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Northern Light Theatre Returns with New Season

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Northern Light Theatre returns in 2021/2022 with three premieres of plays by Edmonton and American playwrights.

Northern Light Theatre Returns with New Season

Northern Light Theatre returns in 2021/2022 with three premieres of plays by Edmonton and American Playwrights, all directed by Artistic Director Trevor Schmidt, including his own new musical in collaboration with Kaeley Jade Wiebe. The season is titled Burning It Down. Admitting Defeat. And Starting Over. - three meditations on existentialism, artistry, failure, and resilience of the human spirit to recover and try again.


"This next season is formed generally by the plight of people, and specifically by the plight of artists, who have had their immediate plans halted by the pandemic and are struggling with the loss of a sense of purpose and function," says Artistic Director Trevor Schmidt. "We intend to acknowledge this suffering head-on in three affirming works depicting struggle, resilience, and hopefully rising again after difficult circumstances."

In a shift, NLT will present their plays in both the Varscona Theatre and ATB Financial Arts Barns this season. Following the run of their first production, The Great Whorehouse Fire of 1921, a streaming version will be available for viewers locally, nationally, and internationally.

Season Tickets are now available at last season's price for a limited time. Single tickets will be available in October, 2021. Pricing information below.

THE GREAT WHOREHOUSE FIRE OF 1921

Professional Premiere of a New Work
by Edmonton Playwright Linda Wood Edward
November 19 to 28, 2021
Varscona Theatre

From the December 29, 1921 Big Valley News:
"Big Blaze near Big Valley. A house occupied and owned by a woman named Hastings who was living a mile and a half north of town was totally destroyed by fire at 4:30am on Monday morning. The cause of the fire is unknown. The occupants had a very narrow escape, as when they awoke the house was full of smoke and fire. Nothing was saved and the loss is estimated at $4,000. [about $50,000 in contemporary funds]. The Hastings woman and another person who was staying with her had to walk into town clad only in night attire with blankets over them, and had a terrible time from cold and exposure. The police are investigating the affair."

There was no investigation, and no charges were laid. Hastings disappears from annals of Big Valley, Alberta, passed down now only in local history - memories of a group of townswomen who banded together to defend their families by burning a local brothel to the ground.

Linda Wood Edward's play imagines the events as they played out. Moving beyond the stereotypes, the play will look at the uneasy intertwining of prostitution and "proper" society, and the ways that women support and sabotage one another. This historical drama is laced with horror, humour, and heart.

THE HUNCHBACK VARIATIONS

Professional Canadian Premiere
by American Playwright Mickle Maher
January 14 to 29, 2022
ATB Arts Barns

Punctuating a scene in The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov wrote: "Suddenly a distant sound is heard, coming as if out of the sky, like the sound of a string snapping, slowly and sadly dying away."

That one sentence -- one of the greatest stage directions in western theatre -- has baffled sound designers for over a century.

In this funny, moving, but frustrating work, Mickle Maher has developed an absurdist conceit: to pair two of the most famous deaf artists in history, Ludwig van Beethoven and the fictional bell ringer of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, in a comically doomed attempt to create Chekov's famous sound effect. Playing out over 11 scenes, or "variations," the story details the duo's collaboration - one doomed by their mutual deafness, their unpleasant working conditions, and the fact that Beethoven has not yet finished reading The Cherry Orchard.

THE HUNCHBACK VARIATIONS is a moving meditation on collaboration and the creative process and a deft deconstruction of the nature of music, sound, and performance.

TWO-HEADED/HALF-HEARTED

A Commission of a New Work and World Premiere of a Musical
by Edmonton Playwrights Kaeley Jade Wiebe and Trevor Schmidt
April 22 to May 7, 2022
ATB Financial Arts Barns

"Two heads close together
As if in deep thought
arms wrapped together
As if in one knot
A two-headed calf had been born the last spring
And died before summer could bloom
The village had feared it and hit it with stones
So his daughters were kept in their room"

A musical song cycle details the birth, lives and death of Juno and Venus Hollis, conjoined twins and daughters of Jupiter Hollis and his mermaid wife, Ida Mae. This Prairie Gothic tale of isolation, family mythology and yearning, will be sung by two unsettling musical narrators, interweaving stories and songs of other famous conjoined twins throughout history, asking the question: Can one heart be torn apart and survive?

Armed with a soulful, velvety voice, Kaeley Jade Weibe is a folk-pop singer/songwriter, actor and visual artist based out of Edmonton, Alberta. An award-winning Métis artist, Kaeley has performed at events such as the Big Valley Jamboree, the Tim Horton's Brier, and the Canadian Country Music Awards Week, and has been featured as a vocalist with the Edmonton Pops Orchestra. Her music has been featured on several Spotify editorial playlists including New Music Friday, New Music Friday Canada and Fresh Finds, and her song "Elijah" was placed in Link to the Past Productions' feature film No Apology. Her debut EP, Years Ago, is available on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services.

Just in time for the spooky season, Northern Light Theatre will present the encore online stream of We Had a Girl Before You, last season's critically acclaimed world premiere by NLT Artistic Director Trevor Schmidt featuring Kristin Johnston.

WE HAD A GIRL BEFORE YOU

By Edmonton Playwright Trevor Schmidt
Digital Streaming Presentation
October 1 to 31 2021

A candle-lit recounting of a Gothic tale of suspense and spine-tingling terror...
1880's Victorian London. Orphan spinster Edwina "Weenie" Trout accepts a position as a lady's companion on the remote island that houses Whisham Manor - known by the locals as 'Desolation'. She finds herself to be the latest in a long line of 'girls' who have mysteriously disappeared while in service to the mysterious Whisham family.
Will she discover the family's secrets?

Or will she simply vanish - like all the girls before her?


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