Adrian Choong, Jade Douris, Dan Gervais, Jeremy Hutton, James MacLean, Drew O'Hara, Shanoa Phillips, Jack Quail, Peter Sarty, Tom Gordon Smith, Madeleine Tench, Katherine Tufts and actor-composer Garry Williams.

Peter Pan, all-new musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale about the boy who never grew up, directed by Jesse MacLean, with music by Williams, opening July 1.

All's Well That Ends Well, directed by Elizabeth Murphy, about Helena's efforts to do whatever she can to hang onto Bertram, opening July 7.

Julius Caesar, directed Jesse MacLean as an exploration of the nature of honour, patriotism and resistance, opening Aug. 4.

Transport is available for those with mobility issues to Cambridge Battery (to book call 902-422-0295 a day in advance). Reserved Sweet Seats are available for all performances; chairs and blankets may be rented for $2 each.

shipsShip's Company Theatre's first play, July 5 to 30, is Vern Thiessen's Pugwash, about Cyrus Eaton and the famous Pugwash conferences. Pictured are (rear) Stephen Cross as Cyrus Eaton, Ian Leung, Karen Bassett, (rear) Henricus Gielis, Gina Thornhill and Theo Pitsiavas.  (Natasha MacLellan)

Ship's Company Theatre, Parrsboro:

Pugwash, by Vern Thiessen, a fictional story based on true events that explore the local impact and global legacy of the Pugwash Conferences on their 60th anniversary. Natasha MacLellan directs Stephen Cross (Cyrus Eaton), Karen Bassett, Ian Leung, Theo Pitsiavas, Gina Thornhill and Henricus Gielis, July 5-30.

The Mystery Play, by Josh MacDonald, the return of Parrsboro's flinty, crime-solving nun Vivian Salter (Mary-Colin Chisholm) in a new mystery, directed by Natasha MacLellan, with Don Allison, Micha Cromwell and Henricus Gielis, Aug. 9-Sept. 3

New Waterford Boy, Richie Wilcox, Cape Breton storytelling and song, a Heist Production, Aug. 2 and 3.

Red Fish, a play for youth about fighting depression, by Rachel Hastings and Taylor Olson with James MacLean, Sept. 20-23 (a Halifax Theatre for Young People production). Sept. 20-23

Concert series: Jenn Grant, July 10; Carson Downey, July 17; Port Cities, July 24; Ryan Willigar, Aug. 14; Fiddles & Feet, Aug. 21; Laura Smith, Aug. 28.

Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, outdoor theatre at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, near Canning:

This year's company: Burgandy Code, Graham Percy, Jamie Konchak, Jeff Schwager, Chris O’Neill, Ryan Rogerson, Stephanie MacDonald, Andrea Lee-Norwood, Devin MacKinnon, Victoria Houser and Riel Reddick-Stevens.

Nothing Less!, by Ami McKay and Ken Schwartz, a new musical drama about a group of Nova Scotian rural suffragists fighting for the vote in the spring of 1918, 6 p.m.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Fire, performed around a roaring fire, 9 p.m.

Previews beginning July 4, opening is July 8, closing Aug,. 19.

There is a series of pre-and post-show conversations with historians and artists throughout the summer along with a Pay-What-You-Can show and a Halifax shuttle.

Valley Summer Theatre:

Al Whittle Theatre, Wolfville.

I Do! I Do!, the popular musical following a couple through over 50 years of wedded bliss (or not) based on Jan de Hartog's Tony Award-winning play The Fourposter, directed by Pamela Halstead with Amy Reitsma and Ian Gilmore, July 14-Aug. 6 (previews July 13). .
Trudeau Stories, writer-performer Brooke Johnson's play about her unlikely friendship as a young Montreal theatre student with Pierre Elliott Trudeau, directed by Allyson McMackin, Aug. 10 to 13.


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