Artist Profiles

Rhys Bevan-John*

Actor: Here Lies Henry

Rhys Bevan-John

Rhys Bevan-John’s first time performing in a theatre was when he played Wilburn in Charlotte’s Web at the Chester Summer Theatre School in 1993.

Since then he has become an award winning actor and writer who also directs (but hasn’t won awards for it). He spent ten years training at Neptune Theatre School and went on to live in the woods for six months with a mime and a ballerina. He feels lucky and privileged to have worked with most of the theatre companies in Nova Scotia. Favourite roles include: Aslan, Captain Hook, Hamlet, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He has performed all over the world, and is very pleased to be back at the Chester Playhouse.

 

Daniel MacIvor

Writer: Here Lies Henry

Daniel MacIvor

 

Daniel is a playwright/actor/director who is originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and divides his time between Halifax and Toronto. He has written numerous award-winning theatre productions including See Bob Run, Communion, Marion Bridge and His Greatness; and with Daniel Brooks created the solo shows House, Here Lies Henry, Monster, Cul-de-sac and This Is What Happens Next. Daniel received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2006 for his collection of plays I Still Love You and in 2008 he was awarded the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre. He is also the recipient of the New York Obie Award and a GLAAD Award. He is currently touring the solo show Who Killed Spalding Gray? and is working on the libretto for Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company. In development is a new touring show The Myth of Authenticity for reWork Productions. For further info visit the website reworkproductions.com.

 

 

Amy Reitsma*

Actor: Ruthless! The Stage Mother of All Musicals

Amy Reitsma

Amy Reitsma

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Amy moved to the UK to train at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, fell in love with the lack of snow in the winter and has been living in London ever since. She is thrilled (as is her mom) to be back in the Maritimes performing in beautiful Chester.

Recent credits in London include: ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Pleasance), Sodenheim’s ‘Roadshow’ (Union), ‘The Sting’ (Wilton’s Music Hall), ‘Whistleblower’ (Waterloo East). Canadian credits include: ‘Twelfth Night’ (LunaSea), ‘Anne and Gilbert’ (Harbourfront), ‘Ivor Johnson’s Neighbours’ (Ship’s Co), ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (Neptune), ‘Julius Caesar’ (DaPoPo), ‘Cloudburst’ (Plutonium Playhouse).

Many thanks to you, the audience, to the brilliant cast and crew, and of course to the indomitable Mary Lou. Enjoy the show!

For more about Amy, read our Q&A.

 

Kyle Gillis*

Actor: Ruthless! The Stage Mother of All Musicals

Kyle Gillis

Kyle Gillis

Kyle Gillis was last seen at the Playhouse in 2015 in The Highest Tides and God of Carnage, as well as Forever Plaid in 2013. He is a graduate of The Canadian College of Performing Arts.

Past credits include: Shrek the Musical (Neptune Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (CMTP), Rockbound, The Miracle Man, Dustbowl Joan (Two Planks), Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy), [title of show] (TheatreSpeak), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (TAG), Funny Money, Peter Pan (Festival Antigonish), Anne &Gilbert (Harbourfront Theatre), and Live! From New York (Victoria Pop Series). He would like to thank Mary Lou and the Chester Playhouse for this opportunity, as well as his friends and family for their love and support. Next up, you can see Kyle in Beauty and the Beast at Neptune Theatre. www.facebook.com/kylegillisartist

For more about Kyle, read our Q&A.

 

Kristi Anderson

Actor: Ruthless! The Stage Mother of All Musicals

Kristi Anderson

Kristi Anderson

Kristi Anderson is thrilled to be making her debut performance at The Chester Playhouse.

Selected theatre credits include The FEAR Project, A Little Cabaret, Cafe DaPoPo, Julius Caesar (DaPoPo Theatre); Women Beware Women, In The Telling, The Roaring Girl (The Villain’s Theatre); Eddie’s Road Tours (Clean Nova Scotia); Munscha Meeyah, A Little Something for Everybody (Festival Antigonish); Into The Woods (Saints Alive! Theatre); the Devil’s Disciple (Neptune) and The Greeks, The Boyfriend, Victoria Symphony: The Music of Broadway (CCPA).

Kristi is an actor, singer, coordinator, vocal coach and core artist with DaPoPo Theatre. She is a graduate of The Canadian College of Performing Arts and has a Bachelor of Music in Voice from Mount Allison University.

For more about Kristi, read our Q&A.

