Theatre New Brunswick announces 24/25 season

Category: stage 108

Theatre New Brunswick continues its reinvention with more NB stories, expanded touring, Indigenous music, and an exciting 180 on decades of holiday programming.

Matt Carter

Theatre New Brunswick’s 2024-2025 season is on track to be one of the company’s most diverse seasons to date with New Brunswick history, New Brunswick playwrights, theatre by mail and a tour that will take the company outside provincial borders for the first time in many years. 

“If we think of 2023/2024 as the year we took risks, this is the year where we now reap the rewards of that and everything we’ve learned,” said Natasha Maclellan, Theatre New Brunswick’s artistic director. “It’s like we’ve unlocked a new achievement in a video game where things are harder but better and we have access to better things. I’m excited for a lot of that. I’m excited to play with new ideas and be in this new space we’ve opened up for ourselves. I think it’s going to be great.”

The season begins with the return of Vern Thiessen’s play Bluebirds, which made its world premiere at TNB in the fall of 2022. This fall will see the popular play tour the province once again, followed by TNB’s first performances in Nova Scotia in many decades with October performances in Pictou, Windsor, Yarmouth, Chester and Dartmouth. 

When we toured Bluebirds in 2022, we played to many sold-out audiences in New Brunswick,” said MacLellan. “Many of my colleagues in Nova Scotia were hearing the buzz about the show, and a few came to catch the show on the road. I had a few enquiries about if it would travel again, and would we bring it to Nova Scotia. I happen to be quite proud of the show, and believe TNB should be getting more mileage out of our shows. By that I mean, if we are building touring shows here in Fredericton, and we tour the province, why not send our shows further afield, and get more return on our investment? Share our stories with more people?

In November, TNB will stage a special musical performance featuring the original songs and music from Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier)’s 2018 production Finding Wolastoq Voice. The play made its world premiere with TNB, toured the province and was part of the inaugural season of the National Arts Centre’s Indigenous Centre. For this special series of performances, Samaqani Cocahq will join with Pokəholakənəl Witsehkehsolticik (Sisters of the Drum) and musician Dawson Sacobie for three Fredericton performances and a tour of NB Indigenous communities.  

After decades of producing theatre for the holiday season, TNB will flip the script on tradition with a world premiere theatre experience told entirely through letters delivered by Canada Post. Written by New Brunswick born playwright Don Hannah, Greetings takes the form of 12 pieces of correspondence between a New Brunswick family spanning from 1924-2024. One Hundred Years of Family Life — birthdays, funerals, wars, and feuds; engagements, breakups, elopements, elections, school days, and holidays; tears, queers, debts, and secrets; I love yous, I hate yous… and all the news in between. 

“Greetings is a story told entirely through letters,” said MacLellan. “There is no public presentation. When you buy a ticket, you sign up for twelve mail deliveries, and you learn about each generation of that family, and how the family grows and relates and shares news over the span of 100 years through the cards and mail they send each other at Christmas time. It’s an epic, intimate and beautiful story about a family tree and how it splits, mends and comes back together.”

The company’s professional season concludes with O’Brien, by NB playwright Thomas Hodd. 

The O’Brien family are a third-generation Irish family, living and working in Saint John, New Brunswick. It is 1914, and Hap O’Brien, a conductor for the Saint John Street Railway Company, is raising two sons with wife Kate. The family is forced to confront the real-world turmoil of social and labour unrest in Saint John, on the eve of the First World War.

Last, but certainly not least, TNB’s Young Company will be touring two productions to New Brunswick students, both with environmental themes. Tree Boy by Michelle Riml is about a young boy who decides to live in a tree after learning of his father’s plans of destroying it, and Tuhkiyawolotipon (We Are Awake) by Samaqani Cocahq is about three Indigenous youth who discover they might be the only people left on the planet. 

I am an environmentalist, this is well known,” said MacLellan. “And, truthfully, TNB as a company has come to embrace our role in the climate crisis, as storytellers. We talk about our duty as artists, as an institution and as a place that is a hub of activity, for people of all ages. We are very green in our approach to design, and we are as green as we can be in our business practices. In fact, we recently purchased a few Terra Cycle boxes, so that our staff, students, board and visiting artists can recycle items that are hard to recycle locally. In addition to our business practices, we sometimes like to incorporate these themes into our shows, too. Last year we did Wood Buffalo, which was about the oil industry. This year, Tree Boy and Tuhkiyawolotipon (We Are Awake) are two stories that approach the subject of the relationship between humans and the land, through different lenses, for different age groups.”

Tickets go on sale in July. For more details on each show, visit tnb.nb.ca

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