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News from NLT

April 5, 2018

What we have in
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BY Brenda McFarlane
April 5- 14, 2018 | Studio Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns 10330-84 Ave

Featuring Michelle Todd | Directed by Trevor Schmidt
Matilda is a woman who gives of herself freely.  So freely in fact, that the senior citizens from the complex next door have her arrested for running a brothel. During an endless night of booking at the police station, Matilda runs a gamut of emotions: joy, regret, remorse, anger, despair and love.  Brenda McFarlane’s witty and fast paced play pries apart social stereotypes and stigmas in an insightful, light-hearted and comic examination of love and sex.

Chosen as the final show of our Virgin, Whore and Something In Between Season, we feel that this comical play by Brenda McFarlane is even more relevant and topical than ever.  A must see.

Mature Content and Themes


Single Tickets
Available at the door, or, 780-471-1586

$30 Adult, $25 Student/Senior, $20 Matinee (all prices do not include GST)

Group Tickets
Group Rates are available at Northern Light Theatre at $20.00 per ticket for groups of 10 or more.

To Book your tickets please call Northern Light Theatre at (780) 471-1586, book online or email General Manager Gina Moe at

Thursday, April 5, 2018, 7:30PM
Preview (Pay what you can Preview)

Friday, April 6, 2018, 7:30PM
Opening with Reception by Under the Highwheel

Saturday, April 7, 7:30PM Performance

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 2:00PM
Matinee (Preshow Director’s Circle Event in Studio A)

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 7:30PM Performance

Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 7:30PM
Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket sold at the door) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 PM
Performance (Post Show Guest Speaker Salon with Pizza from Famoso WEM)

Thursday, April 12, 2018, 7:30PM
Performance (Post show Actor Talk Back)

Friday, April 13, 2018, 7:30 PM Performance

Saturday, April 14, 2018 7:30PM Closing 

Take in one of our Salon Events, where we will delve even deeper into the content and themes of this play with Director Trevor Schmidt and our Salon Facilitator Cristine Stasia and other guest speakers.

Interview with Playwright
Brenda McFarlane

Brenda McFarlane

Northern Light Theatre: I suppose the first question everyone asks (people being the prurient little pervs that they are) is "How much of this show is based on your real life?" Or perhaps, (more appropriately) – "What was the inspiration for writing SLUT?"

Brenda McFarlane: I don't mind answering the first question more clearly and honestly than I have in the past, perhaps because I am now respectably married - which certainly deserves a bit of contemplation in itself.  Anyway, the play SLUT absolutely reflects my personal approach to sexuality and aspects of my life experience.
I've never considered myself a SLUT but I certainly worried that others might think I am. There seems to be a lot of contradictions regarding sexuality and being a woman. On one hand, we are frequently shown confident women having a lot of sex - especially in television comedies like the Mindy Project, Girls, Broad City. When Sex and the City was on, I was acutely aware of the disconnect between the fun fiction of the show and the uncomfortable reality.

I wrote SLUT from my convictions and as a reflection of the many conversations I had with both men and women about sex. What disturbed me most during these conversations is the approach that sex had to be either a bit of dirty fun - sort of mutual masturbation - or motivated by love and commitment to each other. Almost all the single women I talked with seemed to steadfastly denounce casual sex - even when or maybe especially when - they actually engaged in it. In most cases the notion of actively pursuing casual sex seemed repugnant to them. They cited an inability to keep emotion out of sex, that they got attached, or they simply didn't enjoy sex without human connection.  On the other hand, the women I met who openly celebrated casual sex spoke of their sexual partners with indifference and perhaps even an edge of contempt.

I found both points of view incredibly limiting. Some of the women who refused to consider having sex outside of a relationship (or THE relationship) had not had sex in months or years despite expressing a desire for it. On the flip side, I found that modern women had learned to embrace the objectification of men with a gusto which I thought really took some of the fun out of sexual connection with a fellow human being.

NLT: How are you and Matilda alike- and different?

