Reel Teens Video Program

In 2021 Halifax Theatre for Young People offered the REEL TEENS Video Program, a four-month training program in digital media arts with film-maker Tara Taylor.

We engaged about 50 students from across the province in this exciting project. They learned about the art and practice of storytelling through media art, by producing a 1min video visualizing their original spoken word/theatre piece. Training workshops introduce youth to Script Development, Pre-production, as well as technical workshops in camera, sound, editing and framing. Youth will use their cell phones, ipads, etc to create their own short film.

The compiled project premiered at the Emerging Lens Film Festival in March 2021, where it won the Inspirational Youth Film Award!

Mi’kmaq Stories: Past & Present

We’re hard at work to bring our original production of Mi’kmaq Stories: Past & Present to the stage and livestream.

Created by Mi’kmaq artists (including film-maker Catherine Martin, storyteller shalan joudry, and drummer/dancer/film-maker Trevor Gould), with design by artist Jordan Bennett, Mi’kmaq Stories: Past and Present weaves stories from the past with glimpses into current realities and dreams for the future. Directed by Tessa Mendel with Trevor Gould, this blend of Indigenous voices and stories will be a truly unique experience for young audiences.

We’re partnering with Ship’s Company Theatre to bring Mi’kmaq Stories: Past and Present to audiences:

October 1st, 2021 Treaty Day – 1pm special school showing – live-streamed to schools across Nova Scotia

October 2, 2021 – 2pm – Live, in-person Pay-What-You-Can performance PLUS livestream performance

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!


Production Credits – Mi’kmaq Stories

Writers/ Creators: Trevor Gould, shalan joudry, & Catherine Anne Martin

With poetry by: Rita Joe and Rebecca Thomas

Co-directors: Trevor Gould & Tessa Mendel

Art/ Co-design: Jordan Bennett

Co-design: Katrin Whitehead

Cast: Brady Googoo, Laurie Fleet, Noel Julian, Anna Nibby-Woods, & Shelly Woods

Stage Management: Laurie Fleet

Carpenter: James Woodhouse

Administration: Riley Reign

Thanks: Millbrook Heritage Centre and Susan Stackhouse


For schools:

Special Live Streaming Oct. 1 for Treaty Day!

Halifax Theatre for Young People is offering a special live-streamed presentation (from Ship’s Co. Theatre, Parrsboro) of the premiere of our production of Mi’Kmaq Stories: Past & Present. This is being offered to schools throughout Nova Scotia on Oct 1st at 1:00 PM and will be followed by a live Q and A. Created by Mi’kmaq artists (including film-maker Catherine Martin, poet/storyteller Shalan Joudry, and performer/film-maker Trevor Gould), with art by award-winning artist Jordan Bennett, Mi’kmaq Stories: Past and Present weaves stories from the past with glimpses into current realities and dreams for the future. Co-directed by Trevor Gould and Tessa Mendel, with an all Mi’kmaq cast, this blend of Indigenous voices and stories will be an enlightening  experience for young audiences at this pivotal time in our history. 

Suitable for all ages, recommended for ages 8 – 12.

The performance will be live streamed across Mi’kma’ki at 1:00 PM on October 1st. Duration one hour. The price is $50/class or $350 for the whole school, but we don’t want to leave anyone out! If you can’t afford the full price please contact Perform coordinator Pam Halstead at coordinator[@]performns.ca to make arrangements. Msit No’kmaq –  All My Relations!

Brundibár: A Children’s Opera – Digital Offering

A photo of HTYP's production of Brundibár: A Children’s Opera featuring a girl on sttage with braids and a light coloured dress standing next to a boy in a cap, shorts, and suspenders, next to an adult with a cardboard device and two children in red caps and vests sitting on the ground. In the background is a symphony.

For grades 3-6 / 7-9
Available to stream FREE to your school now!
See Schools for more info.

