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Theatre Arts Guild

East Coast Holidays

Live Music, Theatre, Parades, and More—Christmas Celebrations Abound in the Halifax Area

 

Grand Parade in Halifax (Photo Credit: Tammy Fancy)

FAMILY FIRST
The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on Nov. 24, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on Nov. 24 (and 25), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

The Celtic Tenors

SEASONAL SYMPHONY
Symphony Nova Scotia offers a full calendar of holiday concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, starting Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with A Celtic Tenors Christmas. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16. As usual, things reach a crescendo on Dec. 21, 22, with Handel’s magnificent Messiah. This year presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, it features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.

 

The Ennis Sisters

MERRY MUSIC
Oh What A Night—The Christmas Show takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Nov. 18. The cast of the Oh What A Night tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons offer audience favourites from the original production, plus a musical tribute to “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams. Prefer your holidays with an East Coast twist? On Nov. 30, The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland combine original songs and holiday classics in a show that features stunning harmonies, recitations, lively step dancing, and playful humour. See them at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. And on Dec. 6, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts Serena Ryder Christmas. The eponymous singer/songwriter offers a mix of new material, old hits, and holiday classics.

 

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

FESTIVE THEATRE
Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.

 

Neon Dreams

AULD LANG SYNE
Join thousands of revellers at Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant fireworks show at midnight.

 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Live-Art-Dance

BODIES IN MOCEAN
April 26 to 28

Live Art Dance wraps up its 35th season with a world premiere of new work from award-winning choreographer Heidi Strauss (one of Toronto’s most prolific and successful creators), performed by Mocean Dance. The Dalhousie Arts Centre on University avenue hosts.

 

Entertainment_Stars-on-Ice

OLYMPIC HEROES
April 27

This year’s Stars on Ice figure-skating showcase is a who’s-who of Canadian Olympic medallists, including Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Eric Radford and Megan Duhamel, and Katelyn Osmond. See them at Scotiabank Centre.

 

Enertainment_Home-Show

TIME TO REFRESH
April 6 to 8

Thinking of sprucing up your space? Thinking of building, redecorating, or renovating your home? Find ideas and inspiration from dozens of vendors at the Spring Ideal Home Show at Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road.

 

Entertainment_Ballet-Jorgen

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
April 8:
 The Cecilia Concert Series presents Jeanne Amièle and Simon Larivière at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. The pianists explore the music of Czarist Russia: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and more.

April 13: Indie-pop sensations Stars take the stage at the Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street.

April 13: Join The Stanfields for a night of rollicking rock with a Celtic tinge at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

April 14, 15: Ballet Jörgen joins Symphony Nova Scotia to perform Anastasia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

April 24: Long a mainstay of the Canadian prog-metal scene, Protest the Hero are sure to blow the roof off the Marquee Ballroom.

 

Entertainment_Mamma-Mia

DANCING QUEENS
April 10 to June 3

Opening this month, Mamma Mia! is Neptune Theatre’s most hotly-anticipated show of the season. The music of ABBA weaves through this story of a young woman searching for her father on the eve of her wedding.

 

Entertainment_Mary-E-Black-Gallery

MADE LOCALLY
Continuing

The Mary E. Black Gallery on Marginal Road specializes in fine craft from around Atlantic Canada. This month, the gallery spotlights textile artist Jane Whitten with the exhibition Wreaking Havoc.

 

Entertainment_Theatre-Arts-Guild

TIMELESS CLASSIC *Editor’s Pick*
April 5 to 21

Theatre Arts Guild performs a new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. Bill vanGorder directs the poignant story of a Jewish family’s struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied Europe.

 

Entertainment_Clay-WalkerEntertainment_Tommy-TallaricoEntertainment_Johnny-Reid

APRIL:
4th: Clay Walker
From deep in the heart of Texas to the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia, Clay Walker is an enduring country favourite.

6th to 8th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Tommy Tallarico and the Soundtrax choir join the Symphony for Video Games Live at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

16th: Johnny Reid
The Canadian country star brings his Revival Live Tour to the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Entertainment_Jimmy-Carr Entertainment_Harlem-GlobetrottersEntertainment_Jane-Archibald

27th: Jimmy Carr
Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival presents the acclaimed British comic at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

28th: Harlem Globetrotters
The “clown princes of basketball” return to Scotiabank Centre for a display of hoops wizardry.

29th: Cecilia Concert Series
A favourite with opera fans around the world, soprano Jane Archibald joins pianist Liz Upchurch at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

 

Christmas by the Sea

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With the decades-old traditions and exciting new events, Halifax gets in the holiday spirit

Whether you’re making family memories or enjoying a romantic evening out, Halifax abounds with Christmas celebrations throughout November and December. Read on for our favourites.

 

parade_3286_firefighters

Photo: Will Roberts

FAMILY FIRST

The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 18 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on November 25, Grand Parade Square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on November 25 (and 26), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days.

