ARTWORK: Paige Sawler
WORK-IN-PROGRESS MUSICAL THEATRE
MIND THE LIGHT
(A NEW MUSICAL)
LITTLE BUG RECORDS
A workshop presentation of an original queer musical about one woman’s fight for love, family, and freedom as she struggles to keep a lighthouse in the 19th century with book music and lyrics written by award-winning artist Gabrielle Papillon.
Mind the Light is about a family of Lightkeepers set in the 1880s. Azélie, a young woman dedicated to keeping a lighthouse, struggles with love, grief, isolation, and family dynamics, and fights to keep her independence and her home through her dangerous and physically demanding work, tremendous loss, and a love that she must keep secret.
A story of finding joy and pride in hard work, the bravery in small actions, and big risks, and generational strength passed down from a mother and sister, to her brother and daughter, in a working class context, where privilege was limited and autonomy & safety for women and Queer folk is hard won and always at stake.
MIND THE LIGHT, STAGES 2023
(Photo by James Arthur MacLean)
LITTLE BUG RECORDS
Nova Scotia / Mi'kma'ki
Little Bug Records is Gabrielle Papillon's studio and company moniker which encompasses her independently released studio albums, her recording studio, and her theatre production work.
Gabrielle Papillon—Book, Music, and Lyrics
Melissa Mackenzie—Musical Director
Tessa Pekeles—Stage Manager
Avery-Jean Brennan—Narrative Contributions, Associate Producer, Dramaturge
Jackson Fairfax-Perry—Keys/Sound Operator
Thank you to Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Nova Scotia, Neptune Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre.
Alex Rioux (they/them) is a non-binary theatre artist, improvisor, and educator currently based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Alex’s work primarily utilizes the process of devised creation and physical theatre to tell traditional stories in updated ways. Their debut piece Fruit Machine chronicles Canada’s gay military purge and utilizes physical theatre as the catalyst to examine this oppressive time in Canadian history. Alex is also the founder and director of the Plain Site Theatre Festival, New Brunswick’s first and only queer-centered theatre festival. This festival provides emerging artists and students the chance to have their scripts developed and be mentored by established queer artists.
ANNIE VALENTINA (she/her) is a Queer Slavic-Canadian theatre artist, currently based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. Annie was co-founder and Artistic Producer of multi-award-winning indie company The Doppler Effect, which helped develop numerous new plays and put them on Halifax stages in the 2010s. Since 2018, she has been serving as Artistic Associate at Neptune Theatre, and also works as a freelance director, playwright and dramaturge. The greater scope of Annie’s work explores themes of identity and culture. As a writer, she is best known for her Merritt-nominated memoir play Alien (2015), and more recently, Ballad of the Motherland (2023). As a director and dramaturge, her focus is on supporting new works of theatre to their world premieres. Recent directing credits include: The Outside Inn by Sharon Bajer & Elio Zarrillo (Festival Antigonish, 2022); Yaga by Kat Sandler (Highland Arts Theatre, 2021); Pleasureville by Ellen Denny (Neptune, 2019).
Avery-Jean (They/She) is an award winning Transfeminine actor, director, music director, teacher, playwright, and producer born in Kjipuktuk. She is dedicated to Trans-inclusive storytelling and community healing through live performance. Recently, she completed a year as RBC Apprentice Artistic Director with The Musical Stage Company, and was nominated for the Bra d’Or Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada for her work advocating for Trans & Non-Binary artists in Canadian theatre. They have studied writing under dramaturg Christopher Weddell, composer/lyricist Leslie Arden, and through The Musical Stage Company's NoteWorthy program. Avery-Jean's first original musical, The Pansy Craze, was the recipient of Queer Theatre Toronto's inaugural LGBTQ Fringe Award for pushing boundaries in representation for Queer & Trans characters in musical theatre. Other recent writing works include Nobody Asked to Be Here commissioned as part of Sheridan College & The Musical Stage Company’s First Drafts program, No Country for They/Thems, The Reclamation & Liberation of One Non-Binary Transfemme as part of S. Bear Bergman’s Gender Reveal Party, and Good Vibrations, or Adult Toy Story. Over the last 17 years, Avery-Jean has worked professionally in a variety of positions as a multi-hyphenate arts worker with organizations such as Neptune Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, The Bus Stop Theatre, Sheridan College, The Musical Stage Company, Tarragon Theatre, Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, Chemainus Theatre Festival, and more across Canada.
