2015-16 Season: 35 Years - Geordie Theatre
La Scena previews Geordie’s 35th season
September 1, 2015
LISTEN: Artistic Director Dean Patrick Fleming leaving Geordie Productions
September 19, 2015

2015-16 Season: 35 Years

Milestones

The 2015-16 Season celebrates the 35th anniversary of Quebec’s English-language theatre company for kids, as well as the 10th and final season of its current Artistic Director, Dean Patrick Fleming.

Launched in 1980 by Order of Canada appointed Elsa Bolam, Geordie Productions has fostered the love of theatre to children for three and half decades in three ways:

Geordie Mainstage Series brings two original and engaging theatre productions to Montreal families every season. They have been performed (and return after a brief stay at the Centaur Theatre) at Concordia University’s D.B. Clarke Theatre to the general praise of children and adults alike.

Geordie Theatre School offers kids and teens the chance to explore live performance and the acting process with some of Geordie’s favorite theatre professionals. Each year GTS offers two sessions, one in the fall from September-December and one in the winter from January-May, both of which culminate in a public presentation.

Geordie 2Play Tour is Canada’s largest running annual theatre tour, lasting 7 months while travelling an average of 27 800 kilometers to perform over 200 performances to more than 40 000 kids. It presents two plays to kids and teens in schools and community centres across Eastern Canada, exploring and initiating dialogue about thought-provoking subjects as varied as: bullying; cultural diversity; identity; and other youth specific themes.

Dean Patrick Fleming took on the playful yet daunting challenge of following Bolam’s act in the summer of 2005 and leaves behind him a legacy of his own. Geordie Board of Directors President Robert Gervais puts it best:
“I have had the pleasure of working with Dean as a Board member of Geordie, and now President, for the 10 years he has been at the helm. What an honour and a pleasure to see what he has brought to Geordie and what he has accomplished over his tenure. He has guided the company, both artistically and financially, with great vision and passion. Dean was chosen by founder Elsa Bolam to lead Geordie as its second Artistic Director. These were large shoes to fill and it was exciting to share in Dean’s successes in bringing Geordie’s reputation across Canada to an even higher level. He leaves the theatre in great health and although we are sorry to see him go, we wish him the very best, and we are now looking forward to this next step in Geordie’s evolution as one of the top tier theatres in Canada.”
Highlights of Fleming’s tenure include:

  • the premiere of 25 new plays
  • a focus on cultural diversity in play content and casting
  • a stronger focus on production value and design, balanced with thought-provoking content
  • a national tour of Mainstage production Jungle Book
  • a return to touring in the U.S.
  • the reinvigoration of Geordie Theatre School using company artists
  • receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee from the government of Canada for his contribution to the arts

So it’s no coincidence that this coming season looks back to productions and relationships that have significantly marked the past decade.

Geordie worked with Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, Canada’s largest theatre company for kids, to bring their acclaimed production of Emil Sher’s stage adaption of Karen Levine’s celebrated book to Montreal back in 2007.

Hana’s Suitcase takes place on three continents over a period of almost 70 years and tells the true story of modern day children in Tokyo discovering the life of a young Czechoslovakian girl and the realities of Auschwitz under the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. It is a sensitive introduction to history and an optimistic reminder of our quest for better world. A popular and important piece of theatre, this November’s (5th- 15th) reprise celebrates the best of our national youth theatre.

In the spring, we also revisit a Geordie “classic”. Adapted for the stage by Fleming in 2011 from the popular children’s compact disc by Classical Kids, Beethoven Lives Upstairs returns to the stage with its original cast for an encore! Introducing kids of all ages to the wondrous musical universe of the mythical composer who triumphed despite his deafness, the play reminds us of the power of the human will in the face of adversity. Directed by Fleming, our April 29th to May 8th, 2016 run will provide us with a final opportunity to applaud his contribution as he takes a final bow.

Looking to the future, Fleming’s relationship with our National Theatre School, as a script writing teacher, continues to be a focus during this farewell season. Fleming has championed the voices of emerging playwrights throughout his term and has often made prominent space for their work. This year’s 2Play Tour productions, Sidewalk Chalk and Squawk, both come to us from NTS grads Cliff Cardinal and Megan Coles, respectively. They engage young audiences to consider the themes of friendship, the importance of loyalty and the pitfalls of taking one another for granted, as well as the often frustrating and surprising dynamics of identity.

“It’s hard to put into words what an honour it’s been to be the Artistic Director of Geordie Productions. To create great stories with the amazing artists I have been blessed to work with, and to share them with what I feel is the most important and engaged audience a person could ask for, has been a true joy. Leaving Geordie is very bittersweet and certainly not easy but I am excited to go off to new adventures and also to watch as Geordie continues growing and feeding the imaginations of children, teens and adults in its very special way.” -Dean Patrick Fleming

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CONTACT: Patrick Charron at (514) 845-9810 or publicity@geordie.ca
Geordie Productions Inc. 4001 Berri, Suite 103. Montreal, QC. H2L 4H2 Tel: 514.845.9810

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