Confederation Centre celebrates Anne of Green Gables with broadcast special
‘This gave us an opportunity to actually hear an Island twist’
With the record-breaking run of Anne of Green Gables — The Musical over after 55 years, the Confederation Centre of the Arts has prepared a new celebration of L.M. Montgomery's iconic female heroine.
This year's Charlottetown Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but viewers across Canada will have a chance in September to experience Anne of Green Gables in Feelin' Mighty Proud, a one-hour broadcast special. The show will include excerpts from the musical on the Confederation Centre stage, travels around P.E.I. to Montgomery historical sites, and new performances of songs from the musical by Island artists.
"As much as this musical is about the Island, it's not of the Island. It's a 1964 American Broadway musical," artistic director Adam Brazier told Mainstreet host Matt Rainnie.
"There's no fiddle in Anne of Green Gables, there's no step dancing in Anne of Green Gables. It's intrinsically written in the American form. This gave us an opportunity to actually hear an Island twist on some of those things."
Performers include Vishtèn, Lennie Gallant, Meaghan Blanchard, and Ava and Lilly Rashed. Stage segments are performed by last year's Charlottetown Festival Anne, Emma Rudy, along with Hank Stinson and Marlane O'Brien as the Cuthberts, and Catherine O'Brien as Rachel Lynde.
The special is one of a number of video projects the centre has taken on with stage shows cancelled.
Brazier said the atmosphere at the centre has been difficult with the theatres empty.
"It's been a very trying and surprisingly emotional time for a lot of us at the centre. Everything feels different to everybody. Everything feels awkward and empty," he said.
"Going into any of the buildings at the centre you can't help but notice that energy is just lacking. The excitement of shows and of people and of artists, and that bustling activity that is normally happening."
At the same time, Brazier described finding a broader audience through video presentations on digital media as a necessary step for the centre, one that is likely to continue even after the theatres reopen.
Feelin' Mighty Proud is directed by Brazier and Jason Rogerson, and produced with funding from Canadian Heritage, the province of Prince Edward Island, title sponsor CIBC, and production sponsor, CAA.
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With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.