Editor’s Note: Logan Robins is the president of the Dalhousie Theatre Society.
As the chill of autumn sweeps into Halifax, students and Haligonians will flock into coffee shops for pumpkin spice lattes to warm their hands and into theatres for something else to warm their hearts.
From exciting concerts to groundbreaking new plays, and a few holiday traditions, this theatrical season in Halifax is one not to be missed.
Neptune’s “Season of Love” begins
Under the new leadership of artistic director Jeremy Webb, Neptune Theatre is alight with its “Season of Love.”
The season is opening with Lee Hall’s adaptation of Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard’s classic film Shakespeare in Love. Featuring a talented cast including recent Dalhousie theatre graduates Nathan Simmons, Kya Mosey, Adrian Choong, and Lisa Corey. The play promises comedy, love, and “a bit with a dog.” Shakespeare in Love, directed by Jeremy Webb himself, is running now through Oct. 7.
Hockey fans can enjoy the theatre this season too from, Oct. 16 to Nov. 4, Playing With Fire: The Leo Fleury Story, directed by Ron Jenkins will hit the Neptune Stage. This is a play based on a real-life hero in the hockey world that Neptune has advertised as “a top-scoring theatrical tour-de-force” that will be performed — on real ice — on the Fountain Hall stage.
From Oct. 23 to Nov. 11 the world premiere of a groundbreaking new musical, KAMP will be presented on the Neptune Scotiabank stage. With the book written by Jamie Bradley and music and lyrics by Garry Williams – two Halifax artists – this show tells a darkly comedic story of gay men interred in a Nazi concentration camp who despite their conditions, create a secret cabaret to help them hold on to their humanity and sanity. Directed by Sam Rosenthal and “based on historic truths and inspired by actual events and people,” Eastern Front Theatre and Neptune’s co-production of KAMP should not be missed.
From Nov. 27 to Jan. 5, Neptune will be presenting Cinderella, a “new musical comedy” written and directed by Jeremy Webb. A new take on a classic, the show will feature lots of laughs and up to date pop songs. “Jeremy Webb brings the hilarious tradition of the Great British Holiday Extravaganza to Neptune’s Fountain Hall stage in the ultimate family show for the holidays,” Neptune’s website boasts.
For students on a budget, Neptune offers “student rush” tickets and their “Pay What You Can” nights to make sure you don’t miss any of these incredible productions.
Drama on campus this fall
Closer to home, a lot of exciting concerts and theatre performances are happening in the Rebecca Cohn auditorium in the Dalhousie Arts Centre this fall.
From Oct. 9 to 13 the Fountain School of Performing Arts (FSPA) opens their theatrical season with Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings in Studio 1, directed by Samantha Wilson. Based upon lesser-known fairytales, this play uses sets, costumes, music and lights to delve into what scares us as children, and why we are afraid of the basement at night.
From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 the FSPA theatre majors will be emerging from the fiery depths of hell into Dante’s Purgatorio, a new epic play by Patrick Baliani that uses the Divine Comedy as inspiration for a ferocious and evocative play that sees Dante and Virgil ascend through the seven levels of purgatory in search of paradise. Directed by Fountain School staple Margot Dionne and set in the sprawling James Dunn Theatre, this emotional play is sure to be a spectacle.
Also, not to be missed in the Rebecca Cohn theatre is Symphony Nova Scotia’s Superheroes and Sci-fi (Oct. 27 and 28), their Gordon Lightfoot Tribute performances (Nov. 2 to 4), and the classic of The Nutcracker (Dec. 7 to 16).
Tickets for all Rebecca Cohn/FSPA shows are available online.
Halifax’s independent and accessible theatre scene
Make sure to also keep your eye out for some smaller more independent theatre ventures this fall. Many will offer student/under-waged pricing on tickets to make theatre accessible. Not to be missed are:
Hello City, a local improv comedy group who perform monthly at The Bus Stop Theatre, taking prompts from the audience and providing never-ending laughs.
Matchstick Theatre, who will be putting on John Mighton’s, The Little Years from Oct. 11 to 14 at the Bus Stop Theatre.
The Villain’s Theatre, whose production of William Rowley & Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling: Chimes of Bedlam, adapted by Dan Bray and directed by Dorian Lang, goes from Nov. 21 to 25.
The Dalhousie Theatre Society, November-January will be putting on the world premiere of Objects: written and directed by Sophie Jacome, Doctor Faustus: written by Christopher Marlowe & directed by Derek Birkbeck, and Arcadia: written by Tom Stoppard & directed by Lucia Dodaro. Dates and venues for these performances have yet to be announced.