Saturday, 30 April 2016

Additional night added for Shakespeare's Fairytales


We've had such a tremendous response for "Shakespeare's Fairytales" at Leaside Manor that we are adding an extra night, Saturday, April 30th.

Tales of princesses turned outlaws, poisoned apples, Amazon warriors, gods and goddesses, monsters and mayhem: Shakespeare's Fairytales is a journey into the fairytale beginnings of classical theatre.
Directed by Danielle Irvine with story coaching by Dale Jarvis, “Shakespeare’s Fairytales” stars Elizabeth Hicks, Lynn Panting, Lauren Shepherd, and Alanah Whiteway, spinning the tales that inspired theatre’s greatest stories.

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.

Presented by Sweetline Theatre Company, with assistance from Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada.
Tickets are available online at www.sweetlinetheatre.ca

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Why I care about cuts to libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador. #nlpoli #nlpublib



My grandmother died when I was 12 years old. Some of my memories of her are incredibly sharp, while others have become a bit more hazy in the decades that have flown by since her passing. But I do have strong memories of her walking me to the small branch library in the town where I grew up. There were mulberry bushes outside which would stain the sidewalk with their purple juice, and inside, books which were free tickets to far-off, magical places.

Libraries provide safe, inclusive places for youth, particularly for youth who might be, as I definitely was, different from other kids. I was nerdy, withdrawn, weird, a kid who lived for stories. I devoured books by the armful, and the library was probably the place I felt most comfortable. I always felt awkward and out-of-place, but not there.

My very first job as a teenager was in that same small branch library. Later, I worked my way through two university degrees working in libraries and archives. Today, my professional work as a folklorist, author, and storyteller still involves and revolves around libraries. I might still be weird, but stories became my life, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

Those far-off, magical places I had only ever read about became, through my love and passion for stories, places I actually got to visit. I have read, performed, and researched stories in libraries on three continents, from tiny libraries on the Orkney Islands, to a jam-packed school library in Story City, Iowa, to the magnificent Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam - the largest public library in Europe.

A young colleague of mine, as I write this, is in Amsterdam.

“Go to the public library,” I urged her a few days ago on Facebook, “it is pretty amazing.” If she goes, and I hope she will, she’ll be one of the 2.5 million users and visitors who enter its doors annually.

Wherever, whenever I travel, I seem to end up in libraries. In Dublin last November, the highlight of my trip was my visit to the Trinity College Library to see the Book of Kells. Previous to that trip, returning home from a heritage conference in Digby, Nova Scotia, I made a co-worker drive back to the airport with me via Halifax, solely so we could see their amazing, jealousy-inducing new public library.

Not everyone gets to do this. Not everyone gets to travel, or visit far-off libraries in places as exotic as Stromness or Story City. Trust me, I know what this makes me: it makes me privileged. I recognize that, and I try, honestly, to acknowledge and remember what my own privilege means.

Yesterday, it was announced that our short-sighted government plans to close more than half the public libraries in the province, and to eliminate 64 much-need jobs, most of them in small communities. This is happening in the province with the worst literacy rates in all of Canada.

And so, when I see people far more privileged than I attack libraries, I get angry. Because it isn’t about cutting costs or being more financially responsible -- it is an attack by a privileged class on the very people who need our help, those people who depend on libraries: new Canadians, rural families, seniors, low-income peoples, youth, job-seekers, readers with low levels of literacy, the list goes on.

A librarian friend here in the province confessed to me privately about her job: “It's terrible, knowing how hard I worked for this, because it's all I've ever wanted to do.” Another told me how the library in her town is being shut down, in spite of the fact that is is well-utilized, with a large variety of programs for young and old. In that instance, her public library has been open in the community for 70 years. And I’m hearing from librarian friends that they found out about these job cuts yesterday from patrons and from media first, not from their employers. One found out about the cuts while at the grocery store at lunch, returning to work only to receive her notice. The chair of one library board was blindsided by news of the cuts from a reporter phoning her first thing yesterday for her response.

One librarian friend sat in her car yesterday and cried.

A museum colleague on the west coast of the island told me their library has been in place since 1955.  “It was through the library our museum was born,” she told me. “It is a vital part of our community and very well used. We are slated to be closed.” They are not within 30 minutes of another branch, so anyone without a car is simply not going to be able to walk to their local library.

