Celebrating drama kids with Everybody Loves Robbie

This week’s theatre news comes from the Citadel, which is about to open Cost of Living, a Pulitzer-winning play written by Martyna Majok. They play features two performers who use wheelchairs. As part of bringing this show to Edmonton, the Citadel unveiled new accessibility upgrades to the Shoctor Theatre, which are certainly long overdue and very welcome. There are now two fully accessible washrooms backstage for the performers to use, as well as a new accessible seating section of the audience.

I saw the opening night of Julius Caesar, which is part of the inaugural Winter Shakespeare Festival. For more info on this new theatre festival, check out last week’s episode where I talk to the festival’s artistic director Ben Blyth.

Caesar is the tragedy half of the festival; A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the comedy and most of the actors are performing roles in each. Caesar isn’t one of the more commonly performed Shakespeare plays and this was actually the first time I saw it staged. This production is quite minimalist, largely because of Holy Trinity’s fairly small stage and simple technology. I enjoyed seeing a pared-back version of the show, with emphasis on the text – particularly due to the unfortunate relevance of that text right now.

For my full review of the show, click here.

On to this week’s interview! I spoke with Ellen Chorley, a local playwright who’s newest work, Everybody Loves Robbie, just went up as part of Northern Light Theatre’s season. Chorley is quite an accomplished artist and playwright with a few plays under her belt already. I caught her TYA show Princess Confidential a few years ago at the Fringe. She’s also a founding member of the burlesque troupe Send in the Girls, and their show, Tudor Queens, was a big hit a few years ago.

Everybody Loves Robbie is what she describes as a love letter to being a high school drama kid – which Chorley definitely was. She’s now mentoring the next generation of drama kids through her role as festival director of Nextfest, Edmonton’s long-running emerging artists festival.

Chorley talks about her experiences in high school drama, the importance of the arts as a safe haven for teens – particularly in light of the recent issues around Gay-Straight Alliances in schools – and mentoring young artists. She also offers some words of wisdom to all the young Robbies and Chloes out there. 

Show notes and listings:
Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre upgrades accessibility for actors and patrons with disabilities Edmonton Journal story

Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, playing as part of the Winter Shakespeare Festival, Malachite Theatre, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, until Feb 2

Everybody Loves Robbie, Northern Light Theatre, Studio Theatre in ATB Financial Arts Barns, Jan 10 – 25

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival, Alberta Avenue, Jan 11 – 12

Cost of Living, Citadel Theatre, Jan 11 – Feb 2

The Professors, Rapid Fire Theatre, Zeidler Hall in Citadel Theatre, Jan 11 – Feb 1

Crave, Fringe Theatre, Backstage Theatre in ATB Financial Arts Barns, Jan 14 – 25

Diavolo, Alberta Ballet, Jubilee Auditorium, Jan 21 – 22


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