After an acclaimed six-performance run over the holidays of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Peterborough’s New Stages Theatre is back in 2024 with the Brand New Stages Festival, a week-long showcase of new and emerging theatre shows and artists.
Running from February 27 to March 3, the Brand New Stages Festival features three shows at two different theatres, including Looking for Lear by Dreda Blow and Brad Brackenridge, Life Without by Steve Ross, and Tuesdays & Sundays by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn.
First up is Looking for Lear by dance theatre artist Dreda Blow and actor and puppeteer Brad Brackenridge, a 70-minute workshop production about the works of Edward Lear, the 19th-century English artist, illustrator, musician, author, and poet best known for his popular “nonsense” collections of poems and limericks.
Born from The Lear Project that Brackenridge and Blow presented at Public Energy’s Erring at King George in May 2022, Looking for Lear both reimagines and expands those vignettes into a full production that also includes music by multi-instrumentalists Susan Newman and Rob Fortin.
With elements from vaudeville and travelling theatre, this family-friendly show includes tap dancing, ballet, poetry, storytelling, and an array of Brackenridge’s lovable puppets that spring from unexpected places.
The show will be performed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27th and Wednesday, February 28th at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $20 general admission, or $10 for arts workers, students, and the underwaged.
For the second production of the Brand New Stages Festival, New Stages is presenting a staged reading of Life Without by Steve Ross, the renowned Canadian actor who starred in New Stages’ production of Every Brilliant Thing last January.
A play about intergenerational trauma presented mainly as a series of monologues, Life Without tells the story of Liz and Jack, a working class couple who are dealing with a past family tragedy and its impacts on their teenage grandson Josh. The play debuted last August at Stratford’s Here For Now Theatre, with Linda Prystawska as Liz, Robert King as Jack, and Sean Dolan as Josh. Christopher Hoile of Stage Door called the production “a searing, utterly involving work” that “deserves the widest possible audience.”
New Stages founder and former artistic director Randy Read is returning to direct the play, which will feature Fiona Reid as Liz and Michael Riley as Jack, with Sean Dolan reprising his role as Jack from the debut production.
Recommended for audience members 14 and older, Life Without will be performed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 29th at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $22 general admission, or $11 for artsworkers, students, and the underwaged.
The Brand New Stages Festival wraps up with a staged reading of Tuesdays & Sundays by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn. Inspired by the true story of William Millman and Mary Tuplin and the tragedy that shook the quiet community of Margate, Prince Edward Island, in 1887, this critically acclaimed play has toured extensively across Canada and internationally.
Directed by Megan Murphy, the New Stages production will feature two new and emerging acting talents to be announced.
Tuesdays & Sundays will be performed at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3rd at The Theatre On King in downtown Peterborough. Both performances, which are only available to New Stages subscribers, are already sold out.
Tickets for Looking for Lear and Life Without are available in person at the Market Hall box office (140 Charlotte St, Peterborough), by phone at 705-775-1503, or online at tickets.markethall.org.
Following the Brand New Stages Festival, New Stages’ 2023-24 season will continue with a staged reading of Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron on May 11 and 12, and a staged reading of Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang on June 9, with both readings at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre.
For more information about New Stages, visit www.newstages.ca.
kawarthaNOW is proud to be media sponsor of New Stages Theatre Company’s 2023-24 season.