Somewhere in this province there is a weird little 12-year-old kid whose grandmother isn’t going to be able to walk him to their library anymore. That makes my heart ache. Libraries allowed me to discover who I was; in many very real ways libraries turned me into the person that I am now. I feel sorry for that weird kid. And I’m angry about those who simply do not care about, or want to understand, what libraries mean to him, and to me, and to those who need them most.

         - Dale Jarvis, 28 April 2016.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association could use your help.
You can read their open letter to Cathy Bennett here,
or click here to take action to save our public libraries.


UPDATED: here is the list of the 54 libraries on the chopping block.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Meet the storyteller behind Shakespeare's Fairytales. #storytelling



Opening at Leaside Manor in St. John's on Thursday, April 28th, Shakespeare's Fairytales marks the launch of a new style of performance in Newfoundland that marries traditional storytelling with classical theatre.  The project is the brainchild of local director Danielle Irvine and storyteller Dale Jarvis.

Jarvis is a storyteller, author, and folklorist, living and working between St. John's and Clarke's Beach. By night, Dale is the proprietor of the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour and raconteur of local tales. As a storyteller, he performs ghost stories, stories of the fairies and little people, tales of phantom ships and superstitions, and legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland and Labrador, and beyond. His repertoire includes long-form folk and fairy tales from the island, and he has a wide-ranging knowledge of local legends, tall tales and myths.

Jarvis regularly teaches workshops for beginning storytellers, and has taught workshops across Canada and the United States on storytelling for historic site, museum and park interpreters. In the past, his clients have included Parks Canada, the Alberta League Encouraging Storytelling, and the Association of Nova Scotian Museums. Working on Shakespeare's Fairytales, however, has allowed him to turn his experience teaching storytelling skills to a much more local audience.

"This is the first time in a long while that I have had the opportunity to teach storytelling techniques to adults here in St. Johns," says Jarvis. "It has been a great thrill for me as a mentor to work with skilled actors, and introduce them to a world of performance they haven't before experienced."

Jarvis has been working with the actors in the show, introducing them to some of Shakespeare's source material, and coaching them in storytelling arts, before the actors worked with director Danielle Irvine.

"I'm exceptionally proud of the work the actors have done with their tales," says Jarvis, "and I hope that from now on they consider themselves storytellers as well."

Shakespeare's Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker's Daughter

Thursday, 28th April 2016 - SOLD OUT
Friday, 29th April 2016 - SOLD OUT
 EXTRA NIGHT ADDED Saturday, 30th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE

Leaside Manor
39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, NL 

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.

It’s a show you will love, more than fresh meat loves salt.

Limited run, limited seating! Get your tickets now through Eventbrite.





Photo by Chris Hibbs.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Shakespeare's Fairytales Performer Spotlight - Elizabeth Hicks #Shakespeare400



Elizabeth Hicks is originally from around the bay but is slowly making her way into the St. John’s theatre scene. She is a third year English Literature student at Memorial University. As part of her Performance and Communications Media diploma, she played Judith Gently in “Front”. She recently appeared in “The Vagina Monologues” and she made her directing debut with “The Zoo Story”. Elizabeth is also proud member of the St. John’s Actors Studio. Elizabeth is thrilled to be working with Dale, Danielle, and Kelly as well as the rest of the fantastic female actors in this unique show!


Sweetline Theatre Company presents

Shakespeare's Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker's Daughter

Thursday, 28th April 2016SOLD OUT
Friday, 29th April 2016 - SOLD OUT
 EXTRA NIGHT ADDED Saturday, 30th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE


Leaside Manor
39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, NL 

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.

“Shakespeare’s Fairytales” shines a light on the origins of playwright William Shakespeare’s most beloved stories, including The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Directed by Danielle Irvine with story coaching by Dale Jarvis, “Shakespeare’s Fairytales” stars Elizabeth Hicks, Lynn Panting, Lauren Shepherd, and Alanah Whiteway, spinning the tales that inspired theatre’s greatest stories.

It’s a show you will love, more than fresh meat loves salt.

Limited run, limited seating! Get your tickets now through Eventbrite.



