Live theatre has sparked joy in me since I was very young. I would beg my mom to take me to see at least one show a year since I was six. Being able to see the action happening in real-time is an experience you’re never going to get watching a movie. The execution of sets, costumes, and lighting helps you transport into their world, discovering things you never would have sitting on your couch watching a recording.
There are even instances in live theatre where the actors directly interact with the audience, putting the audience as a character in the story, not just an observer. I have grown to watch a lot of theatre in my hometown in Ontario, but since moving to Halifax I’ve gotten to learn a lot about the Halifax theatre scene. So let me share what I’ve learned in case you’re interested in seeing a show.
The big theatre in town
If you are interested in going to professional theatre, Neptune is the place for you. Professional theatre consists of a theatre company that runs all its shows out of its own theatre, paying all the actors and other crew part of the making of the production. From now until December, Neptune is putting on four shows: Murder for Two (October 17—November 5), Almost Maine (November 15—19), Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (November 30—December 30), and Cinderella (November 21—January 7).
Music by candlelight
Looking for the more musical aspect of live performances, take a look at going to the Candlelight Concerts. The title of the production is pretty self-explanatory. A string quartet plays an instrumental arrangement of popular songs with a candlelight backdrop, setting the ambience. In the weeks to come, they’ll be performing A Haunted Evening of Halloween Classics (October 20—29), A Tribute to Taylor Swift (November 1), and The Best of Hans Zimmer (November 22).
Community theatre and touring shows
If you’re looking for theatres that host lots of outside artists and productions, look no further than the Bus Stop Theatre and our own Dalhousie Arts Centre. These theatres can host anything from a self-run one-woman show to a cross-Canada touring company. The stand-out upcoming performances at the Bus Stop Theatre are: The Crevice (October 20 and 27), Actual Wizard (October 30), GHOST: All Hallows Eve (October 31), and Sacrilege: A Drag Show (November 4).
The Dalhousie Arts Centre has plenty of great shows throughout the year, but my favourite upcoming picks are: Relive the Music 50s & 60s Show (October 19), and OH WHAT A NIGHT! A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (October 26).
Dal students on stage
Dal’s Fountain School of Performing Arts has its own theatre and music programs that give its students opportunities to do public performances as part of their studies. This year, the fourth year theatre students are performing a production of Middletown (October 17–21). The tickets have already sold out, but they’ll be putting on another show in the spring. The third years will perform their devised show, which is a show they’re creating from the ground up by themselves, in February. I would highly recommend going to see their shows this year, and if you like them, you might be able to see me in a show next year!
Don’t forget to support student-led productions like the Dal Theatre Society. DTS is a club run by the students, for the students, where they produce and star in all their productions. It gives aspiring actors and theatre enthusiasts a chance to shine and perform in front of audiences. This year they’re performing two productions. The first is R.U.R., a play about Helena fighting for the labour rights of a monopolized robot industry that leads to revolution, possibly ending human civilization as we know it. This play is run by the lovely directors Rhys and Riley, and will be on stage in the spring. The second production is Little Women, a play about Jo and her sisters dealing with the struggles of growing up, finding love, and discovering what they want their lives to look like. I’m directing this play which will be running at the end of March.
There’s no end to the possibilities of live theatre, and every show is going to give you an experience you’ll never be able to replicate. And that’s the beauty of it. A once in a lifetime experience.