“Brundibár” is a half-hour opera (performed in English), about children embracing the power of music and friendship. “Brundibár” originally received its premiere in German-occupied Prague at the Jewish Orphanage before the mass deportations of Czech Jews to Theresienstadt concentration camp began in 1942. There, composer Hans Krása reconstructed the music for the available instruments from a smuggled-in copy of the score, and it was performed 55 times in the camp – a source of hope and resistance to the prisoners – until the children, the composer, director and musicians were sent to Auschwitz following the final performance.

Despite the background of its creation, the opera itself is light-hearted and provides an excellent opportunity to introduce children and youth of all ages to the topic of the Holocaust and racial discrimination, and the need to work together to defeat oppression. The opera tells the story of children who sing in the marketplace to raise money for their sick mother, but are chased away by the organ player, Brundibár. With the help of animal and bird friends, as well as other children, they defeat Brundibár and continue to sing. All watching understood that Brundibár represented Hitler and were uplifted, even momentarily, by the fact that good could triumph over evil.

Directed by Tessa Mendel and conducted by Eszter Horvath with a cast of young performers from across HRM and an orchestra of local musicians including Scott Macmillan and members of Symphony Nova Scotia, this award-nominated production played at the Sir James Dunn Theatre at Dalhousie University in May of 2019. The digital program is a broadcast of the production, with subtitles, with an introduction by the director, who explains the context of the performance, and a short segment where the performers talk about what performing the show meant to them. All told, the video lasts about 45 minutes. We will also provide a study guide, with more detailed information about the show, the performers, and the context of the work.

This program is aimed at students in grades 3-8, and can be booked for any date and time that suits your school’s curriculum.

This program is booked through the PERFORM! program (http://performns.ca).

While schools booking a PERFORM program are traditionally asked to share in the cost, for 2021 ALL FEES will be paid by the PERFORM program (while funds last), so there is no cost to your school to book.

For more information about the program, click here.
To book a screening of “Brundibár” for your school, apply here.
Questions? Contact us at info@halifaxtheatreforyoungpeople.com

We’re hiring!

JOB CALL: ADMINISTRATOR

Halifax Theatre for Young People seeks a part-time (10 hrs/week) Administrator to work with our Artistic Director on a variety of tasks related to office management, financial coordination, and producing theatrical productions. Pay is $18-$20/hour, and the deadline to apply is July 31, 2021!

For more information, click here!

#BlackLivesMatter Statement of Solidarity

Halifax Theatre for Young People
stands in solidarity against anti-Black and
anti-Indigenous racism and systemic oppression.

June 22 2020

As the recent anti-Black and anti-Indigenous tragedies have highlighted violence and discrimination in communities across North America, we acknowledge that we as an organization have benefitted from the systemic racism in our society.

HTYP’s mandate is to create theatre for young people, and we are keenly aware of our responsibility to model the world we want to see: one that affirms justice and equity for all people.  We have attempted to model these principles through our past planning and programming, most recently in our postponed production Mi’kmaq Stories: Past & Present.  The process of partnering with a team of Mi’kmaq artists has been a rich opportunity both to learn and to develop a positive process of collaboration.  However, as an organization led by individuals with a primarily white settler background, we know we have much more work to do to become an explicitly anti-racist organization.

We are using this time to learn, to listen, to reflect on our past complicity, to engage with this struggle, and to determine how to work towards justice and equity through our future activities.  We encourage all white people to join in this work.

Specifically, we are actively working towards:

– Listening to and learning from voices of communities that have been oppressed, and educating ourselves without expecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) communities to do the work for us.

– Developing policy and procedures that acknowledge and actively dismantle white supremacist colonial structures in our administration and artistic practice, and replacing them with anti-racist action.  We will begin by mandating anti-racist and anti-oppression training for all staff members.

– Increasing and amplifying diverse perspectives on our board, in our staff, in our programming, and in our casting and hiring, with consciousness about the methods we employ in these areas.

– Developing an internal work culture that welcomes, values, and protects the well-being of BIPOC people.

– Developing new initiatives to connect with BIPOC communities, including mentorship opportunities for emerging BIPOC artists, in ways that affirm, amplify and honour their voices, humanity and artistry.

