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River Clyde Pageant being held July 30 and 31


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NEW GLASGOW - There’s a lot of magic running through the River Clyde these days.

A singing oysterman, talking blue herons and some hungry trolls from under the bridge are just a few of the colourful characters who’ve been gathering along the river during the past couple months.

It’s all part of an enchanting journey audiences will take during the River Clyde Pageant being held on July 30 and 31.

The pageant uses multiple outdoor venues along the river to create a fantasy story while also re-visiting the area’s history to highlight an environmental message.

The sold-out production saw tickets reserved by donation, which includes a dinner at The Mill in New Glasgow, and is a collaboration involving over 60 volunteers from first-time performers to seasoned actors, artists and musicians.

“It’s a celebration of community and the imagination, spirits and talents of those in the community,” said Megan Stewart, who is the pageant’s co-director with Ker Wells. “There’s so many people involved from the performers to the people making the costumes and puppets. There’s also Chef Emily Wells (owner of The Mill) and her staff involved in creating the community supper.”

The pageant’s story begins, rain or shine, at the Little Victory Micro Farm and follows a group of children who go to the river to fish but instead find the singing oysterman.

From there, the audience will follow the children on a magical journey throughout locations along the scenic river, including the Gardens of Hope and the bridge on New Glasgow Road.

Along the way, there will also be stilt performers, large-scale puppets and a choir.

While the pageant aims to be enchanting and fun, it’s also meant to further discussion about the environmental concerns facing P.E.I.’s rivers and waterways.

The inspiration came after Ker was involved in a similar production named “The Weather Project” in rural New York, which helped further a collaborative discussion around climate change that wasn’t politically divisive.

In 2014, Ker was on his way to teach at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University when he stopped in P.E.I. to visit his sister, Emily, who had just taken over The Mill.

Admiring the river next to the restaurant, Ker was surprised to find out it was only about four feet at its deepest.

“Years ago, they used to build ships up the river, so evidently it would have been much deeper,” he said.

The pageant was then born to address some of the issues threatening waterways, such as runoff and anoxic events, which have been growing in public awareness.

“It seems to me now there’s much more of a local movement asking that these things be addressed,” said Ker. “This was the perfect theme. There are many beautiful rivers in P.E.I. but the River Clyde through New Glasgow is really striking.”

With the duo being enthusiastic about the idea, Ker returned to Vancouver where he connected with Stewart, who was at Simon Fraser University.

The three held a community meeting at The Mill last year, which saw an enthusiastic response and helped secure $14,000 in federal funding from the Canada Council Artists and Community Collaboration Program.

The pageant wraps up where its inspiration began with a community supper at The Mill.

Audience members will be able to meet those involved in the production and discuss the story’s larger themes promoting environmental stewardship.

“It’s a subject that’s important to anyone who lives here whether you’re a farmer, visitor, someone who fishes for trout or is just concerned about the environment in general,” said Ker, who noted the “remarkable” response from the many community collaborators involved in the project.

“They’ve put in an amazing amount of work, creativity and goodwill. And there’s really something inspiring about that.”

 

mitch.macdonald@tc.tc

Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

 

Need to know

The pageant is being held along the River Clyde in New Glasgow. Tickets for both shows have already sold out, although the production is also being filmed.

Those interested can reserve tickets to attend a dress rehearsal on Friday, July 29, although those tickets are also limited.

For more information on the production or to make a donation, go to www.riverclydepageant.com/tickets

 

At a glance

The River Clyde Pageant is a community collaboration led by co-directors Megan Stewart and Ker Wells, as well as local liaison and community supper organizer Chef Emily Wells.

Stewart just completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She was also one of the creators of Art in the Open's Crow Parade in Charlottetown and co-founder of the Island Fringe Festival, which she coordinated during its first three years.

Ker graduated from Mount Allison University and The National Theatre School of Canada. He was a founding member of Primus Theatre and Number Eleven Theatre and has performed and directed across the world. He teaches in Simon Fraser University’s School of Contemporary Arts.

