In the spring of 2009, for its first production, Halifax Theatre YP presented an adaptation of well-known author Sheree Fitch’s novel for young adults,The Gravesavers at the large new Bella Rose Arts Centre in Halifax West High School, in the heart of the fastest growing suburban area of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The play was a huge audience and critical success. Particularly noted were the substantial scale of the design elements and the complexity and depth of the work, making it enjoyable for all ages. Reviewers wrote: “Chris Heide’s theatrical adaptation has captured the beauty and poetry of Fitch’s work. Tessa Mendel’s capable and inspired direction ensures that even young kids will be spellbound” “Halifax Theatre for Young People’s debut [is] intense…The Gravesavers is complex and multi-layered in plot and design… a well-told, well-made drama.”
In April 2010 we produced Paul Ledoux’s Merlin with actors Gordon White, John Dartt, Karen Bassett, Lee J. Campbell, Drew O’Hara, John Beale, Leanna Todd, Els Bullock and Wayne Burns. Merlin was directed by Tessa Mendel, set designer was Bryan Kenney, costumes were by Jenn Coe, sound by Terry Pulliam and LX by Mike Mader.(“Halifax Theatre for Young People pulls the rabbit out of the hat again”)
In The Fall /
In This World
In the fall of 2011, HTYP produced two One Act plays at Alderney Landing Theatre. In the Fall, written by Chris Heide based on the Alistair MacLeod short story, featured Glen Matthews and Doug MacAulay. In The Fall was directed by Tessa Mendel, set and lights design by Evan Brown, projection design by Nick Bottomley, costume design by Jennifer Coe and sound design by Terry Pulliam.
In This World, by Hannah Moscovitch, featured Kristin Slaney and Helena Pipe. In This World was directed by Tessa Mendel, with set and lights by Evan Brown, costumes by Jennifer Coe, sound by Terry Pulliam and projections by Nick Bottomley.
The Monster Under The Bed
Halifax Theatre for Young People, HRM’s only full-time professional theatre for all ages, produced ‘The Monster Under the Bed’, by Kevin Dyer, at Alderney Landing from October 19th to 28th, in conjunction with the Bluenose Ghosts Festival.
A sweet, funny story about a boy called Ben, whose father, a soldier, gives him a pair of binoculars before going off to war. When Ben’s best friend Vince takes them, Ben attempts revenge by swapping places with the monster who lives under his bed and disaster ensues. Set in ‘Over bed’ and ‘Under bed’, the play (by playwright Kevin Dyer), is inhabited by a father and child monster who climb on walls, eat small animals, scale mountains and fly. ‘The Monster Under the Bed’ is a glorious romp, an exploration of the monsters who live inside all of us, and a celebration of imagination and its ability to help us face our fears.
Patron Saint of Stanley Park
Halifax Theatre for Young People produced Hiro Kanagawa’s poetic, moving and magical play, The Patron Saint of Stanley Park at Alderney Landing, December 13 – 22, 2013.
The play begins on a wild and stormy Christmas Eve when a mysterious ‘displaced person’, Skookum Pete, rescues two children: 11 year old Josh and 14 year old Jennifer. Josh and Jennifer have come to Stanley Park to remember their father, who disappeared a year before in a plane crash. To escape the storm, Skookum Pete takes them to a fantastical world beneath Stanley Park’s Prospect Point. During the course of the dramatic night the children experience mysterious visions as they grapple with their loss – visions which help them understand the truth about their father, the power of belief, and the healing strength of love.
With John Dartt, Samantha Wilson, David Rossetti, Nicholas LeBlanc and Ava Peill.
Directed by Tessa Mendel
Design by Bryan Kenney and Jessica Wong.
Two in the Coop
Written by Ron Fromstein, Two in the Coop is the story of Brad and Pete – two fledglings who must decide how to cope when their mother does not return to the nest as expected. Two in the Coop was originally mounted for the 2014 Stages/Magnetic North Theatre Festival and dubbed a “touching and heartwarming piece of theatre” by The Chronicle Herald. It toured to Ship’s Company Theatre and Chester Playhouse in 2015,and tours to Capitol Theatre, Moncton, deCoste Centre, Pictou, MIPAC in Windsor, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay in 2017.
Through clever banter, bickering and bravado, the playwright explores children’s fears of abandonment and death, sibling relationships and power dynamics, and the many anxieties of coming of age. Equal parts humorous and profound, the play tackles sensitive topics with ease and grace.
