Antigonish, NS (January 28, 2021) – After canceling all live productions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre has announced a bold new plan for bringing live theatre back to the community in 2021. The plan was announced via video by the company’s Artistic Director Andrea Boyd on Thursday afternoon.
“This summer, I want to make sure that we have the greatest chance possible of bringing live theatre back to our community” said Boyd, “and that means leaving the safety of our precious stage, and venturing out into the great outdoors.”
Festival Antigonish is partnering with Keppoch Mountain to present an outdoor theatrical adventure – Robin Hood: The Great Escape. This original adaptation of the classic tale will take the audience on an epic journey around a wide accessible trail surrounded by majestic trees and the beautiful sounds of summer. Medieval characters will guide audience groups from one scene to the next, where they will eavesdrop on the heroes and villains that tell the tale of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s vile plan to be rid of Robin Hood once and for all.
Robin Hood, Marian, the Sherriff of Nottingham, Gal of Gisbourne, King Richard, the Merry Men, (and women!), bandits, archers, and spies – This large cast, promenade-style play will have it all. The audience will gather as a group for the opening scene, and then be led along the path in small groups of twenty to watch the story unfold, before gathering again at the end for a daring finale. All public health guidelines will be followed to ensure a safe environment for the artists and the audience.
Written by Andrea Boyd and Laura Teasdale, the play will feature Nova Scotia’s finest actors, designers, and creative professionals. To make this bold adventure even more meaningful, the company is partnering with Theatre Antigonish, a longstanding community theatre organization, to create opportunities for the community to join the production as volunteer actors playing small parts such as bandits, guards, spies, and medieval ushers or in backstage production roles. “We know how important arts and culture is to the community of Antigonish, and this summer we want you to join us”, says Boyd.
The global pandemic has been devastating for the performing arts industry, and theatres everywhere have been exploring creative new ways to stay connected with their audiences. For Festival Antigonish, this model will mark a radical departure from our 34-year-old traditional model of repertory theatre on stage. It will push our company (creatively and organizationally) in a way that we have never been challenged before.
“Keppoch Mountain is a rare treasure in our community and we are so happy that they have joined us for this adventure and made it possible for us to create theatre in a whole new way” says Reema Fuller, Managing Director. “We are excited about the possibilities, and cannot wait for audiences – new and returning – to embark on this journey with us. Collaboration and community partnerships have always been vital to our success and right now, in the midst of a pandemic, the need to work together and do things differently is more important than ever before”.
Robin Hood: The Great Escape will take place at Keppoch Mountain in August 2021. Organizers are planning a two-week run for performances, with some extra room for rain dates. Tickets and more show details will be released in the weeks ahead. Follow Festival Antigonish on social media (@FestAntigonish) or visit www.festivalantigonish.com.
About Festival Antigonish
Festival Antigonish has established a proud legacy as the largest professional theatre in Northeastern Nova Scotia. With a history that spans three decades; average season attendance of 6,000 people, including residents and regional, national, and international tourists; an acclaimed reputation as a local economic and cultural anchor; and an artistic commitment to excellence; we are proud of our successes and we are committed to growth. We strive to create a supportive environment for Nova Scotian artists while producing and presenting a balanced selection of Canadian and international works. Festival Antigonish has a history of pushing boundaries and defying expectations for what should be possible for a little theatre company in rural Nova Scotia. In recent years, Festival Antigonish has been the first established theatre company in the province to hire a BIPOC female in a leadership role (2016), introduce Relaxed Performances (2017), and produce radio plays as an accessible COVID response (2020). Our plans for promenade-style outdoor theatre in 2021 is another first (not for the industry, but for our company and for our region). We have been inspired by colleagues around the world who have found innovative solutions to dealing with the pandemic, and we are excited about the possibilities.
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