The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 2, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

Ben-Caplan

SEASONAL SYMPHONY

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore. Singer/songwriter Ben Caplan gets things started on December 1 and 2, joining the orchestra for Ben Caplan’s Holiday Classics. They’ll perform old favourites in the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole and clever new arrangements. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from December 8 to 10 and 14 to 17. As usual, the Symphony’s holiday calendar concludes with Handel’s classic oratorio, but this year with a twist: Mozart’s Messiah, a 1789 arrangement of the masterpiece.

 

Barra-Macneils

MORE MERRY MUSIC

And there’s lots more music: A King’s Christmas is back on December 17. A guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs. The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 18, as the Barra MacNeils bring their annual Christmas tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre in Halifax.

 

CHRISTMAS COMEDY

December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy show. On December 9, the World Trade & Convention Centre on Argyle Street hosts Ha Ha Halidays. The gala evening includes stand-up comedy with Trent McLelland and Jay Malone, buffet dinner, and live music and dancing with The Hopping Penguins.

 

HFX-MAG-PHOTO4

FESTIVE THEATRE

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 21 and continues until December 31. Artistic director George Pothitos adapts the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life for the stage. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Jeremy Webb. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is an annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Alice In Wonderland from November 23 to December 9.

 

 

‘Tis the season

By Trevor J. Adams

Parades, live theatre, concerts galore and more—Halifax is abuzz with Christmas magic.

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events to celebrate the holiday season. Read on for our favourites. With an exciting mix of traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.

YULE PARTIES

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 21 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Also on November 21,

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The event continues on November 22.

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Back downtown on November 28, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 5, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS

Back for its 38th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques, and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 6 to 8.

THERE’S A SONG IN THE AIR

Alexander Weimann

Alexander Weimann joins Symphony Nova Scotia for Handel’s Messiah

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on November 28 and 29, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 4 to 13, and Handel’s Messiah on December 18 and 19.

A King’s Christmas is back on December 13. A special guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs.

The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 20, as the Barra MacNeils perform A Cape Breton Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Barra MacNeils

Barra MacNeils

MAKING MERRY

Beloved humourist and storyteller Stuart McLean brings his Vinyl Café Christmas Show to the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street on November 20. December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy event on December 11 and 12. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 11 and 12, with a lineup that includes Australian funny guy Jim Dailakis and Newfoundlander John Sheehan.

PLAY ON

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 28. A Year With Frog and Toad brings Arnold Lobel’s character to the stage in a Tony-nominated musical. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, The Emperor’s New Clothes runs from November 26 to December 12.

 

October Hot Dates

By Trevor J. Adams

Bodies in motion

webClassical_Contemporary_-_Cristina_Graziano,_Hampus_Gauffin,_photo_by_Linda_Schettle copy

October 3 to 5: The new Live Art Dance Productions season continues with Phin at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Lisa Phinney Langley interprets Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

October 18: Ballet in the Studio by Ballet Jörgen Canada features works by Bengt Jörgen, Malgorzata Nowacka, and Robert Desrosiers, plus excerpts from The Nutcracker.

October 28 to 31: With dance and musical performances at venues around the city, the Fall For Flamenco celebrates Spain’s fiery sounds.

 

Living legends

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

October 5: Two big music names come to Halifax. Instrumental-rock guitar legend Joe Satriani struts his stuff at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Meanwhile, 1980s R&B/pop star Billy Ocean performs in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

On stage
Photo: Emily Jeuer

Photo: Emily Jeuer

Continuing through October 5: It’s your last chance to see the Theatre Arts Guild season-opener Steel Magnolias at the Pond Playhouse on Parkhill Road in Jollimore.

October 15 to 22: The Studio Stage at Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street hosts the Canadian comedy classic Hockey Mom/Hockey Dad by Nova Scotian playwright Mike Melski.

 

Editor’s choice

Photo: Michelle Doucette

Photo: Michelle Doucette

October 19: An annual festival of art after dark, Nocturne brings exhibitions, performances and special projects to galleries and public spaces around the city, from 6 p.m. until midnight.

 

Toronto Raptors

webRudy_Gay-Raptors copy

October 5: Rudy Gay and his teammates prepare for the NBA season with an intra-squad exhibition game at the Halifax Metro Centre.

 

St. Cecilia concert series

Stéphane Tétreault

October 12: Twenty-year-old cello sensation Stéphane Tétreault performs at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road.

 

Matthew Good

Matthew Good Concert

October 18: The Canadian rocker returns to Halifax, performing at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Reba McEntire

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October 19: With 64 top-10 hits, McEntire is one of country’s biggest names. See her at the Halifax Metro Centre. 

Stuart McLean

Photo: Alana Elliot

Photo: Alana Elliot

October 20: The storyteller of CBC Radio fame brings The Vinyl Café tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Red Green

webred-green copy

October 29: Canada’s favourite handyman stars in the How to do Everything Well tour at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Grape expectations 
Photo: WANS

Photo: WANS

Continuing through October: The Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival celebrates the province’s fast-growing wine scene, with winemakers’ dinners, grape stomps, education seminars, tours and special events at wineries and other venues around the province.