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Alberta Theatre Projects 2017–18 season highlights include Charlotte’s Web

By Rachel Woodward, March 21 2017 —

For 45 years, Alberta Theatre Projects has provided Calgary with shows that spark conversation and tell important stories. Their 46th season will feature six plays that ATP artistic director Vanessa Porteous says will defy expectations.

“I hope it’s the best season ever, I’m sure it will be,” she says. “I’m pretty excited about bringing these plays to Calgary.”

The six plays all differ in target demographics and age groups. The first of the six plays, The Last Wife, will run from Sept. 12–30 and explores the relationship between Henry VIII and his last wife, Catherine Parr. Porteous says the political play will examine the “sexy side” of the relationship.

“She’s kind of a woman ahead of her time. She takes on this beast —this crazy all-powerful man — and finds a way to shape their relationship and sparks fly. It’s a really interesting, character-driven romance,” she says.

From Oct. 17 – Nov. 4, Porteous will take a directorial position with the world premiere of To The Light, which Porteous says takes up Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. The play, written by Evelyne de la Chenelière and translated by John Murrell, tells Woolf’s story from a new perspective.

“It introduces you to a different kind of theatre. It’s very open to interpretation — lots of room for design. We’re going to have a projection design and live classical music. It’s more avant-garde and experimental as a play than many of the things we do at ATP,” Porteous says. “It’s a very moving relationship between the two women and it’s told in a very unusual way.”

Next, ATP will feature what is, according to Porteous, the most popular play in ATP’s history. A reboot of Charlotte’s Web adapted by Joseph Robinette will play from Nov. 21 – Dec. 31. Porteous says that this play is ideal for families during the holiday season.

One Yellow Rabbit and High Performance Rodeo will collaborate with ATP to present the Vancouver solo show, Empire of the Son, from Jan. 16–28 2018. Porteous says the play explores the relationship between father and son.

“The guy who wrote it is performing it and it’s his story of his relationship with his dad who, like many dads, kept a lot under the vest and didn’t reveal a lot. So it’s kind of a relationship piece about how we try to reach out to our parents,” she says.

The last two plays of the season are Constellations and Glory — a swing-dance tribute to the first national Canadian women’s hockey team, the Rivulets.

Earlier this year, ATP announced a public call for donations to maintain production over the coming season. Porteous says a $200,000 grant from the Calgary Foundation has gotten the company “halfway there” to stability.

“Because of the economic downturn, our sponsorship portfolio has decreased by 77 per cent in the last two or three seasons. We were doing very well but then we got crunched by the economy and so we reached out to our community,” Porteous says. “We’re encouraged by the response, especially by people giving what they can. Many hands make light work and it makes a big difference to have a lot of people helping out.”

ATP is currently working towards raising the rest of the donations. Donations are accepted online as well as over text.

Tickets for all six shows in the 2017–18 season are available online, including passes to the entire season or tickets for individual shows.

For more information, visit atplive.com

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