Gabrielle Papillon (She/Her) is a Halifax-based award-winning recording artist, songwriter, composer, and producer. She has released seven studio albums, ranging in genre from folk to synth driven art-pop, and records and produces music for her own projects as well as for other artists. She has toured across Canada and internationally, and her songs have enjoyed regular rotation on CBC Radio. She has had her songs placed in film, television, and advertisements in Canada, the US, and Australia. Gabrielle also collaborates with writer-producers and other writers for sync in film and television, and with other artists for their own projects in the UK, the US, and Canada. She has also been working on an original musical (Mind the Light), based on her family’s history, her own queer identity, and her 2010 song Go Into the Night for several years.
Emma Vickers (she/her) is an actor and singer based in K’jipuktuk/Halifax. Select theatre credits include: The Beloved (Highland Arts Theatre), A Villain's Christmas Carol (Villains Theatre), The Hobbit (Festival Antigonish), Seeds of Change (Neptune Theatre TourCo), Mind The Light (Halifax Fringe), The Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz and The Rocky Horror Show (Capitol Theatre Moncton) and If You Could Wear my Sneakers (Festival Antigonish Young Company). Film and TV credits: Kids Vs. Aliens (Shudder/RLJE Films), Diggstown (CBC), 22 Minutes (CBC).
Jackson Fairfax-Perry (he/him) is an African Nova Scotian composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and sound designer based in Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki (Halifax, Nova Scotia) whose work blends synths, samples, acoustic instruments, and effects in a distinctive approach to creating music. Jackson studied music composition at Dalhousie University, and later worked as composer and sound designer for Keep Good (Theatre) Company’s live production of both Adventures, and Adventures, The Book, as well as Eastern Front Theatre’s sold out production of Stevey Hunter’s Fat Juliet, for which he won the 2022 Robert Merritt Award for Outstanding Sound Design. He has performed widely in Canada and abroad as a member of award winning indie pop group Hillsburn, and has also performed with artists such as David Myles, Aquakultre, Ben Caplan, and Jerry Granelli, among others. Jackson also creates music as TYNES, an instrumental hip-hop electronica project melding cinematic soundscapes with deep, jazz tinted grooves, and will be releasing his debut album in April of this year. Recently, Jackson was announced as 2b theatre company’s 2023-24 RBC Emerging Artist in Residence, where he will have the opportunity to collaborate on 2b related projects, while also developing a TYNES live show with guidance and support from 2b.
Leah Pritchard is an East Coast artist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has worked as a professional actor and singer across Newfoundland (TNL, Gros Morne Theatre Festival), Nova Scotia (Neptune, Xara Choral Theatre, Villain's Theatre), Prince Edward Island (Watermark Theatre), and Ontario (Tangled Art and Disability) since gaining a BFA from Memorial University of Newfoundland. They were also one of Nightwood Theatre's 2018/19 Young Innovators. Leah is overjoyed to be lending a voice to Mind The Light once more! Love is non binary! Trans rights are human rights! Pants for our descendants!
Melissa MacKenzie (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist and educator from Prince Edward Island. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College and is a co-founder of PEI’s vibrant independent theatre company, Kitbag Theatre (@kitbagtheatre). Upcoming: The Songs of Johnny & June (Charlottetown Festival/Kitbag Theatre). Music direction credits include: Chrysalis Music Director for Billy Elliot (Neptune Theatre), The Songs of Johnny & June (Kitbag Theatre), Open Casket Open Mic (Victoria Playhouse). Music Captain for Dear Rita (Charlottetown Festival), Assistant MD for Trap Door (Sheridan College). Recent performance credits include: The Songs of Johnny & June (Kitbag Theatre), Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Theatre New Brunswick), Dear Rita (Charlottetown Festival), Tuesdays & Sundays, good girl (Kitbag), Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Harmony House), It’s a Wonderful Life (Magnus Theatre), Anne & Gilbert (The Guild), Crazy for You, Trap Door (Theatre Sheridan), Perfect Wedding, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Stephenville Theatre Festival).
Michael-Lamont (He/Him/They/Them) is excited to be a part of this production. Born to a performing family in Springfield Ohio, his father Johnny was a jazz vibist and his aunt Ada Lee sang with both the Count Basie And Duke Ellington Orchestras. He moved to Canada over 30 years ago to forge his own path. He has performed on stage with everyone from Cirque du Soleil to Céline Dion. He was also part of the original Canadian casts of both Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, the latter of which he was the first POC actor to perform in the role of Scar. He has also performed in film and television with many noted artists such as Octavia Spencer and Eartha Kitt. Michael-Lamont dedicates this and all of his performances to his mother Barbara Lytle and to his husband D’Arcy McLenaghen.