We intend to share this work as we refine these goals and work to implement them.  Please email us at HTYPinfo@gmail.com to discuss these activities or with further suggestions.

We must do better.
We will do better.
Because Black and Indigenous Lives Matter.

RESOURCES FOR MORE LEARNING

Resources on Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia, offered by the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia:
This link (https://www.csc-ns.ca/anti-black-racism/#in-nova-scotia) includes multiple resources on topics including:

  • Information on Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia – both historical and present-day;
  • Organizations and Programs that are doing anti-racist work in our Province which you can support today; and
  • Training, Education, and Recommended actions for Organizations to take to make their workplaces anti-racist.

The Canadian Race Relation Foundation provides free learning about racism through a number of excellent online courses.  Visit their catalogue, and sign-up HERE.

For parents of white children, here are some resources that might give you a new perspective, and some tools to use when talking to children about racism:

HTYP SOLIDARITY STATEMENT

June 22 2020

As the recent anti-Black and anti-Indigenous tragedies have highlighted violence and discrimination in communities across North America, we acknowledge that we as an organization have benefitted from the systemic racism in our society.

HTYP’s mandate is to create theatre for young people, and we are keenly aware of our responsibility to model the world we want to see: one that affirms justice and equity for all people.  We have attempted to model these principles through our past planning and programming, most recently in our postponed production Mi’kmaq Stories: Past & Present.  The process of partnering with a team of Mi’kmaq artists has been a rich opportunity both to learn and to develop a positive process of collaboration.  However, as an organization led by individuals with a primarily white settler background, we know we have much more work to do to become an explicitly anti-racist organization.  

We are using this time to learn, to listen, to reflect on our past complicity, to engage with this struggle, and to determine how to work towards justice and equity through our future activities.  We encourage all white people to join in this work.  

Specifically, we are actively working towards: 

– Listening to and learning from voices of communities that have been oppressed, and educating ourselves without expecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) communities to do the work for us.  

– Developing policy and procedures that acknowledge and actively dismantle white supremacist colonial structures in our administration and artistic practice, and replacing them with anti-racist action.  We will begin by mandating anti-racist and anti-oppression training for all staff members.  

– Increasing and amplifying diverse perspectives on our board, in our staff, in our programming, and in our casting and hiring, with consciousness about the methods we employ in these areas.

– Developing an internal work culture that welcomes, values, and protects the well-being of BIPOC people.

– Developing new initiatives to connect with BIPOC communities, including mentorship opportunities for emerging BIPOC artists, in ways that affirm, amplify and honour their voices, humanity and artistry.  

We intend to share this work as we refine these goals and work to implement them.  Please email us at HTYPinfo@gmail.com to discuss these activities or with further suggestions. 

We must do better.
We will do better.
Because Black and Indigenous Lives Matter.

RESOURCES FOR MORE LEARNING

Resources on Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia, offered by the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia:
This link (https://www.csc-ns.ca/anti-black-racism/#in-nova-scotia) includes multiple resources on topics including: 

  • Information on Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia – both historical and present-day;
  • Organizations and Programs that are doing anti-racist work in our Province which you can support today; and
  • Training, Education, and Recommended actions for Organizations to take to make their workplaces anti-racist.

The Canadian Race Relation Foundation provides free learning about racism through a number of excellent online courses.  Visit their catalogue, and sign-up HERE. 

For parents of white children, here are some resources that might give you a new perspective, and some tools to use when talking to children about racism:

HTYP launches our next season!

We are excited to announce our 2019/2020 season!


This fall, we were thrilled to tour Art Attackk! to Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro and to nine schools throughout Nova Scotia from September 24 – October 4th.  All told, Art Attackk! was seen by over 1100 students across Nova Scotia!

 

Debuting spring 2020, we are thrilled to present a new original production: Mi’kmaq Stories: Past and Present. Created by Mi’kmaq artists (including film-maker Catherine Martin, storyteller Shalan Joudrey, theatre artist Lara Lewis and spoken-word artist Rebecca Thomas), Mi’kmaq Stories: Past and Present weaves stories from the past with glimpses into current realities and dreams for the future. Stay tuned for location and dates!

