PRESS

Tweed & Co. Theatre announces 2016 season

The Tweed & Co. Theatre’s 9th season is shaping up to be its most ambitious to date.

The group’s first production of 2016 is a new musical being created by the Tweed & Com. ensemble, titled The Times They Are A Changing.

This show will centre around the world changing events of the 60’s and will feature fan favourite songs of those days — including music by Bob Dylan, the Beatles and others.

The glory days of television, the space race, and the Vietnam war were just some of the events that made this the defining decade of a generation. The production will both celebrate those events while reminding the audience of the peril of repeating history.

This production will also be a co-fundraiser with the Tweed Refugee Sponsorship Committee to assist in its fundraising to support a Syrian refugee family.

“Theatre is a medium dedicated to social justice and positive world change, and we are incredibly passionate about this project, and overjoyed to be working with this inspiring and remarkable group of volunteers,” said Tim Porter, artistic director of Tweed & Co. Theatre, in a press release.

The show will feature a cast of six of rock and musical theatre performers with all proceeds from the production split evenly between the two group.

The Times They Are A Changing will play at the Marble Arts Centre in Tweed on May 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. All tickets will be $20. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Before and after the show and at intermission audience members can get a drink or a snack at the bar, to bid on a silent auction, and to learn more about the two organizations.

“For our second production, we are very excited to announce a huge programming COUP for Tweed & Co., a first for our group, and a first for the area,” said Porter in the release.

Salt Water Moon will make it’s professional debut in Hastings County from July 20 to 24 at the Marble Arts Centre in Tweed. This show will marks the first fully produced play presented by the company.

The show is Canada’s most produced and most successful straight play, and has seen successful productions across the country and around the world, including a current run at the Factory theatre in Toronto.

The play takes place in Newfoundland on a moon-filled night in Coley’s Point in 1926. Eighteen-year-old Jacob Mercer has returned from Toronto to this tiny Newfoundland outport, hoping to win back his former sweetheart, Mary Snow. But Mary has become engaged to wealthy Jerome McKenzie, and she is still hurt and bewildered by Jacob’s abrupt departure a year earlier.

While the show is not a musical it will feature new instrumentations created by the Tweed and Company ensemble.

Salt-Water Moon won the 1985 Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Drama, the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, the Hollywood Drama-Logue Critics’ Award, and was a finalist for the 1985 Governor-General’s Award for Drama.

Also returning this season is The Dark Night Cabaret — a night of music, laughter, and dance.

The one night only presentation, which Tweed & Co began in its 2010 season, has been absent for a few years,

During the run of Salt Water Moon, the actors from that production — as well as several of the theatre’s most popular ensemble members along with some local talent — will take the stage to present a one night only evening of special skills, hidden talents, crowd favourites, original pieces, and Broadway Standards.

“This is our most exciting season to date, and we are overjoyed to be returning to Tweed and to Hastings County with another thrilling season of professional live theatre for our ever growing audience,” said Porter.

Tickets for all shows are available online at http://www.tweedandcompany.com, or in person at the Tweed News.

ALECK BELL Rock’s Tweed

Every once in a rare while, a quiet show comes along that takes the stage and audiences by storm.

Such a show is the current IANA Theatre Company’s “Aleck Bell,” which continues its run in the Tweed Arts Centre theatre in Actinolite Thursday through Saturday this week.

At its core, it is a serious, informative, fact-based story of famous Canadian inventor Alexander Graham Bell. But, this production is done with wit, humour, enthusiasm and tons of talent by a youthful cast of eight.

Described as a “Canadian pop rock musical,” the show might be called a hybrid between a revue, which is a collection of songs or skits, and a musical. The songs – and there are a dozen or more – are essentially established hits by Canadian writers or performers, but they are cleverly chosen to fit in perfectly with the story line of the inventor. From hard, screaming rock, to gentle folk-style songs, like “Say Goodbye Love” and “Hallelujah,” the cast performs on various instruments, showing their versatility with choir-like ensemble numbers as well as solos.

The question is: How does a show like this wind up in Tweed? Well folks, to quote the great Al Jolson – “You ain’t seen nuthin yet.”

It begins with Tim Porter, native Tweed lad, who cut his theatrical teeth in the Stirling Festival Theatre’s Young Company, went on to formal theatre studies, and has returned for several shows at Stirling, as well as in Toronto and elsewhere. He might be described as a type of Ontario theatre wunderkind.

Last year, he put together a cast to perform a bright, saucy show called The Tweed Musical. That show is now set to run in the Papermill Theatre in Toronto at Broadview and Danforth from Aug. 18-27. And, said Porter in a brief interview, he expects Aleck Bell will follow that route. The few performance dates in Actinolite are “workshops,” he said, in preparation for bigger things.