Nicky Phillips is an award-winning composer. She is currently a member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop where she was awarded the Jean Banks Award for outstanding achievement in Musical Theatre. An alumnus of the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, Nicky was mentored by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Craig Carnelia. Her work has been showcased at Lincoln Center, 54 Below, Don't Tell Mama, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and The New York Theatre Barn. She has had writing residencies at CAP21, the Human Race Theatre Company and was awarded the artist in residence at the Margret and H.A.Rey Center. Her work with the Musical Stage Company in Toronto includes being a music supervisor on Launchpad 2020 and a participant in Noteworthy. As a musical theatre writer, Nicky's musical works include: In Between (available for licensing); The Last Party (Toronto Fringe Festival); The Curious Journey (ASCAP Stephen Schwartz Workshop, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, CMTP); Stagefright (Prospect Theatre Musical Theatre Lab); Becoming Tussaud (In Development); contributed material to Touch Me: Songs for a (dis)Connected Age (Forte Musical Theatre Guild); In Flanders Fields (First commissioned and produced by Smile Theatre Company, additional productions at Golden Apple Theatre and Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary where it was nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Production). Nicky is proud to have two songs featured on the Wellsongs Project CD, available for purchase through Broadway Records. Most recently, Nicky has released a musical theatre songbook entitled The Tweens ’N Teens Songbook, New Musical Theatre Songs for the Young (ish) Performer, written with collaborator Sarah Ziegler. As a composer for the theatre, Nicky has written music for the following plays: The Snow Queen (Theatre New Brunswick); Buyer and Cellar (Alberta Theatre Projects); Old Man And The River (Theatre Direct); Jane Eyre, The Penelopiad and The 39 Steps, (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre). She is a proud member of ASCAP and has been awarded multiple ASCAP Plus Awards. Nicky is currently writing songs for Vida The Vet, a new animated TV show being released in 2023!
Sara Courtney (She/They) is a multidisciplinary performer from Ponamogoatitjg (Dartmouth), where she works primarily in childcare. Sara has been working in children's theatre for over five years, directing, choreographing and stage managing youth productions around the HRM. They have training in voice with dance. Sara has been lucky enough to work with companies such as; Broadway Atlantic, Terra Novella, Neptune YPCo, Alive Theatre, and Project ARC!
Tessa is a Montreal/Tiohtià:ke born Stage Manager who has been living and working in Halifax/Kjipuktuk for over 15 years. She has previously worked with Neptune Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Eastern Front Theatre, The Villain's Theatre, Halifax Theatre for Young People among others. Recently her career has taken a bit of a detour into politics, but she is delighted to be in the rehearsal hall once again.
Role: Tempest Theatre: Elf, Noises Off, KAMP, Mamma Mia, Once, Beauty And The Beast, Into The Woods, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, The Producers, White Christmas, (Neptune), Unnecessary Farce (SRT); God Of Carnage, Village Wooing, Musical Of Musicals, Last Five Years (Chester); Miracle Man, Dustbowl Joan, Lysistrata (Two Planks); Mimi, [title of show], (TheatreSpeak); Cotton Patch Gospel (GTF). Film/ TV: Moonshine (eOne), Me, My Mom & Sharmila, (Fawzia Mirza), Roll With It, Trapped, One Man’s Treasure (Canadian Content Studios), Diggstown, Mr. D (CBC), I Am Syd Stone (Theriault/ Poan), Stage Mother (Fitzgerald), Trailer Park Boys: USA (Netflix). Other: This Haligonian is a Sheridan grad, acting coach and owner/ operator of The LA Technique, and a Mommy. www.KirstinHowell.com
Spencer Laing (They/Them, He/Him) is an emerging artist and scholar based in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. They grew up on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, then spent four years transplanted to Oakville, Ontario while they studied, completing their Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance at Sheridan College in the Spring of 2021. Returning to the Valley, Spencer began looking at the rich culture community surrounding them and was inspired to begin research on the ways community keeps us connected. Spencer is a huge supporter of community arts projects. Their love of singing began at an early age and was fostered by the amazing local and musical community they were raised in. They are passionate about helping everyone connect to their own inner artist through music and stories. They can usually be found working on projects with a good cup of tea and their cats by their side.
Stewart is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Punamu’kwati’jk/Dartmouth. He is the Associate Artistic Director of ZUPPA, co-Artistic Director of THE ACCIDENTAL MECHANICS GROUP, and is currently an artist-in-residence at THE THEATRE CENTRE in Toronto. He has released two albums: "Quiet the Station' (2017), and To the Bone: Songs from Splinters (2020). With ZUPPA he has co-created and toured over a dozen original shows, including “Poor Boy", “Pop-Up Love Party” and "The Archive of Missing Things". Solo work includes "El Camino or The Field of Stars" and "Let's Not Beat Each Other To Death." He has appeared in festivals and theaters across the country and internationally. He is fascinated with vulnerability, intimacy, the destruction of persona and the celebration of performance.