Magnus Theatre and its Plans to Celebrate 50 Years
Story by Cathi Winslow
Magnus Theatre is ready to open its doors and welcome the community back after last year’s pandemic closure. Artistic director Thom Currie promises upbeat stories with lots of laughs to celebrate the theatre’s 50th anniversary. “The whole season has to be lighter this year,” says Currie. “We have to give people a laugh and a reflection on life.”
The season is scheduled to open September 16 with a brand-new musical, Home: A Bluegrass Celebration, written and performed by Jo-Ann Waytowich and Danny Johnson, along with Fae Alexander, Susie Campbell, and a five-piece live band, including Johnson. This comic revue, directed by Currie, features three women at different stages in their lives as they reflect on what it was like to be isolated at home during the COVID lockdowns. Obsessive house cleaning, baking sourdough bread, and negotiating the struggles of intimate family life at close quarters are all explored with Waytowich’s distinctive humour. “It’s fun,” says Currie. “There’s a lot of direct address to the audience as the characters talk about their own experiences and challenges.” Following Home, Magnus is slated to present Norm Foster’s Lunenburg, a funny, romantic adventure set in Nova Scotia.
“Coming back from the pandemic, we have to reinvent how theatre is done,” says Currie. “It’s almost like we’re starting again.” He wants to bring more equity and diversity to the creative teams for each play and he’s looking for as many local actors as possible. “They still have to audition; they still have to be up to snuff. I think it’s important that we continue to reflect a national talent base as well as a local talent base, and put those people shoulder to shoulder on the stage.”
Currie says the 50th anniversary season “will be something new and it will remain something singular. The excitement is that I’m here with a group of people I don’t know, and we’re all together. Everybody laughs at the same time. Everybody gasps at the same time. That’s why it’s important that we come back, that we continue to do what we do.”
Home: A Bluegrass Celebration is scheduled to open September 16. All information is subject to change. For information, COVID updates, and tickets, visit magnustheatre.com.