 

Katrina Westin

Actor: Ruthless! The Stage Mother of All Musicals

Katrina Westin

Katrina Westin

Katrina Westin recently completed a tour of Eastern Canada with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada., in ther production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet.

A recent graduate of the Opera and Voice program at McGill Unviersity’s Schulich School of Music, Katrina is a two time alumna of the prestigious Franz Schubert Institut. She is a Laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, a former Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation award holder, and a recipient of the SSHRC JOseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship.

Most recdently, Katrina was awarded the Sheila K. Piercey Rose Bowl by the Federation of Nova Scotia Music Festivals, and both the President’s Cup and the Gordon and Irene MacKinnon Memorial Rose Bowl at the 2016 Nova Scotia Kiwanis Music Festival.

For more about Katrina, read our Q&A.

 

Dominique LeBlanc

Actor: Ruthless! The Stage Mother of All Musicals

Dominique LeBlanc

Dominique LeBlanc

Chester Playhouse. Debut

Other Theatre. A Christmas Carol (2009 and 2013), Wizard of Oz, Shrek: The Musical (Neptune Theatre), Annie in Annie: The Musical (Drayton Entertainment).

Film/TV. GALALA (Unis TV), Nineteen Seventy-Something (Weirdos Film), Hard Knock Life for Girls (Sinking Ship), Neptune 50th Anniversary (Neptune Theatre), Master of Ceremonies National Child Day (Senate of Canada).

Training. Grade 8 Voice, Grade 5 Piano (Royal Conservatory of Music), Ballet, Tap, Modern, Hip Hop.

Awards. Broadwayworld.com Best Actress Nomination (Annie: The Musical), MCPA Junior Voice Scholarship, Medal of Excellence (Voice)

Dominique is thrilled to mark her debut in the beautiful village of Chester and very excited to be working with such an amazing cast and crew. Special thanks to my family for all their love and support. Enjoy the show.

For more about Dominique, read our Q&A.

 

Cassie Muise

Actor: Ruthless! The Stage Mother of All Musicals

Cassie Muise

Cassie Muise

Cassie is thrilled to be making her debut at the Chester Playhouse. Cassie hails originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and has recently returned from Scotland where she received her Master’s Degree in Musical Theatre.

Select theatre credits include: Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q, Devil in A Soldier’s Tale, Ducks in The Girl Who, Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast, and Babe Williams in The Pajama Game. Film/TV/Web include: Synched, Paranormal Witness, Clutch, Out with Dad, and Spoilers.

Cassie would like to send special love and thanks to her parents, Nora and Cyril, who always believed she was ‘Born to Entertain’.

*appears courtesy of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association

 

Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble – May 14th, 2016

Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble

Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble provides an intensive artistic environment for women and an innovative approach to choral performance that is remaking the idea of the “choir.” Known as Camerata Xara Young Women’s Choir for its first five seasons, the group has appeared at Festival 500, the Atlantic National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the Titanic 100 commemoration, and in a music video celebrating the 25th anniversary of East Coast Music Week. In July 2013, Canada’s national choral competition proclaimed Xara the top women’s choir in the country. In 2015, Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble released their first full-length album, Here on these Branches, recently nominated for a 2016 East Coast Music Award for Classical Recording of the Year. Recent performance highlights include an extensive tour of the Maritime provinces with their acclaimed show Fatty Legs, and a spotlight performance for a national audience at Podium 2014.

Xara was formed in 2007 when conductor Christina Murray, theatre practitioner Claire Leger, and a team of three young women began a year-long process to create an ensemble that embodied their passion for music making, integrative arts, and community building. In the spring of 2008, Xara was “adopted” as a second ensemble and outreach initiative of the award-winning Halifax Camerata Singers. Now in their eighth season, Xara has created its own non-profit society that oversees the work of both Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble and Xara Youth Ensemble, a training group for girls ages 14-18.

Xara’s work is gaining national and international recognition as an emerging inter-arts genre featuring stories and myths told through a rich tapestry of challenging choral repertoire, movement, lighting, spoken word, and visual elements. The collaborative work of the artistic team and the women of Xara gives life to sung stories that are a feast for the senses and heart-felt explorations of identity, community, and culture.

http://www.xara.com/

Gabrielle Papillon – May 20th, 2016

Gabrielle Papillon

Hailed as “one of finest new songwriters in Canada,” (Tom Power, CBC) singer-songwriter Gabrielle Papillon sings stories real and imagined. Words, melancholy melodies, and lush harmonies are her currency.

