Alberta Theatre Projects is reprogramming the fifth and final production of its 2018/19 season with The New Canadian Curling Club, a hilarious and inspiring story by Canadian playwright Mark Crawford about community, humility, and understanding our differences. The play is scheduled to run March 5 – 23, 2019 in the Martha Cohen Theatre at Arts Commons.
The New Canadian Curling Club tells the story of a Chinese physician, a Jamaican Tim Horton’s manager, a South Asian father, and a 17-year old Syrian refugee who live in a rural Canadian town. In an effort to welcome newcomers to Canada, the community decides to offer a free, “Learn to Curl” program. But when its organizer slips on the ice and breaks her hip, the rink’s ice custodian and former champion curler Stuart MacPhail is forced to step in as head coach. Trouble is, Stuart has some strong opinions about immigrants—opinions he has trouble keeping to himself. What follows is the hilarious and inspiring story of a group of unlikely athletes who face off against local prejudice and become a true team. A comedy that “is funny, very funny… profound and diverse and encouraging” (London Fuse), The New Canadian Curling Club is a laugh-out-loud, heart-warming reminder of what it means to be Canadian. The World Premiere production is currently playing to sold-out houses at The Blyth Festival. ATP’s production will be the Western Canadian Premiere.
This change is ATP Executive and Artistic Director Darcy Evans’ first step towards a new vision for ATP that is built on telling stories that are representative of Calgary’s diverse population. “Calgary is now the third most diverse city in Canada and I’m passionate about reflecting this on our stage. It’s a big part of what drew me to this position,” said Evans.
After careful consideration, ATP has made the difficult decision to replace WROL (Without Rule of Law) by Michaela Jeffery with The New Canadian Curling Club. “Jeffery is an important new voice in the Canadian theatre and we hope to continue our association with her and the rest of the artists attached to the project. We did not make this decision lightly. We have met with the artists and company members involved in this production to ensure they had a full understanding of our decision before sharing this news with the public.”
2018/19 season subscribers as well as single ticket holders for WROL (Without Rule of Law) will be contacted directly by ATP’s box office regarding how these season changes impact their subscription and/or tickets.
Auditions for The New Canadian Curling Club will be announced later this summer. ATP will be reaching out to the community in an extensive search for new and existing artists to embody this diverse group of characters.
Single tickets for The New Canadian Curling Club ($30 – $76) can be purchased by calling (403) 294-7402.
**UPDATE: AUGUST 9**
Thank you for your honest feedback regarding changes to our 2018-19 Season.
As we articulated in our announcement, this was an incredibly difficult decision, made by ATP and its senior staff, through discussions with the playwright and the artists involved, and with the consultation and full support of our board of directors.
We recognize that our initial press release could have provided more information regarding the rationale for making a change in our season and acknowledge that it has led to speculation and misinterpretation. We apologize for any confusion that we may have caused.
It is no secret within the community that Calgary’s performing arts companies have been hard hit by the economic recession and that ATP continues to face financial challenges as it works towards a more sustainable operating model. Although we believe in WROL (Without Rule of Law), initial indicators raised serious questions about the financial viability of producing it in the final slot of our season in the Martha Cohen Theatre. Our plan was to add The New Canadian Curling Club as a sixth show to our 2018-19 season. Together with the WROL (Without Rule of Law) team, we discussed options for a production or further development of WROL (Without Rule of Law) but ultimately jointly decided not to move ahead with a production in the 2018-19 season. Out of respect for the artists involved, it was our desire not to share this level of detail.
Artists were contacted last week to let them know that arrangements were being made to compensate them in accordance with the collectively bargained agreements of their respective associations.
ATP believes in Michaela Jeffery’s voice as an important playwright in this city. It is our desire to continue our longstanding association with her and to see her work on the Martha Cohen stage in the future.