SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - A multiple Gemini and Canadian screen award winner has written, directed and helped choreograph a summer production that’s ready to raise spirits in Summerside, and bring to life Scotland’s most notable historical figures in the new custom-designed Celtic Performing Arts Centre.
Along with the help of a world-class team, Shelagh O’Brien has cherry picked local performers that will seamlessly transport the audience through time and place with military precision dancing, silky smooth Celtic harmonies, storytelling and enchanting musical numbers.
“My goal is to celebrate the Celtic Arts that are being taught at The College, raise the bar theatrically, and give people an experience that makes them want to return again and again because it’s a fundraiser for the centre,” she said.
The stage is set as a colossal ancient clock tower, which is home to the main character "Angus,” a clockmaker. With dramatic lighting, projection and choreography, Angus magically stops the spinning hands of time to transport the audience forward or back through centuries of Scottish history.
“Angus stops time to give us a snap shot of an historical figure, and even if you are not Scottish you’ve probably heard of Mary, Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce or Alexander Graham Bell, to name but a few,” chimed O’Brien.
She continued, “My hope is that the show is memorable and people come away learning more about each of the great Scots, but this is not a history lesson – its entertainment.”
The contemporary “spectacle” has lots of traditional charm. There are dramatic, whimsical and funny scenes, including a crescendo of strong moments where a pin drop may be heard.
Peter Gallant, music director, says the Highland production is at the “heart and soul” of The College.
“This show is about the pipers, the drums, dancers and singers of this college, and what they teach here at such a high level. We’ve done everything to frame these elements scene by scene or Scot by Scot, in this particular case,” he said.
The architecture of the new venue celebrates the extraordinary acoustics - balancing each musical note.
“We have a Highland pipe band with Scottish drums and a house band where there are four live multi-instrumentalists that will sometimes sound like 11, through the assistance of technology,” added Gallant, who noted the incredible skills and talents of students and instructors will be brought to light.
The production that magnifies the new Centre has garnered the title sponsor of Confederation Bridge.
“We are excited to renew our affiliation with College of Piping and the production of Great Scot! Our maintenance team were proud to be a part of the set build and we hope you like what you see,” concluded Michel Le Chasseur, general manager of Confederation Bridge.
Opening night of the show is Wednesday, July 11. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Shows run throughout the summer.
For more information or to book tickets, visit www.CollegeOfPiping.com or call (902) 436-5377.