In 2001 Papillon released her first album ‘Songs for a Rainy Day’ before taking an eight year hiatus from music to complete her BA and MA degrees in English Literature and History. Papillon released ‘The Wanderer’ in January 2010 and ‘The Currency of Poetry’ in October 2011, which hit a number of “Best Of” lists and landed in !Earshot’s Top 20 National Chart for Folk/Roots.

Her fourth album, ‘Little Bug’, was nominated for a 2013 ECMA for Folk Recording of the year, and three Music Nova Scotia Awards (SOCAN Songwriter of the Year, Folk Recording of the Year, and Female Artist Recording of the Year) after spending three months in the national Earshot charts. Little Bug was also named one of the Top 12 Albums of 2012 on CBC Radio’s Atlantic Airwaves and Papillon was a Mountain Stage Newsong Regional finalist in 2012 for the song ‘Go Into the Night.’ Her music has been featured on CBC’s Deep Roots, Vinyl Café, and Drive and her songs have also appeared in film and television in Canada, Australia, and the United States.

Produced by multiple award-winner Daniel Ledwell, Papillon’s fifth offering ‘The Tempest of Old’ is big and dark, orchestral and defiant. Rife with a purposeful swampy, gothic underpinning, her new album will be released in March of 2015.

The Tempest of Old (Spring 2015)

Steeped in a swampy, gothic underpinning, The Tempest of Old is big, orchestral, and defiant. Setting the mood with a bold and haunting piece that channels the sepia-soaked, cinematic drive of the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack, “Got You Well” is a striking album opener. Embracing the grandiosity of tones and textures, Papillon continues the beautifully dramatic disposition on tracks such as “Come and Gone,“ “Brother, Throw Down,“ and “Kentucky in the Dark.“

Recorded at Echo Lake in Halifax, NS with multiple award-winning producer Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant, In-Flight Safety), the album marks a growth from the simplicity and gentle quality of Papillon’s previous work. On The Tempest of Old, her ear for compelling hooks and her lyrical craftmanship remain steadfast, blended this time with sonic landscapes that revel in visceral storytelling. The album masterfully captures Papillon’s outstanding live performances, gleaming with her charm and personality.

The Tempest of Old also features a host of musicians who are no strangers to the Canadian music scene. Jenn Grant, Sean MacGillivray (Classified, Jenn Grant), Michael Belyea (Jenn Grant, Snailhouse, Paper Beat Scissors), Catriona Sturton (Plumtree, Al Tuck), Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!, Jenn Grant), the late Fleur Mainville (MacKeel), and producer Daniel Ledwell (Kathleen Edwards, The Weakerthans, In Flight Safety), all contributed to the record.

http://www.gabriellepapillon.com/

David Myles – June 2nd, 2016

David Myles

David Myles is diving deep into the pop world, exploring new territory with the same irresistible energy and musical integrity that has become his trademark. Here Now is pop music pulled off in perfect David Myles style: savvy and sophisticated, with effortlessly addictive melodies in sync with rousing rhythms. Over his career, the genre-bending songwriter has delved into jazz, latin, country, folk, doo wop and even bluegrass. And the one thing that runs through his entire eclectic catalogue is a profound love of music.

“First and foremost, I’m a music fan,” Myles says. “I’ve spent my whole life collecting all different kinds of records. So I’ve always loved the idea of making an album as an exploration into a particular musical world. For Here Now, that world is pop music.”

Myles takes inspiration from the essential grooves of some of his favourite pop icons—Sade, Smokey Robinson, OutKast, and more—and works them into his own idiosyncratic artistic vision. You can hear him work his wizardry on the heart-pumping “It Don’t Matter”, pinballing between chill vibes and get-up-and-shout choruses. “Where Do I Belong” slinks along with the smoky haze of classic 90’s R&B, a muted Miles Davis-esque trumpet lingering in the background. His sense of humour shines bright on the soulful, retro bounce of “Doctor, Doctor”, and “Quiet After Violence” dances while the world ends; an apocalyptic banger with a beat that channels Michael Jackson. Canadian hip-hop icon Classified makes an emotional feature with a crackling verse on the poignant, slow-burner “Don’t Leave It Up To Me.”

Classified is also the beat architect and producer behind Here Now’s crystal sonics. It’s not the first time Myles and Class have collaborated; their mega-hit “Inner Ninja” holds the record for the top selling Canadian hip-hop song of all time, and garnered them the 2013 JUNO Award for Rap Recording of the Year. That undeniable chemistry has also been behind some of David’s most successful earworms, such as “So Blind”, “How’d I Ever Think I Loved You”, and “Simple Pleasures”. But Here Now breaks new ground, with both musicians at the top of their game.