Monday, 25 April 2016

A sneak peek inside historic Leaside Manor



Leaside Manor was constructed in 1921 by John J. Parker, of legendary Parker and Monroe local footwear retail chain, and his new wife Flora. The couple named the property ‘The Lea’ meaning ‘meadow.’  The Lea was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1997 because of its architectural and historical values, and the Foundation's website notes:
Architecturally, The Lea is significant because it is one of the only Tudor revival style mansions in Newfoundland. Built in 1920, the style of this house was inspired by the architecture in the United Kingdom. This two-storey, cedar shingled building boasts many of the features typical of the Tudor style including an asymmetrical fa├žade, small diamond shaped leaded-glass windows and a dominant front facing gable. Aside from the sheer size of this home, the wealth of the original occupants was also translated through its exterior decoration. Eaves bracketing and finials were used to highlight the roof and bay windows while arched doorways and columns brought attention to the entranceways. Inspired by the low beam ceiling in the Doulton family home in Scotland, one of the unique aspects of The Lea is the large reception hall with its panelled walls.
Historically, The Lea is significant because of the prominent family associated with it. The original owner, John Parker, was best known for the famous Newfoundland shoe Company, Parker and Monroe, which he gained ownership of from his father, James Francis Parker. During the early 20th century many residents of Newfoundland and Labrador relied heavily on the urban distributors for supplies, in this case durable footwear. Along with several outlets that sold shoes and boots, the family also ran a shoe manufacturing plant that produced up to 100,000 pairs of shoes annually.
Leaside Manor is currently owned by Dion and Dora Finlay, and Sweetline Theatre is delighted to partner with them to present Shakespeare's Fairytales! It is a fabulous building, and there is the option for show-goers to book a package deal that allows you to see the show, spend a night in the manor, and be treated to breakfast the next morning!



A special room rate with two tickets is available from Leaside Manor. Tickets can be purchased online directly from Leaside when booking your reservation at www.leasidemanor.com or call 709-722-0387.

Or, if you simply want to come see the show inside this fabulous old building, you can do that as well!

Shakespeare's Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker's Daughter

Thursday, 28th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE
Friday, 29th April 2016 - SOLD OUT
 EXTRA NIGHT ADDED Saturday, 30th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE

(advance tickets can be purchased with credit or paypal, all sales at the door cash only)

Leaside Manor
39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, NL 

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.

It’s a show you will love, more than fresh meat loves salt.

Limited run, limited seating! Get your tickets now through Eventbrite.






Saturday, 23 April 2016

Celebrate 400 years of William Shakespeare with Sweetline Theatre Company #Shakespeare400



Today, 23 April 2016, we commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, the English playwright who made an incredible and long-lasting impression on theatre and literature. All over the world, there are ongoing celebrations to the art and artistry of Shakespeare. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador, we are celebrating his legacy in our own way, exploring his use of folktale and mythology through our show “Shakespeare’s Fairytales”

“Shakespeare’s Fairytales” shines a light on the origins of playwright William Shakespeare’s most beloved stories, including The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Directed by Danielle Irvine with story coaching by Dale Jarvis, “Shakespeare’s Fairytales” stars Elizabeth Hicks, Lynn Panting, Lauren Shepherd, and Alanah Whiteway, spinning the tales that inspired theatre’s greatest stories.

We hope you will join us in our celebration of stories and Shakespeare!


Shakespeare's Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker's Daughter

Thursday, 28th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE
Friday, 29th April 2016SOLD OUT
 EXTRA NIGHT ADDED Saturday, 30th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE

Leaside Manor
39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, NL 

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.

It’s a show you will love, more than fresh meat loves salt.

Limited run, limited seating! Get your tickets now through Eventbrite.



Thursday, 21 April 2016

Shakespeare's Fairytales Crew Profile - Kelly L. Jones




Kelly Jones is a former professional stage manager. In the past she worked with Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland(look for her trading card), RCA, TNL, Wonderbolt, the NAC and many other wonderful companies and people.  In the daytime she she is a retail buyer, standardized patient, film daily and tea dealer. Due to her inability to say no to Danielle Irvine and Dale Jarvis, she is stage managing for a second time with Sweetline, the previous show was Oleanna.  She has truly enjoyed working on Shakespeare's Fairytales, mostly because the fabulous people involved.