 

Our final production for the season is Jennifer Overton’s Spelling 2-5-5, which tackles the subject of the challenges faced when a family member has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Directed by Samantha Wilson, Spelling 2-5-5 will premiere at Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Festival and tour to schools in June 2020!

 

Contact us at htypinfo@gmail.com to book us for your school!

Brundibar: A Children’s Opera

Brundibár: light-hearted children’s opera framed in bleak history in HTYP show

May 18, 2019 – BY ELISSA BERNARD | THEATRE REVIEW

Context is everything.

The half-hour children’s opera Brundibár, at the Sir James Dunn Theatre this weekend, is like an adorable school play.

However, this delightful piece performed by talented young actors and local classical musicians, was written in 1938 and performed 55 times by children at the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

As opening speaker Lindsay Macumber says, Brundibár was an expression of resistance against the Nazi regime and a solace through art for the camp’s children, most of whom did not survive.

Brundibár was written to be performed by children by Hans Krása with lyrics by Adolf Hoffmeister in Prague in 1938. Its premiere was in German-occupied Prague at the Jewish orphanage before the mass deportation of Jews began in 1942 to Theresienstadt. Krása worked from a smuggled copy to reconstruct the music for instruments available at the camp.

Director Tessa Mendel, artistic director of Halifax Theatre for Young People, reminds her audience of the harsh reality of the concentration camp with a forbidding background wall with barbed wire.

However, the foreground is a wonderful, childlike set of cardboard-box houses, some with lit windows, others with paintings of flowers. Katrin Whitehead based her design on drawings made by children at Theresienstadt, many depicting their former homes.

To stage right are musicians led by music director Eszter Horvath, and including Symphony Nova Scotia players who perform a score that is like liquid sunshine.

Brundibár is a fanciful tale of good triumphing over evil as a brother and sister are desperate to get milk for their mother, who is sick with the flu.

Too poor to buy the milk, they sing for spare change but are drowned out by the nasty organ-grinder Brundibár, played by adult actress Rachel Hastings, accompanied by the cutest five-year-old, gamboling monkeys you’d ever want to see.

Forest animals, including a wonderful, fluttering sparrow, come up with a plan to get the village’s children to support and save the brother and sister. The song about fighting the cruel dictator is wonderful and this cast’s performance of it heightens one’s awareness of history.

In the cast, led in expressive, lively movement by choreographer Veronique MacKenzie, are: Vera Lynn Dunlop-Vaillancourt, Charlie Boyle, Keira Lamey, Emily Gallant, Jasmine Aulenback, Ava Hadley, Vivi Brodin, Brielle Prevost, Linnea Brodin, Emily Feildsend, Brianna Desmond, Ada Bluestein and Eva Provost with Piper Doak as the accordion player.

Designer Elizabeth Perry’s costumes recall the 1940s with newsboy hats, stiff brown shorts with suspenders and leather lace-up boots. Matt Downey’s lighting design is bright and cheerful.

The energy and story are so positive and transporting that the knowledge of the real history makes for a moving, sobering experience for older viewers.

Macumber reminds us that we are again in a time of rising anti-Semitism, along with Islamophobia and racism, and we must resist.

This is the true story of what happened, according to the press release. The opera “was performed 55 times in the camp, including a production for the Red Cross, who were duped by the Nazis into believing Theresienstadt was a model institution where prisoners were well treated. In reality, all of the children, the composer, director and musicians were sent to Auschwitz for extermination following the final performance. Of the 15,000 children interned in Theresienstadt, only just over 100 survived the war.”

Brundibár – four years in the making with a large team of community and theatre members – is on today, 7 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 regular and $10 for students through Ticket Halifax by clicking here:
https://www.tickethalifax.com/events/94107401/brundibr-a-childrens-opera.
Recommended for ages 8 and up, younger children will enjoy the show and may skip the 15-minute talk if parents wish.