BM: The play SLUT, and the character Matilda, is a reflection and an encapsulation of my experience as an urban woman. Like me, Matilda refuses to rely on finding THE ONE before she can enjoy love and sex. Unlike me, Matilda has a bigger heart, is funnier, sweeter and has thought less about her sexuality until the play begins. In this way, I have made her both more innocent and more spontaneous. Matilda lacks the level of bitterness or cynicism I find in myself. Until this night, she has successfully avoided thinking about the social price she pays for wanting both sex and love outside of a relationship. I think Matilda has fewer defenses because she is less aware of internalized sexual shame. When she is confronted with it, she is much more surprised. Tonight she is forced to publicly admit to the emotional cost of living and loving fully and sexually. Doing this is difficult because it paints her as victimized by her own lack of self-restraint. I doubt I would have the courage to do what she is able to do. Finally, it was extremely important to me to give Matilda a great ease about safe sex and condoms because I find it highly disturbing that so many portrayals of sexuality occur without acknowledging this fundamental aspect of good sex.

NLT: SLUT walks a fine line between comedy and examination of some big, serious themes. How did you find the balance between the two in the development of the script?

BM: Thank you for saying that. I am painfully aware how many people have said to me - in one way or another - that the plays I want to write are not important or worthy of attention. At my best, when not defeated by futility, these kind of dismissals fuel my writing and make me want to be HEARD. When writing dialogue, I try to think of all points of view of the characters and when I think I am representing them well, humour naturally emerges. At times, I also think of the audience and will write imagining their experience and I find comedy in that too.

NLT: The title, SLUT, is a bald and bold statement all on its own. The word carries such a stigma. It's a brash statement to put on a poster. I'm pleased you didn't soften it with a backpedalling subtitle that lessens the impact. Has there been any strong reaction to previous productions?

BM: The title has been a blessing and a curse. It is certainly attention-grabbing, which was great in Toronto but didn't work as well in the States. The title carries so much baggage that apparently the actual play can't live up to all the expectations. I certainly considered changing the name to take some of the pressure it experienced off but I couldn't find a better title. 

In general, audiences responded very well to the production. Some men expressed disappointment that the play wasn't more titillating. One LA reviewer saw nothing wrong with consoling himself by commenting on how nice Heidi's figure was. On the other hand, in San Diego I got the sense that the reviewer felt I didn't explore gender politics enough and the play was merely titillating.

What was most surprising but proved the validity of the work is Tom Penketh's review in Backstage. He calls Matilda's sex life "out of control" and her sexual behavior "aberrant. He claims that she is "acting out" and that she is trying to justify her actions with "feminist rhetoric or psychobabble" (Isn't the term "acting out" psychobabble?). His review represented exactly the kind of women hating judgment I would expect in small town USA and not New York, the city who spawned the TV show, Sex and the City. The sexism he displays can be summarized in his conclusion that the play is about Matilda being saved by a "sympathetic policeman" who helps her "eventually achieve a modicum of self-awareness." Could anyone be more male-centric? And if that's not a backlash to the subject of the play, I don't know what is.

Brenda McFarlane grew up in Toronto, attended college at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York where she majored in theater and creative writing and graduated cum laude. There she was recognized in Who's Who Among Students and was tapped by Omicron Delta Kappa - The National Leadership Honor Society. She went on to  graduate school at Tulane University in theatre directing, and spent 2 summers as a directing assistant at Williamstown Theatre Festival where she assisted Nikos Psacharopoulos while directing up-and coming stars like Allison Janney, Damian Young and Peri Gilpin. On returning to Toronto she held a steady flow of temporary jobs while producing and directing 7 of her own plays under her company, Far Fetched Productions. The Globe and Mail described her as "one of the brightest young writer/directors around these days" Later she attended three programs at the Canadian Film Center in scriptwriting, moved to Hollywood, won a scriptwriting award from the Austin Film Festival and produced her play "Slut" (published by Original Works Publishing) in Toronto, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York. In Los Angeles she directed and served as dramaturge for the original play "The Pig and I". Backstage review called her direction "crisp and inventive, keeping the stage picture lively." After moving to San Diego, McFarlane served as Artistic Director for the San Diego Performance Festival "Resilience of the Human Spirit." Presently she is seeking a producer for her full length play, "Husband in a Coma" and running her natural body care business ZirYab's Body Brew specializing in natural deodorant and other products.