NEW GLASGOW - There’s a lot of magic running through the River Clyde these days.

A singing oysterman, talking blue herons and some hungry trolls from under the bridge are just a few of the colourful characters who’ve been gathering along the river during the past couple months.

It’s all part of an enchanting journey audiences will take during the River Clyde Pageant being held on July 30 and 31.

The pageant uses multiple outdoor venues along the river to create a fantasy story while also re-visiting the area’s history to highlight an environmental message.

The sold-out production saw tickets reserved by donation, which includes a dinner at The Mill in New Glasgow, and is a collaboration involving over 60 volunteers from first-time performers to seasoned actors, artists and musicians.

“It’s a celebration of community and the imagination, spirits and talents of those in the community,” said Megan Stewart, who is the pageant’s co-director with Ker Wells. “There’s so many people involved from the performers to the people making the costumes and puppets. There’s also Chef Emily Wells (owner of The Mill) and her staff involved in creating the community supper.”

The pageant’s story begins, rain or shine, at the Little Victory Micro Farm and follows a group of children who go to the river to fish but instead find the singing oysterman.

From there, the audience will follow the children on a magical journey throughout locations along the scenic river, including the Gardens of Hope and the bridge on New Glasgow Road.

Along the way, there will also be stilt performers, large-scale puppets and a choir.

While the pageant aims to be enchanting and fun, it’s also meant to further discussion about the environmental concerns facing P.E.I.’s rivers and waterways.

The inspiration came after Ker was involved in a similar production named “The Weather Project” in rural New York, which helped further a collaborative discussion around climate change that wasn’t politically divisive.

In 2014, Ker was on his way to teach at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University when he stopped in P.E.I. to visit his sister, Emily, who had just taken over The Mill.

Admiring the river next to the restaurant, Ker was surprised to find out it was only about four feet at its deepest.

“Years ago, they used to build ships up the river, so evidently it would have been much deeper,” he said.

The pageant was then born to address some of the issues threatening waterways, such as runoff and anoxic events, which have been growing in public awareness.

“It seems to me now there’s much more of a local movement asking that these things be addressed,” said Ker. “This was the perfect theme. There are many beautiful rivers in P.E.I. but the River Clyde through New Glasgow is really striking.”

With the duo being enthusiastic about the idea, Ker returned to Vancouver where he connected with Stewart, who was at Simon Fraser University.

The three held a community meeting at The Mill last year, which saw an enthusiastic response and helped secure $14,000 in federal funding from the Canada Council Artists and Community Collaboration Program.

The pageant wraps up where its inspiration began with a community supper at The Mill.

Audience members will be able to meet those involved in the production and discuss the story’s larger themes promoting environmental stewardship.

“It’s a subject that’s important to anyone who lives here whether you’re a farmer, visitor, someone who fishes for trout or is just concerned about the environment in general,” said Ker, who noted the “remarkable” response from the many community collaborators involved in the project.

“They’ve put in an amazing amount of work, creativity and goodwill. And there’s really something inspiring about that.”

 

mitch.macdonald@tc.tc

Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

 

Need to know

The pageant is being held along the River Clyde in New Glasgow. Tickets for both shows have already sold out, although the production is also being filmed.

Those interested can reserve tickets to attend a dress rehearsal on Friday, July 29, although those tickets are also limited.

For more information on the production or to make a donation, go to www.riverclydepageant.com/tickets

 

At a glance

The River Clyde Pageant is a community collaboration led by co-directors Megan Stewart and Ker Wells, as well as local liaison and community supper organizer Chef Emily Wells.

Stewart just completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She was also one of the creators of Art in the Open's Crow Parade in Charlottetown and co-founder of the Island Fringe Festival, which she coordinated during its first three years.

Ker graduated from Mount Allison University and The National Theatre School of Canada. He was a founding member of Primus Theatre and Number Eleven Theatre and has performed and directed across the world. He teaches in Simon Fraser University’s School of Contemporary Arts.

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