"The process of creating this show was great and it was amazing to see what each of the performers brought to it," says Kelly.

Kelly was interviewed by the STAGE Project about stage management here.

---

Sweetline Theatre Company presents


Shakespeare's Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker's Daughter

Thursday, 28th April 2016 - TICKETS AVAILABLE
Friday, 29th April 2016 - SOLD OUT

Leaside Manor
39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, NL 

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.


“Shakespeare’s Fairytales” shines a light on the origins of playwright William Shakespeare’s most beloved stories, including The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Directed by Danielle Irvine with story coaching by Dale Jarvis, “Shakespeare’s Fairytales” stars Elizabeth Hicks, Lynn Panting, Lauren Shepherd, and Alanah Whiteway, spinning the tales that inspired theatre’s greatest stories.

It’s a show you will love, more than fresh meat loves salt.

Limited run, limited seating! Get your tickets now through Eventbrite.



Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The Phantoms of Fishot Island, on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula



Fishot Island is the largest of a group of islands in the southern entrance to Hare Bay on the northeast side of the Great Northern Peninsula. The island has long been a favourite of French and Newfoundland fishermen.

As early as 1547, Fishot Islands appeared on French maps as Ille de ficho and the unusual name has had many variations such as fico, Y Fichot, I Feeke, and Trois Fidiot. The late Reverend Howley, who had a great interest in Newfoundland name lore, suggested the word may have referred to a post or signal staff fixed in the ground, derived from the French noun fiche (meaning stake or peg). In true Newfoundland fashion, early English visitors ignored the meaning, and adapted the French name, pronouncing it “Fishroad”.

Throughout its long history, Fishot Island attracted its own folklore. Fishot Island has been suggested as one of the many possible locations of the bedeviled Isle of Demons. While Fishot Island is only one of several islands claiming to be the legendary isle, its claim is strengthened by the fact that in more recent times it was known as the location of a Jacky Lantern or Will o’ the Wisp sighting.

Strange moving lights are not the only local ghost, it would seem. In November of 2003, I was contacted by “May” a woman who had spent her early childhood years on Fishot Island. As she puts it, “in my lifetime I have experienced many encounters with the paranormal and supernatural world.” Fishot Island provided more than one of those encounters.

May lived on the island for about ten years, and one experience in particular still remains strong in the woman’s memory. It involves a house that had been deserted for many years, for as far back as she could remember. One day the girl decided to take a flashlight and go exploring.

She recalls, “it was a big house, close to mine actually. I was young and full of curiosity. Molasses was a big thing back in those times. I decided to go in the house and look for some.”

The girl opened the door to the house, and entered. When she walked into the kitchen, and looked around, she saw that the table was empty. She went up the stairs to explore the upper part of the house, and finding nothing, came back down. What she saw next scared her, for there was a jar of molasses on the table.

“As I turned around, I saw a white round light in the corner of my eye,” May remembers. “I assumed it was the sun shining in through the window.”

She turned and walked back out along the house’s long narrow hall. Suddenly she felt a cold sensation on her neck as if a hand had been placed there. The girl was petrified with fear, and froze in her tracks without turning around. When she found the courage to move, May took off running.

“I got outside,” the woman says, reminiscing about that day. “I looked back and I swear I saw an old woman in the window, in a white gown. She looked at me with no expression on her face. She shut the curtains. I was never going to go back there again.”



Dale Jarvis is an author, storyteller, and professional folklorist who splits his time between St. John’s and Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, Canada. The proprietor of the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour, Dale tells ghost stories, supernatural stories, legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland, Labrador and beyond. He is also the storytelling coach for Shakespeare's Fairytales, running April 28th-29th, 2016. Get your tickets here!


Deserted House Image: Pixabay.com / CC0 Public Domain

Monday, 18 April 2016

Shakespeare's Fairytales Performer Spotlight - Lauren Shepherd #Shakespeare400



Lauren, who recently relocated to St. John’s, is a PhD Candidate with The University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. Her doctoral research explores the performance and diagnoses of madness on the early modern stage, and has taken her to The Bethlem Royal Archives to research their court records. Her research earned her a presentation spot at the 2015 Blackfriars Conference at The American Shakespeare Centre. Standing on the reconstructed Blackfriars’ stage, presenting a paper, brought Lauren’s academic and theatre training together once again, and she remembered what she loved about performing the Bard.