Up Next: Brundibar!


HTYP is very excited to announce its latest production: Brundibár, coming to the Sir James Dunn theatre May 18-20th.

Brundibár is an opera written for children and performed at the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. No more than forty minutes long, it was composed in 1938 by Hans Krása, with lyrics by Adolf Hoffmeister and received its premiere in German-occupied Prague at the Jewish Orphanage before the mass transports of Jews to Theresienstadt began in 1942.

Directed by Halifax Theatre for Young People’s Artistic Director Tessa Mendel, with musical direction by Eszter Horvath, the production will feature professional musicians, including Scott MacMillan and members of Symphony Nova Scotia, children from the local community and professional set and lighting designers. The production, along with an educational component, guest speakers and a photography exhibit will take place at Sir James Dunn Theatre in May, 2019 with performances for both schools and the public.

Monster Under the Bed

Lovable monsters take audience on adventure

October 21, 2012 – 8:07am BY ANDREA NEMETZ ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER | THEATRE REVIEW

The Monster Under The Bed won’t have audiences screaming in terror.

It’s more likely they’ll be cracking wide smiles and gig­gling loudly after seeing the latest production by Halifax Theatre for Young People, now onstage at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth.

As the father-daughter mon­sters, Christian Murray and Keel­in Jack are exciting — and excit­able — new playmates for eight­year- old Ben, played with a cheerful can-do-attitude by Si­mon Henderson.

Ben’s soldier father (also played by Murray) gives him a pair of binoculars before he heads off to war. The “noculars” will allow Ben to see his far-away dad.

But Ben’s best friend Vince (Griffin McInnes) steals them, in a slow-motion fight complete with sound effects that gleefully recalls pitched childhood battles. And the next morning, after a fitful sleep, Ben decides he does­n’t want to face Vince at school.

Ben’s mother (Andrea Dy­mond) won’t let him escape school that easily and while Ben stalls in his room, Luca, the girl monster, quickly reaches a long hairy arm out from under the bed to steal his cereal. This confirms Ben’s heretofore unproved theory that monsters are living under his bed and causing him sleep­less nights.

As Luca, Jack crawls, sprawls and rolls her elastic limbs all over the floor, leaping with ex­citement at the thought of getting out from under the bed by taking Ben’s place at school and retriev­ing the binoculars. She’s charm­ing and fun and touchingly inno­cent. And very, very bouncy.

Both end up on unexpected — and highly entertaining — adventures.

Ben gets acquainted with lov­able dad monster, whose craving for food recalls the Cookie Mon­ster on Sesame Street. Luca finds school and the outside world a bit overwhelming with wonder­fully unpredictable and heartfelt results.

Written by Kevin Dyer and directed by Halifax Theatre For Young People co-artistic director Tessa Mendel, The Monster Un­der The Bed is recommended for children ages five and up and will probably be best enjoyed by elementary school students, though there is plenty to enter­tain adults too.

The action on the inventive set by Nathaniel Bassett takes place in a bedroom, with a trap door to a monster’s lair that’s the play­room every child dreams of, and against a backdrop of projections designed by Nick Bottomley that lift the production into a magical realm.

Lighting by Robert Tracey creates a spooky atmosphere in shades of ghostly green, brilliant blue and pleasant purple.

The Monster Under the Bed runs today at 2 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday at 7 p.m., Friday at 10 a.m., and Saturday and next Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 adult, $10 child/youth and $40 family of four. Tickets are available at www.ticketpro.ca or 1-888-311-9090.

(anemetz@herald.ca)

TWISI Review – Amanda Campbell

Playful and Sweet Monsters at HTYP

Posted: October 22nd, 2012

The Monster Under The Bed is Halifax Theatre For Young People’s first play for younger audiences, and it is a playful and sweet one that will be filling Alderney Landing Theatre with giggles until October 28th, 2012.

