A theatrical triumph in Halifax

A theatrical triumph in Halifax

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | Contributors: Submitted by Neptune Theatre | Published: May 1, 2024

Cover Image by Stoo Metz Photography.

During the Hal-Con Sci-Fi Convention in 2018, Neptune’s Artistic Director Jeremy Webb took advantage of an open mic Q&A session to ask actor Billy Boyd what his dream theatre role would be. The rest, as they say, is history.

Boyd and Webb struck up a friendship, and over the course of several years, arrived at the idea that a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead—co-starring Boyd’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator Dominic Monaghan—would be just the project to bring them all together.

As a not-for-profit theatre emerging from the global pandemic, Neptune Theatre faced significant challenges. Costs were rising to produce live shows and audiences were hesitant to return. The team at Neptune recognized that change was necessary to sustain the theatre’s longevity. Fueled with ingenuity, creativity, and the synergy of Boyd, Monaghan, and Webb the vision for this groundbreaking production took shape.

The magnitude of the project was evident from its inception, prompting Webb to reach out to Mirvish Productions in Toronto, a powerhouse in the Canadian theatrical scene. From there, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead became the first Neptune production to journey from Halifax to Toronto.

“There is a growing realization across the entire theatre industry that the way forward is co-production, where theatre companies partner to create a production, share the costs, and then house the production in their own theatre,” explains Webb. “It’s happening more and more, and it certainly assists in Neptune’s artistic vision of exporting Atlantic Canadian productions, created here in Halifax, to other major centers.”

Scheduled for February 2024—a period traditionally characterized by lulls in tourism and business activity in Halifax—the anticipation surrounding the show was palpable. What transpired exceeded all expectations, as the production garnered widespread attention and attracted theatergoers from across North America (and even Europe) to our small port city.

Beyond its artistic triumphs, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead wielded a tangible economic impact on Halifax’s downtown core. Local businesses and restaurants surrounding the theatre reported a significant uptick in foot traffic, providing a welcome boon during what is typically a sluggish period. The ripple effects of this theatrical phenomenon reverberated throughout the community.

“Aside from the artistic accolades that the show has received in two cities, possibly the most satisfying and rewarding element of this production is knowing what an impact it had on Nova Scotia business,” says Webb. “To hear so many stories of travelers from across the world coming to Halifax—a place they hadn’t heard of before—just to see one of our plays, gives me a thrill. To see full houses for four solid weeks, and then to repeat it in Toronto, a new market…yay, export!”

The success of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead represents just the beginning of Neptune Theatre’s ambitious plans to export its productions to theaters across the country. Armed with a proven track record of excellence and innovation, Neptune is poised to redefine the landscape of Canadian theater, establishing Halifax as a formidable hub of artistic expression and creativity.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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