The Belfry’s 2016 - 17 Season will feature new work from Kate Hennig and Joan MacLeod, plus a new musical revue featuring the songs of Joni Mitchell and a new creation based on the short stories of Alice Munro.

The new season will feature six world premieres including two new musicals - I Think I’m Fallin’ - The Songs of Joni Mitchell and This Little Light.

Thursday, April 14, 2016 — Victoria, BC...Today, the Belfry Theatre released the details of its 2016 - 2017 Season. The new season will feature six world premieres including two new musicals - I Think I’m Fallin’ - The Songs of Joni Mitchell and This Little Light.

This summer the Belfry will produce a brand new production of Mom’s the Word, featuring a new cast of young actress/mothers. This co-production will move to Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg following the run in Victoria.

Kate Hennig’s The Last Wife premiered at the Stratford Festival last summer to great success. In September the Belfry will be producing the second production of this thrilling piece. The Last Wife will travel to Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company following the run in Victoria.

In October, the theatre will produce and premiere I Think I’m Fallin’ - The Songs of Joni Mitchell, created by Michael Shamata with arrangements by Tobin Stokes.

This Little Light, a new musical created by Erin Macklem and Brad L’Écuyer, will be produced in December as a staged presentation and will feature Company “C” students from the Canadian College for the Performing Arts, together with local community and school choirs.

In January 2017 the theatre will premiere Gracie by Joan MacLeod, a new play commissioned by the Belfry. This co-production will be directed by Alberta Theatre Project’s Vanessa Porteous, and the show will move to Calgary following the run in Victoria.

Deborah Williams’ new play, Taking Off, will premiere in February 2017 in the Belfry’s Studio Theatre.

The Belfry’s 2017 SPARK Festival will feature work from Evalyn Parry, Hannah Moscovitch, Itai Erdal, Dima Alansari and Ker Wells, plus a new play by Brian Linds.

The season will close in May 2017 with the premiere of Alice Munro Stories. This new creation celebrates the remarkable stories of one of Canada’s greatest writers.

Season tickets, starting at $70 (for the four Mainstage productions), and single tickets for Mom’s the Word, starting at $24, are on sale now.

Single tickets for all productions go on sale on July 5.

Tickets can be purchased at 250-385-6815.

Full show descriptions and Michael Shamata’s notes on why he chose these pieces for the Belfry’s 2016 - 2017 season follow (in chronological order).

 

Summer
August 9—28, 2016
ALL NEW PRODUCTION 

Mom’s the Word

by Linda A. Carson, Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams
Directed by Michael Shamata
Designed by Pam Johnson
Assistant Director Deborah Williams

A new production of the original show, with a new cast of actress/mothers. Over twenty years ago, six theatre artists got together to talk and write about their experiences as new mothers. What started as a one-off festival performance grew into a worldwide phenomenon that has played on five continents to millions of delighted audience members. A truly beautiful tribute to mothers everywhere.

Why I Chose This Play 

I adore this show! It always makes me laugh and cry. There is a whole new generation of mothers who never saw this show, and a whole generation of mothers who will laugh when they see it again! MS 

 

Mainstage 1
September 20—October 16, 2016 

The Last Wife

by Kate Hennig
Directed by Esther Jun

This contemporary re-imagining of the compelling relationship between Henry VIII and his last wife, Katherine Parr, is a witty and powerful examination of sexual politics and women’s rights. It’s a dangerous game of chess with Henry’s offspring, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward as pawns. 

Why I Chose This Play 

The moment I read this script, I knew it was a ‘Belfry play.’ Smart, contemporary, and witty, it confidently and proudly looks at history through a female lens. Katherine Parr’s brains are sexy to Henry, and her mentorship of the young Elizabeth paves the way for a strong female monarch. I love its modern dress and modern language. This play premiered last summer at the Stratford Festival, and I am proud that we are giving it its second production. Michael Shamata 

 

Mainstage 2
November 8—December 4, 2016
WORLD PREMIERE 

I Think I’m Fallin’ - The Songs of Joni Mitchell

Directed by Michael Shamata
Arrangements by Tobin Stokes

A brand new musical event built around the songs of Joni Mitchell. With hits like Big Yellow Taxi, Chelsea Morning, Both Sides Now and You Turn Me On I’m a Radio, Joni Mitchell continues to inspire artists ranging from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to Kanye West; from James Taylor to Sarah McLachlan.

