2019-2020 Season

Baroness Bianka's Bloodsongs


by Joanna Weinberg

North American Premiere
October 18- November 2, 2019
Preview October 17, 2019
Studio Theatre ATB Financial Arts Barns

Featuring: Kristin Johnston as Baroness Bianka
Director Set & Costumes: Trevor Schmidt
Music Direction and Sound Design: Darrin Hagen

“There it vas – my birthmark, the mark of the beetroot upon my thigh.

That is a sure sign of curse of the madwoman’s descendant. Ven a voman witt the curse of the beetroot turns 50 and cease to menstruate, she vill begin the blood madness. She vill begin the quest for eternal youth. She vill vont to ingest the blood and she vill even kill for it. “

BARONESS BIANKA’S BLOODSONGS tackles the issue of addiction head-on through the revelations of a quirky Bulgarian Baroness who has unquenchable, unspeakable yearnings. A black comedy with a blood-red heart, the show explores life with an unusual addiction and the battle to overcome it. A wicked one woman cabaret about a spooky character with a fetish for blood.

She doesn’t drink it like your common-or-garden vampire, but she can sniff out someone’s blood group at hundred paces. Becoming a nurse to satisfy her obsession with blood, Bianka bathes in swirls of blood, relishes the sight of self-inflicted cuts and finds profound bliss in menstruating. The comedy is as black as a blood bath is bright, and Baroness is daffy and utterly engaging- a character from a fictional Eastern European country, with a thick accent to match, who has had a yen for blood ever since her detested nanny met an unfortunate, squishy end.

Battling her bizarre addiction while accompanying herself on the instrument from her mythical homeland, Baroness Bianka yearns to live a normal life free from the passion which plagues her. Is the Gypsy right? Does she really carry the Mark of the Beetroot and if so, what does it mean for the Baroness and the people she encounters?  Despite the specific references to hemophilia and darkly comic elements, underneath it all lies common struggles with any addiction. Songs of blood are the way towards healing and self-acceptance in this North American premiere of the tenth one woman show from award winning songwriter Joanna Weinberg.

Last seen as Victoria in NLT’S THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES, Kristin Johnston will be taking on the titular role in our season opener, BARONESS BIANKA’S BLOODSONGS.  Self-accompanied on the accordion, we look forward to Ms. Johnston’s comedic time and considerable musical skill in bringing this quirky romantic character to life.   This dark comedy is perfectly timed to coincide with Halloween in 2019, and NLT’s second annual Frank n’ Stein fundraiser.

Cabaret Seating

Performance Dates

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 7:30PM Preview (PWYC)
Friday, October 18, 2019, 7:30PM Opening 
Saturday, October 19, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, October 20, 2019, 2:00PM Matinee (Preshow Director’s Circle Event 1:15PM)
Sunday, October 20, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door) 
Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show NLT Guest Speaker Salon)
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show Actor Talk Back)
Friday, October 25, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, October 26, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, October 27, 2019, 2:00PM Matinee 
Sunday, October 27, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door) 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Thursday, October 31, 2019, 7:30PM Performance 
Friday, November 1, 2019, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30PM Closing

Season subscriptions are still available starting at $50 - $80 for all three shows in the NLT season.

Subscription Form (PDF)

Or call 780-471-1586

Single tickets will go on-sale by September 1st


Joanna Weinberg - Playwright

Joanna Weinberg

Composer, book — writer and lyricist of contemporary musicals , singer songwriter and Cabaret artist. Joanna was born in London, raised in South Africa and has lived in Sydney Australia for the last 20 years. She comes from a family of classical musicians, has a drama degree from the University of Cape Town and has years of experience creating and performing theatre, music , cabaret and musical theatre. Her work has been performed in the U.K., Australia, Canada, South Africa and her film Goddess, starring Laura Michelle Kelly, had a  worldwide release in 2012. Joanna has created 5 albums of original songs, two of which are original cast albums of her musicals.

Joanna’s most recent work, Pandora’s Bag was recently seen as part of the Sydney Hayes Theatre cabaret season in 2016. The album of Pandora’s Bag was released on March 19 2017.

Her show, Pandora’s Bag, is essentially a feminist love song. It doesn’t take long to realise that Weinberg not only cares about other women, she actively thinks about and campaigns for their rights. ”
– Emma Castle, Sydney Scoop

She is also the composer and writer of Lifeforce , the mother of all journeys, which won the Pick of the Fringe at the 2013 Sydney Fringe Festival, directed by Lisa Freshwater.

I found it altogether tender, moving and funny. The scores were particularly catchy and had a certain Off Broadway feeling about them. Weinberg and cast definitely have a winning formula on their hands with this enterprising production. ”
— Sydney Arts Guide

Joanna is the co-writer and songwriter of the Australian musical film Goddess, 2013 , the music of which earned her a nomination for an Australian critics circle award , she is also the composer and writer of the musical Every Single Saturday which toured NSW.

This may be one of the first Australian musicals I’ve actually enjoyed ”
— Australian Stage

Joanna has written and performed ten one woman cabaret shows including the critically acclaimed Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs which played in September 2014 at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney and returned in 2015, directed by Lisa Freshwater of the Theatre Division.

“ Four Stars, superb ”
— John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald

“ The authenticity of Weinberg's performance is both disarmingly disturbing and hilarious..... vocal range is startlingly impressive...Lisa Freshwater has directed this innovative piece with unfaultable aplomb.
— Milly Ellen, The Music, 2014

She has released five albums of original songs, one of which is an original cast album. The Piano Diaries, 2012, received critical acclaim in the US.