Ben is eight years old and his father has recently be deployed to a far-away conflict and entrusted him with a pair of binoculars (or ‘noculars, as Ben calls them) with the idea that he can look into them and catch a glimpse of Dad while he is away. When his friend Vince steals the ‘noculars Ben becomes afraid to go to school and face him. He ends up hatching a plan with the young monster under his bed, Luca, sending her off to school in his place to eat Vince and restore the ‘noculars.

British playwright Kevin Dyer has written a fun script here where the ever hungry (and exuberant) Luca tries desperately to fit in at school while Ben is left to contend with her Monster Dad in the world of forgotten rubbish under the bed at home. Simon Henderson plays Ben as a sensitive and thoughtful child, with quick instincts and a strong sense of self reliance. He gives Ben a wonderful depth and specificity that allows him to rise far above the fact that Henderson is an adult playing a child allowing him to live on his own plane of existence. Keelin Jack plays Luca swinging between heartbreaking vulnerability of spirit and a wild, infectious happiness. Henderson and Jack mirror one another nicely. It is suggested that Ben and Luca have almost grown up like twins, although separately, one above and one under the bed, even sharing the same “Comfy” special blanket at night time. I wanted to see more of them playing together as it is clear that together they would make a formidable and imaginative team.

Tessa Mendel’s direction is at its most glorious in the interactions between Ben and the Monster Dad, played by Christian Murray, who has almost entirely transformed into a character out of The Muppets. Henderson and Murray play so effortlessly together in their scenes, whether chasing each other, playing with toy soldiers or drawing out secrets, there is always a perfect mixture of real emotional depth and vivacious physicality under the bed and it is magnetic to watch.

Things are a little more challenging at school because while Jack’s Luca is grounded in a firm sense of individuality and emotional depth, unafraid of a little bit of subtly, the rest of the characters in the outside world are not. Griffin McInnes’ Vince swings between being so bland that one wonders why Ben is afraid of him to being so ruthlessly malicious that one wonders why Ben is friends with him at all. McInnes hits his stride well at the very beginning and very end of the play when Vince and Ben are friends with one another and his dynamic with Henderson when fighting an epic, imaginary multi-weapon duel is perfect. Overall, Vince just needs a little consistency and a little balance. Andrea Dymond plays a gigantic caricature of a stereotype of a little girl as the wildly annoying Celine who feels a bit like “one of these things is not like the other” in relation to the far more subdued portrayals of Ben, Vince and even Luca.

Much of the silliness at school comes from the fact that although Luca and Ben are not even the same species (Luca even has a tail!) she passes for Ben at school wearing only his t-shirt and his glasses. Yet, there are a few aspects of Dyer’s script that seem a bit too contrived to me such as how Ben’s mother conveniently walks “Ben” through the route to school, one that he presumably would know by heart by third grade. Also, I would have liked to see Luca having to invent far more reasons for “Ben’s” odd behaviour rather than the other characters just accepting blindly that he’s suddenly gone completely berserk. I also found it odd that Dyer has Ben and Monster Dad speaking to one another at at least a third-grade level while Ben’s mother (and sometimes also his teacher) speaks to him in baby talk. This may be a commentary on how oblivious adults can be in their interactions with children, but in this context it just seems inconsistent with the world of the play.

In all, however, there are a lot of very silly moments and some very endearing ones as well as Ben and Luca learn about the power of friendship and kindness and facing the fear of the unknown. Nathan Bassett has created a very fun set with lots of nooks and crannies for monsters and shadows to pop in and out of and there is good use of projections and shadow by Nick Bottomley to create the world around the bed.

Don’t be scared, even the littlest children will delight in the earnest sweetness of the monsters under Ben’s bed.

Halifax Theatre For Young People’s production of The Monster Under The Bed plays at Alderney Landing Theatre (2 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) October 24-27th at 7:00pm, October 27 and 28th at 2:00pm and October 26th at 10:00am. Tickets are $10.00 (Child/Youth), $15.00 (Adult) or only $40.00 for a family of four (!). For more information or to book your tickets please call 1-888-311-9090 or visit this website.