This cast plays multiple roles each; they sing; they dance, they play various instruments and they do it with conviction, plenty of smiles and the right chemistry in interactions between family members, friends and Bell’s true-life love interest and marriage with one of his deaf pupils. There is no hint of amateurism or awkwardness throughout. Most of them have already made their mark in professional theatre. The choreography is, at times, spectacular.

Porter said the name of Bell came into his head as an inspiration. He then recruited friend and colleague Joel MacMeekin to write the show, which Porter himself directed.

One can hardly say enough about the stage presence of all the characters, especially Andre Morin, another Stirling theatre veteran, as the young Bell, Karine Berube as his wife, Mabel and chameleon-like Danielle Leger who reminds one of the late Gilda Radner in her ability to mime and create vocal distortions.

Perhaps my wife, Nancy, said it best: “With young talent like this, the future of Canadian theatre is in good hands.”

This brings up the obvious point that one should see these destined stars of tomorrow this week while they have the chance.

“Aleck Bell” runs as a full show at 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. The cast offers a cut-down “cabaret” version on Friday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for students and seniors and $20 for regular admission for the full show, $10 for the cabaret. Tickets are available at the door or visit the website: http://www.ianatheatre.com for more details.

JACK EVANS- THE BELLEVILLE INTELIGENCER

PRAISE FOR TWEED & CO’S GODSPELL

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“As good as anything I’ve seen in Toronto and on Broadway”.

-Bill (Tweed, ON)

“Outstanding”

-Richard Turtle (EMC)

“Saw #godspell was AMAZING! Maybe one day ill be on that stage 🙂 @IANATheatre”

-@wickedlyinlove

“If you have attended IANA productions in the past but have yet to watch their rendition of Godspell, you are in for a treat.  The first thing you will notice is the rise in production value in everything from the set to the seats.  While this adds to the performance greatly, it is in fact the dynamic cast that really puts this show a step above IANA’s past productions.  This show has amazing choreography, humour and a healthy splash of drama that adds up to a show you will not want to miss.”

-Lacy Meeks (The Tweed News)

“A must see!”

-Delima (Belleville, ON)

“Saw Godspell last night it was hot, crazy and delightful all at once.  What a talented bunch. Didn’t even mind staying up late.”

-Robert (Madoc, ON)

“Congratulations on a fantastic production.  Your Godspell was energetic, beautifully performed, and innovative.  My friends and I loved it, and we were so glad that I stumbled across your website.  I saw the original Chicago company of Godspell, the movie (of course,) a local church production, and a production done by a group of my former drama students (and considering my favorite people did that, it was hard to beat in my eyes.)  I think your production was the best of all I’ve seen.  You breathed new life into the show.  Kudos! I was particularly blown away by the accompaniment.  Your pianists seamlessly took over from each other without a hitch.  Wow!  And to see the other actors play so many instruments…you are indeed blessed with a talented group!”

-Russell (Houston, TX)

“@IANATheatre Great Show tonight!!! What a performance. Very talented cast….. #Godspell”

-@morningman09

“Just returned from Godspell…what a wicked performance and to a full house…yeah Tim and another hit!!!. At intermission everyone was raving about all the actors, their energy and their wide variety of musical and acting talents. You got to get out and see this musical. Congratulations to one and all”

-Don (Tweed, ON)

“You have a VERY TALENTED & lovely troupe!!! ~ CONGRATULATIONS to each & every one of you for all your hard work, your dedication & committment to your craft…it shows!!! WELL DONE!!! Thank you for sharing your exuberant hearts, your talent & passion!!! You really “brought it!” ~ Blessings & Cheers to you! =)”

-Tammy (Stirling, On)

“Godspell was terrific! Amazing job as always! @IANAtheatre”

-@missalyssaross

“Well Porter, you’ve done it again (with tremendous help from your wonderful cast and crew)! Great show!”

-Katherine (Tweed, ON)

“WHAT A TALENTED CAST!!!!!  I know very few bible stories, but I know that this cast is so talented.  I was impressed by the way Tim made full creative use of such a small stage.  I was extremely impressed by the crucifixion scene.  “Oh God, I’m Bleeding”, brought me to tears.  James King did a beautiful job.  This talented cast could easily be in any Mirvish production based on their talent.  Their voices blew me away once again.  They were all just so very, very talented.  Amazing AGAIN.   It’s obvious that Tim knows talent.  We need to show Iana our love.  We need to show them that we appreciate their hard work, and extreme talent so that Tweed continues to be blessed with high quality theatre.”

-Tristan (Tweed, ON)

“@IANATheatre saw Godspell last night. Amazing show put on by amazing people. Everyone should go experience professional local talents!”

-@BMewett

“The youth and energy of the IANA team under the able direction of Tim Porter provided a compelling performance at the Marble Church Art Centre. The audience experienced live theatre as good as one would have in Toronto or New York at a small fraction of the price. They rewarded the casts’ delivery with a substantial standing ovation. Bravo IANA!”

-Wayne (Tweed, ON)