With Taylor Olsen and Tom Lute
Directed by Tessa Mendel
Design by Garrett Barker
David for Queen
Originally written by John Lazarus, and adapted by Kristin Slaney, David for Queen is the funny, moving story of a junior high student coming to terms with his sexual identity in an unsupportive world.
David seems to have everything going for him; a great girlfriend, a popular best friend, good grades, and run of the school’s news show, but he also has a secret. So when a cruel bully enters him in the race for Prom Queen, he wonders if he shouldn’t stay in the race to prove a point. David has gone far by following the rules, but to be honest with himself and others, he might have to break a few and risk losing those he loves.
One audience member commented,”Fantastic show. Heartbreaking and heartwarming. Funny and crushing. Hits every right key of the emotional turmoil of discovering one’s identity and watching someone go through that turmoil from the perspective of a friend, parent and school administration.”
Alderney Landing Theatre, November 2014.
With James MacLean, Mary-Fay Coady, Taylor Olsen, Christian Murray and Samantha Wilson.
Directed by Tessa Mendel
Design by Evan Wade Brown, Emlyn Murray, Nicholas Bottomley, Jocelyn Pringle and Terry Pulliam
God’s Middle Name
In June 2015, as part of Next Stages Theatre Festival for Families and in partnership with Eastern Front Theatre, HTYP produced a new version of the critically acclaimed play, God’s Middle Name by Halifax playwright, Jennifer Overton. God’s Middle Name is the award-winning,poignant true story of a mother’s journey to accept her son’s autism and the multiple challenges of living with autism.
With Joanne Miller, Christian Murray and Ezra Mendel
Directed by Tessa Mendel
Design by Garrett Barker
Where Poppies Blow
Gus’s older brother Eddy is away, fighting at the Front. The play unfolds over a day in Gus’s life, beginning at his home at breakfast time and moving from there to the Ladies Knitting
Regiment, on to the Military Hospital and finally ending at his school, where he receives the news that his brother has died. Gus’s journey resonates on many levels. His physical journey
through the day and through the town mirrors Gus’s emotional journey toward an understanding of the pain that war brings.
A comedy about depression
Liz and Ethan are navigating the pitfalls of being a teenager in 2016, while dealing with their own depression and anxiety. Along the way they meet the Superhero Red Fish who claims he’s only here to help them… but what happens when our innermost voice becomes our worst enemy?
Written by Taylor Olsen and Rachel Hastings, and performed by the playwrights with James MacLean, Red Fish debuted at the Eastern Front Theatre Stages Theatre Festival in the spring of 2018, and has toured in New Brunswick, and throughout Nova Scotia on a number of occasions.
Nine Compositions: Interactions With Art
Showcasing a diversity of voices, the playwrights were chosen with a focus on inclusion from the African Nova Scotian, Indigenous,LGBTQ+ and MAD communities. Playwrights Catherine Banks, Laura Burke, Richie Wilcox, Tara Reddick, Jacob Sampson, Meghan Hubley, Lindsay Wilson, Catherine Martin, and Ashlan McCulloch have woven stories of cats, skateboards, climate change, friendship, Maud Lewis, and more into an immersive theatre experience that took place in gallery spaces throughout the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in November 2017.
Directed by Mary-Colin Chisholm, Laura VIngoe-Cram and HTYP Artistic Director, Tessa Mendel with a cast of fourteen actors.
Three short plays by Nova Scotian playwrights inspired by original Nova Scotian art! Art Attackk! is a “vibrant and fascinating mix of art and theatre”. This funny and endearing show includes a hip hop musical, the story of an unexpected friendship and a eulogy for a cat! Art Attackk! hits kids where they live and demonstrates that art and creativity can help us understand, accept, and express our emotions and connect with others.
Compiled from the “Nine Compositions: Interactions with Art”, Art Attackk! has toured Nova Scotia twice since its creation in 2017, and has delighted and inspired thousands of students. With Henricus Gielis, Sam Vigneault and Rachel Lloyd. Design by Katrin Whitehead.
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. The production, along with an educational component, guest speakers and a photography exhibit took place at Sir James Dunn Theatre in May, 2019 with performances for both schools and the public.
Directed by Halifax Theatre for Young People’s Artistic Director Tessa Mendel, with musical direction by Eszter Horvath, the production featured professional musicians, including Scott MacMillan and members of Symphony Nova Scotia, children from the local community and professional set and lighting designers.