Lauren is delighted to be a part of Sweetline’s creative production using Shakespeare and his source materials to tell the stories we know and love in our own way! This experience has been extremely rewarding, and Lauren is excited to see where else this project might lead. Exploring Shakespeare through folklore under the direction of Dale and Danielle has even helped Lauren re-focus some of her own ideas about Shakespeare’s plays, and how she approaches them in her own research.

When she isn’t rehearsing Lauren teaches private lessons in voice and drama with Peter MacDonald Music Studio, and sings in Les Ms. women’s choir under the direction of Dr. Valerie Long. Lauren feels so blessed to have fallen into such a wonderfully creative community here in St. John’s.

Select credits include: Kala (Disney’s Tarzan/Peter MacDonald Productions), Feste (Twelfth Night/The Shakespearience Group), Miss Stacey (Anne of Green Gables/Drury Lane), King Alonso/Trinculo (The Tempest/Exeter University), Emilia (Two Noble Kinsmen/Exeter University), Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing/Exeter University), Diaphanta (The Changeling/Behemoth Theatre Company.

For more information about Lauren visit her website www.laurenshepherd.ca, or find her on facebook @LaurenShepherd, @ShepherdPrivateCoaching.


Sweetline Theatre Company presents

Shakespeare's Fairytales: Owl Was a Baker's Daughter
April 28th-29th, 2016
Leaside Manor
39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, NL 

Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm; Show starts promptly at 7pm.

“Shakespeare’s Fairytales” shines a light on the origins of playwright William Shakespeare’s most beloved stories, including The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Directed by Danielle Irvine with story coaching by Dale Jarvis, “Shakespeare’s Fairytales” stars Elizabeth Hicks, Lynn Panting, Lauren Shepherd, and Alanah Whiteway, spinning the tales that inspired theatre’s greatest stories.

It’s a show you will love, more than fresh meat loves salt.

Limited run, limited seating! Get your tickets now through Eventbrite.



Thursday, 14 April 2016

Theatre Company Presents Fairytales Behind Shakespeare’s Plays. #FolkloreThursday #Shakespeare400



Tales of princesses turned outlaws, poisoned apples, Amazon warriors, gods and goddesses, monsters and mayhem -- a St. John's, Newfoundland theatre company is inviting you on a journey into the fairytale beginnings of classical theatre.

This April, Sweetline Theatre Company is presenting “Shakespeare’s Fairytales” at the historic Leaside Manor in St. John’s. The show shines a light on the origins of some of playwright William Shakespeare’s most beloved stories, including The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“What some modern audiences may not know is that Shakespeare was influenced by fairytale traditions,” says storyteller Dale Jarvis, the storytelling coach for the production. “Many of Shakespeare’s plays derive their plots directly or indirectly from folktales.”

“Shakespeare’s Fairytales” stars Elizabeth Hicks, Lynn Panting, Lauren Shepherd, and Alanah Whiteway, spinning the tales that inspired the bard’s greatest stories.

To get ready for their show, the four actors were given different versions of the folktale or source material which had inspired or influenced their play. They started off working with Jarvis, playing with and retelling their stories, and finding their own versions of the tales.

“I’ve been to a lot of storytelling festivals in North America and Europe,” says Jarvis, “but I have never seen a performance quite like the one we are crafting now!”

Once the actors learned their stories, director Danielle Irvine, known lately for her work as Artistic Director of Perchance Theatre in Cupids, stepped in. She worked with the actors on movement and staging, and introduced quotes, phrases, and passages from Shakespeare’s plays that fit the stories.

“I’m excited to be working with this cast and exploring the text in new ways,” says Irvine. “And the setting in Leaside Manor will make this a very intimate, unique show.”

“Shakespeare’s Fairytales” runs April 28th-29th, 2016, at Leaside Manor, 39 Topsail Rd, St. John's, Newfoundland. Seating for the show is limited, and advance tickets are recommended, available at www.sweetlinetheatre.ca

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To arrange a media interview about the show, contact Kelly Jones, Stage Manager, kelly@sweetlinetheatre.ca