This production is subject to rights clearances.

Why I Chose This Play 

Simple: I wanted music in the season, and could think of no more iconic Canadian singer-songwriter than our beloved Joni Mitchell. I also fell in love with the performers in Chelsea Hotel and wanted an excuse to invite some of them back! What could be more fun than hearing these remarkable songs again, re-examining the themes and finding new variations? MS 

 

December 7—23, 2016
WORLD PREMIERE 

This Little Light 

Book by Erin Macklem
Music by Brad L’Écuyer
Lyrics by Erin Macklem & Brad L’Écuyer

This holiday season we’ll bring you this melodious musical as a staged presentation. A beautiful way to celebrate the season and a special way to experience this brand new musical play, written specifically for Victoria and Fernwood. 

Starring members of the Canadian College of the Performing Arts’ Company C, local school choirs and other special guests. 

Why I Chose This Play 

This sweet and tuneful musical has been in development at the Belfry for over two years. It has grown and blossomed, and is ready to be shared! With its holiday setting, its emphasis on community and social responsibility, it is a perfect follow-up to last season’s production of A Christmas Carol. Plus it has wonderful songs! With the voices of CCPA’s Company C members, together with community choirs, the Belfry Theatre will be filled with gorgeous music at this family time of the year. MS 

 

Mainstage 3
January 20—February 19, 2017
WORLD PREMIERE 

Gracie

by Joan MacLeod
Directed by Vanessa Porteous

Tucked away in a corner of our province is Bountiful, the largest polygamous community in Canada. With her deep empathy and compassion, Joan MacLeod (The Valley) takes us into young Gracie’s world, where events transpire that lead her to question her beliefs.

Why I Chose This Play 

How blessed we are to have playwright Joan MacLeod living in our midst! We commissioned Joan to write a play specifically for this theatre and this audience. Gracie is that play – and it is a beautiful study of a young girl as she gradually develops a sense of self and self-direction. Approaching Gracie’s situation with the same absence of judgement that made The Valley so compelling, Joan has given us a moving portrait of a moral quandary. MS 

 

Studio
February 21—March 12, 2017
WORLD PREMIERE 

Taking Off 

by Deborah Williams
Directed by James Fagan Tait

Middle age is tricky territory for Minnie, especially in her relationships with her husband, her children and her female friends. 

Why I Chose This Play 

Deborah Williams played dear, sad Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike last season. One of the writer/performers of Mom’s the Word, this is the first play that Deborah has written on her own. We’ve been involved in the script’s development for a couple of years. I programmed this play because it speaks to our audience, and it speaks with Deb’s wry, sardonic sense of humour, and her enormous heart. MS 

 

2017 SPARK Festival (March 13—26 2017)

 

SPIN 

by Evalyn Parry
(Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto)

 

What a Young Wife Ought to Know 

by Hannah Moscovitch
(2B Theatre, Halifax) 

 

This is Not a Conversation 

by Itai Erdal, Dima Alansari & Ker Wells
(Elbow Theatre, Vancouver) 

 

Reverberations 

By Brian Linds
(Victoria)

 

Mainstage 4
April 18—May 14, 2017
WORLD PREMIERE 

Alice Munro Stories

Directed by Anita Rochon

The master of the contemporary short story, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013. In this world premiere, we’ll perform two of Alice’s short stories, word-for-word, in a unique theatrical event that celebrates her exceptional language and the audience’s imagination.

This production is subject to rights clearances.

Why I Chose This Play 

I was approached by Word for Word, a theatre company in San Francisco. For over 20 years they have been putting short stories onstage “word-for-word,” and they wanted to bring to the Belfry their Alice Munro show. While I couldn’t justify bringing an American company to Victoria to perform Alice Munro, I was taken with the idea of the show. With their blessing and guidance, we have chosen our own Munro stories, and we’ll all be able to revel in the sublime words and blessed humanity of Alice Munro’s writing. MS

 

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Media Contact
Mark Dusseault
Director of Marketing & Communications
Belfry Theatre
250-385-6835 / ext 230
pr@belfry.bc.ca