“ Weinberg tells a story in song without it being stagy or cabaret, crafting something else entirely. A set that grabs you by the ear right out of the box. Weinberg is quite a find and is must hearing for anyone looking for something meaty and different without being arty for the sake of being arty. Firmly in that sweet spot that bubbles right under blatantly commercial, the blood is flowing and the performance is certainly winning. Hot stuff well worth checking out.
— Chris Spector, Midwest Record Volume 35/Number 81

Joanna’s latest work, The Secret Singer, a musical play, opens in November 2017 in Sydney.

Kristin Johnston - Baroness Bianka

Kristin JohnstonKristin is delighted to be returning to Northern Light Theatre after taking part in THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES last season. Kristin is an Edmonton based performer and instructor and a graduate of the Theatre Arts Program at Red Deer College and the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, BC. She is also a recent participant in the Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program. Select credits include SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (Citadel Theatre), Sterling-nominated new works RIVERCITY THE MUSICAL and THE UNSYNCABLES (Dammittammy Productions), IF WE WERE BIRDS (Bleviss Labouratory Theatre) and RELEASE THE MCCRAKKIN’ (Accidental Humour Co.). Much love and gratitude to Ash and her kids for their support.

Trevor Schmidt - Director / Set & Costume Designer

Trevor SchmidtTrevor has been the Artistic Director of Northern Light Theatre for the past
16 years, and involved with NLT for the past 23 years as a performer, director, designer,
and playwright, as well as being a multiple Sterling award winner. He has been awarded three times for playwrighting, (THE WATERMELON GIRLS, CHANGE ROOM, and FLORA & FAWNA'S FIELD TRIP!), twice for directing (the Canadian premieres of THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE-SUICIDE and Carol Anne Duffy's THE WORLD'S WIFE.) He received the Outstanding Fringe Performance award for the one-man show COFFEE DAD, CHICKEN MOM, AND THE FABULOUS BUDDHA BOI, penned by Nick Green, which toured to New York as part of the FRIGID FESTIVAL. His plays have been produced across Canada and far away as Australia (MABEL STARK!).  He has created and choreographed a one-woman dance piece entitled MARKED for the Expanse Dance Festival that was extended and nominated for a Sterling award for Outstanding New Work. He was honored to be awarded for Outstanding Choreography for 6.0: HOW HEAP AND PEBBLE TOOK ON THE WORLD AND WON at the Betty Mitchell Theatre Awards in Calgary, and the DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction as part of the Mayor's Evening for the Arts in Edmonton.  He is an Artistic Associate of GUYS IN DISGUISE theatre company.

Darrin Hagen - Musical Director & Arrangements

Darrin Hagen

Darrin Hagen is an award-winning playwright, composer and drag artiste. He is the author of the Sterling Award-winning THE EDMONTON QUEEN, published in book form by Brindle & Glass Publishing. Darrin is the Artistic Director of Guys In Disguise, which is responsible for 3 decades of creating drag comedies that have toured across North America. He has received 7 Sterling awards and over 40 Sterling nominations for his work in the Edmonton theatre scene. He also received the AMPIA for Best Male Host. Recent composing credits include THE WINTER’S TALE(Freewill Shakespeare Festival), WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUT TO KNOW(Theatre Network), and MINERVA (Ghostwriter Theatre).


Darrin is the Writer in Residence for the University of Alberta for 2019-2020. In addition to being named one of the 25 Most Influential Artists in Alberta, he was also named one of 100 Edmontonians of the Century. To the best of his knowledge, he’s the only drag queen on that list.

Elise Jason - Lighting Design

Elise Jason

Elise CM Jason (they/them/theirs pronouns) is a queer, mixed-race, multi-discinplinary artist living and creating in amiskawaciy (Edmonton, Alberta). In their practice, they are particularly interested in the intersection of visual art, installation in theatre, and creating devised performances. Select design credits include Boy Trouble (Vena Amoris, Nextfest), Lungs (Shadow Theatre), KaldrSaga (Cardiac Theatre), Origin of the Species (Northern Lights Theatre). Elise also holds a BFA (Theatre Design) from the University of Alberta 

LIZ Allison-JORDE - Stage Manager

Elizabeth Allison

Liz is honoured and excited to be a part of NLT’s exciting season again this year. Previous credits with NLT include 19 Weeks, Slut, Origin of the Species , and Bonnie and Clyde. When not Stage Managing, she is also a founding member of NextGen Theatre, the Volunteer Manager for StreetFest , the Front Office Manager for Lecky School of Dance and Mom to two grown children of whom she is very proud. Thank you for supporting local theatre! Enjoy the show.

CHRIS DELA CRUZ - Production Team

Chris Dela Cruz

Chris has spent the last 9 years making theatre things happen for many amazing theatre people. He couldn't be more excited to be working with NLT for the first time. Enjoy the show!

KRISTY HARCOURT - Salon Facilitator

Kristy Harcourt

Kristy is a social worker whose career has focused on the thriving of LGBTQ people and communities, on violence prevention and on strengthening social service organizations. She teaches in the Social Work and Gender Studies programs at MacEwan University. For many years, she co-hosted Edmonton's Loud and Queer Cabaret with Darrin Hagen. Kristy is nerdy about social change movements, queer and trans history, adult education, community development, adoption and brunch.








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