David Myles is Here Now.

http://www.davidmyles.com/

Stephen Fearing – July 1st, 2016

Stephen Fearing

Multiple JUNO Award-winning Blackie and the Rodeo Kings member Stephen Fearing returns with his first solo album in seven years: the highly anticipated, Between Hurricanes. The follow-up to 2006’s acclaimed Yellowjacket, the album was co-produced by Fearing and John Whynot (Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, Lucinda Williams) at The Woodshed Studio in Toronto, ON.

Born out of several life-changing events, Between Hurricanes is both the document and result of many significant changes for Fearing.

“In 2006, I released Yellowjacket. Though I didn’t know it at the time, it marked the end of many things and the beginning of so many more,” says Fearing. “My marriage of 14 years ended shortly after the record came out. Hard on the heels of this devastation, True North Records – my home on record for over a decade – changed hands. I was still under contract to them, but it quickly became apparent that it was time for me to move on. Around the same time, my dear friend and manager Bernie Finkelstein started to make noises about cutting back on his workload. Bernie and I had been together through thick and thin for over 16 years, but I realized that it was time to let go of the old ties and step out into the brave new world of true independence.”

In 2008, Fearing moved from his home in Guelph, ON and headed to Halifax, NS. He completed work on both Blackie and The Rodeo Kings’ Polaris Prize nominated Kings and Queens (which featured duets with 14 iconic female singers including Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, and Roseanne Cash) and his album with Belfast’s Andy WhiteFearing & White. He also got remarried, became a father, and still managed to tour relentlessly. Life moved quickly, and it wasn’t long before there had been a significant amount of time since the release of Yellowjacket.

Luckily, new songs had begun to emerge and plans were finally made to return to studio.

Between Hurricanes’ eleven tracks were shaped with the idea of crafting a solo record while not employing a traditional ‘folk’ approach to the music. Fearing and Whynot put their focus on the fundamentals of the songs while subtly adding space and a mood that surrounds them. The minimal arrangements range from the finely honed piano, bass, and drum accents on “As The Crow Flies” to the ethereal synths on “Cold Dawn.

The tale of a Cougar Helicopter crash in Newfoundland, “Cold Dawn” acts as a thesis statement for the record. Told in first-person narrative, the song’s mood wraps around the story, giving added weight to every repeat of the refrain, “Into the dark.”

The hushed “Fool” follows suit. Against the chirping of crickets, the song floats in sober meditation. No instrument presents itself as the lead as passing moments fade in and out of each other. The weight of the track is cut quickly by the shuffling blues of “Keep Your Mouth Shut, which arrives with the subtly of a mack truck driving through a wake.

“You stuck around until the lawyer cut the body open / A pound of flesh and then they paint it black,” sings Fearing over blown-out bass and masterful guitar work. It’s an all-out rave-up and the energetic high point of the record.

“ ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ came out of a conversation with Tom Wilson of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings,” says Fearing. “We were talking about getting together to write some songs for Between Hurricanes and he said I should listen to ‘Get Out Of Denver’ by Bob Seger. As it turned out, Tom was so busy organizing the Kings and Queens tour, that I knew he wouldn’t be able to pull himself away from the phone. So, I just wrote it myself. The song is a tongue-in-cheek look at getting out of a sticky situation, ‘Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover’ meets ‘Johnny B Goode.’ ”

Between Hurricanes is Stephen Fearing’s eighth solo album. Over the course of his celebrated career he has collaborated with a long list of artists that includes: Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Wilson, Colin Linden, and Margo Timmins. Recently, he produced Happy Here, the latest JUNO-nominated album from Suzie Vinnick.

http://www.stephenfearing.com/

Cassie Josephine & Gabriel Minnikin
Opening for Stephen Fearing – July 1st, 2016

Cassie Josephine & Gabriel MinnikinGabriel Minnikin was a founding member of acclaimed country outfit The Guthries and then a world travelling solo artist touring with the likes of First Aid Kit, Justin Townes Earle, The Handsome Family, Caitlin Rose, and his marvellous talent of a sister, Ruth Minnikin. Gabriel recorded his last solo album, Parakeets with Parasols, in Manchester, UK in 2012 and soon headed back to East Coast Canada where he met Cassie just releasing her debut EP, Cutlery ’N’ Cryin. Now, these two songwriters share the stage and their sound. Flower Country, their debut record as a duo is a split album of gentle twang-soaring harmonies, poetic lyrics, and melodies that both haunt and toe tap.

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