Ready to shine
New Christmas show, ‘Light Up the Dark! An Arts Education Celebration’, shines light on work that is being in arts education at the Confederation Centre of the Arts
As Peggy Reddin was envisioning the annual holiday show for the Confederation Centre of the Arts this year, her thoughts turned to previous productions.
Whether musicals or pantomimes of comedy-filled shows like “Cinderella: A Fairly Tall Tale”, “Aladdin” or “Robyn Hood”, each had provided a wonderful, theatrical experience for the audience.
“Thinking about the show, over the years, left us wondering ‘where do we want to take it next? Maybe it was time for something
new,” says Reddin, director of Arts Education at the Confederation Centre.
She received her answer when she realized the 2018 show coincided with the 30th birthday of dance umbrella, a centre program.
Suddenly her thoughts switched from looking for a script to looking at arts education and “all the work being done at the centre that sometimes flies below the radar because classes are more process driven than product driven.”
“We thought, let’s use the Christmas production to really showcase what we do in arts education,” says Reddin, adding the result of her creative exercise is “Light Up the Dark! An Arts Education Celebration”, a onenight-only show coming to the Homburg Theatre stage on Friday, Dec. 14.
Directed by actor/educator Jody Racicot, the spirited variety concert is a celebration of more than 90 emerging artists, as well as the winter solstice – the end of the year and the return of the sun.
“Light Up the Dark!” will include approximately 75 performers, including students from the School of Performing Arts (SoPA) dance and theatre programs, the SoPA school show choir, the SoPA-tones and SoPA’s Celtic Music Ensemble as well as the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors who will perform a selection of winter tales based on traditional Mi’kmaq legends, under the direction of Julie Pellisier-Lush.
Other participants include select classes from dance umbrella, ranging from 10 to 70 years of age. The dance component of the show is varied with dance
umbrella students performing pieces from “The Nutcracker”.
“That’s the closest to Christmas that we’re going to get,” laughs Reddin, adding the program will include “Waltz of the Snowflakes”, “Ladies in White Tutus” and a classical ballet number choreographed by Kiley Fudge Jensen. The younger, intermediate ballet group are doing the Russian and Chinese Tea dances, also from the “Nutcracker” and the performance group is doing a contemporary and jazz piece.
There will also be student generated work from SoPA and group choreography by Fudge Jensen, as well.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be very fulfilling for the people who come to take in the evening,” says Reddin, who is equally enthused about the art component of the show which is being coordinated by Kate Sharpley, visual arts educator, in collaboration with the P.E.I. Newcomers Association.
“I’m so glad that Kate will have her exhibit happening, at the same time, in Memorial Hall,” says Reddin.
The art show features the work of 13 teenagers, showcasing printing, painting, drawing or papier-mâché.
“They’re doing amazing work. They’re more engaged because they have both choice and ownership. This week the papier-mâché pieces are ready to go and the painting and printing are still in progress,” says Sharpley.
Next week it’s up to the show’s director to put the pieces of the variety show together.
“I’m there to take all these separate entities together that fall under the Confederation Centre, plus the Mi’Kmaq Legends and present what the visionaries have in mind and put it into one congruous evening of entertainment,” says Racicot.
He is hoping to create some magical moments.
“We’re going to see artists expressing themselves quite clearly through the theme, ‘Light up the dark’.”
Confederation Centre art students work on their projects during a recent class. Their creations will be included in an art exhibit as part of “Light Up the Dark! An Arts Education Celebration.From left are Nawal Khailil, Anna Alkhouri, Vivian Huang and Marilia Vanderlei.
Organizers of “Light Up the Dark! An Arts Education Celebration” are excited about the one-night-only show at the Homburg Theatre stage of the Confederation Centre of the Arts on Friday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. From left are Jody Racicot, director, Peggy Reddin, director of Arts Education, Confederation Centre, and Kate Sharpley, visual arts educator, Confederation Centre.
Julie Pellissier-Lush appears in a handout photo. She will direct the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors in some winter tales based on traditional Mi’kmaq legends in the show.
Theatre students from Confederation Centre and Holland College’s School of Performing Arts will also perform in the show. From left are Kassinda Bulger, Adan Loreto Ruiz, Kibbi Hipolito Mayoleytte and Ivan de Jesus Valdes.
Molly Rainnie, left, and Jayne Goss are two of the dance umbrella students taking part in the show.