Ghosts, Clairvoyants and Laughter

Category: stage 60

Branch Out Productions returns to the stage in October with a production of Noel Coward’s supernatural comedy Blithe Spirit. 

Matt Carter 

The 2021 fall season welcomes the return of in-person performances on a level not seen in nearly two years. From music to dance to theatre, performers in cities and towns across the country are slowly brushing off the dust and getting back to what they do best. And Fredericton is no exception. After most live theatre shows went on hold back in March of 2020, climbing vaccination rates and revised safety measures have helped pave the way for the long awaited “return to normalcy” many of us have been patiently looking forward to. At least when it comes to big stage entertainment. 

Branch Out Productions are getting back into the swing of things with its first full scale production in nearly two years. With a new production of Noel Coward’s supernatural comedy Blithe Spirit set to hit the Bernard Poirier Theatre stage (Centre communautaire Sainte-Anne) October 14-16, BOP’s Artistic Director Ben Harrison is looking forward to once again producing theatre on stage before a live audience. 

“I’m ecstatic to be working on a live, in-theatre production again,” said Harrison. “Throughout the pandemic we’ve been able to produce several online shows and even a few small scale in-studio productions but nothing has felt quite like the feeling you get on opening night of a live production on a ‘real’ stage.” 

BOP’s upcoming show couldn’t be more timely. Blithe Spirit mixes ghosts and seances with a healthy dose of humour, an ideal return to the stage just in time for Halloween.

“When we were looking at shows for this season we knew we wanted to showcase our comedic chops,” said Harrison. “The world has seen enough heaviness over the last year and a half, I think we could all use a good laugh! 

“I decided to open the season with Blithe Spirit because it’s a classic Noel Coward farce and has these terrific moments of drama and romance mixed in. It’s a captivating story and allows us, as a company, to explore physical comedy and the controlled chaos that comes with a farce!”

To add an additional spark to the company’s return to the stage, BOP have hired a pair of local filmmakers to help bolster the play’s haunting atmosphere.

“We’ve hired two Fredericton filmmakers, Kaitlin Adair and Kaliegh Stultz, as Mischief Managers to work on the practical effects for the show,” said Harrison. “We’re using techniques for the illusions that probably would have been used when the show was first produced in 1941! I’m really excited at what these two will bring to the show.”

Tickets are $20 (General Admission) and $15 for Students and Seniors and are on sale now at www.branchoutproductions.ca, from the cast and at the door.

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