This year’s collection of plays centers on women’s bodies- their right to autonomy, how that autonomy can be subjected to the will of others, and the indomitable spirit that resides within. From a large-scale multi-media work of a movement based piece in collaboration with our past collaborating company Good Women Dance Collective, and in tandem with new community partner Loud Whisper Productions (an offshoot from Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta) incorporating video, dance and a traveling audience in a pageant- play styled venue, to a quietly disturbing confession of the controversy and conflict surrounding a late-term abortion - these plays all take an unflinching look at the physical, psychological and emotional violence inflicted on women by society, by misogyny - and sometimes by each other.  We expect our Salon events to be lively and filled with thought provoking discussion.

Bryony Lavery
October 12 – October 27, 2018
Preview October 11
Studio Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns
10330-84 Ave.

Featuring Holly Turner from Northern Light Theatre’s Production of The Testament of Mary

Evolution, feminism and comedy come together in Origin of the Species.

In Bryony Lavery's quirky Origin of the Species, ardent archaeologist Molly, digging for prehistoric man in Olduvai Gorge finds instead a four-million-year old female body. Upon kissing her lips, the four million year old woman comes to life, and is smuggled back to England and named Victoria, after Molly’s grandmother. Once in possession of this anthropological miracle, Molly spends New Year’s Eve seeking to teach Victoria what it means to be a woman in the 21st Century, and incidentally gains much more than she expected.

“...a telling allegory of the loss of innocence... Lavery's wit and imagination are unquestionably present."
- London Observer

by Clay McLeod Chapman
(World Premiere)
Co-production with Good Women Dance Collective  & Loud Whisper Productions

January 18 – February 2, 2019
Preview January 17
Studio Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns
10330-84 Ave

Featuring the women of the Good Women Dance Collective

True Story - Four women were procured from the Ravensbruck concentration camp, hand-selected by SS Second Lieutenant Dr. Sigmund Rascher, Air Force physician. These four women were “volunteered” for a series of experiments that would eventually come to be known as the cold conference — tests specifically designed to determine the endurance of the human body to extreme temperatures. The voices of these four women have since disappeared. Where does the human spirit go when the body must remain behind, frozen inside an atrocity?

Clay McLeod Chapman is the creator of the rigorous storytelling session The Pumpkin Pie Show. In the twenty years of its existence, it has performed internationally at the Romanian Theatre Festival of Sibiu, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Edmonton Fringe Festival, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Dublin-based thisisnotashop art space, IGNITE Festival, Women Center Stage Festival and Impact Theatre Festival. 

19 weeks
by Emily Steel
(Canadian Premiere)
a co-production with Azimuth Theatre

March 29 – April 14, 2019
Preview March 28
Studio Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns
10330-84 Ave

The words are rattling because the story is real. Everyone knows someone who has had an abortion or lost a pregnancy - even if they don’t talk about it. In 2016, playwright Emily Steel had a termination after her baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. This is her story, told honestly and publicly, because there are so many more stories out there. We want 19 weeks to be part of a bigger conversation.

I made the decision that I was going to tell people the truth about what happened because keeping quiet about such a traumatic experience would have felt like even more of a burden. My fear was that people would think I was a horrible, heartless person, and I had to process those feelings myself, but how people are going to perceive you cannot alter your decisions about the course of your life.

For the most part, my fears did not come true. The response of so many women was to tell me stories of their own abortions or miscarriages, and that was a huge part of the inspiration for the play. There is a lot of controversy about late abortions, but it’s not until you go through that process that you realize how much time it can take to do what you think is the most responsible thing.
- Emily Steel

Subscriptions Available
Starting April 6th

Don't miss a single show in
NLT's 43rd Anniversary Season

NLT values our role as an outspoken, purposefully-controversial and boundary-pushing company.   We are dedicated to producing innovative, intimate and affecting work that is brave, emotionally driven and speaks to a modern audience.  We are known for programming new Canadian works and obscure international gems that you will not see on any other stage in Edmonton.  It is our goal not only to entertain, but to spark meaningful conversations on the themes raised in our productions, and to produce plays that will stay with our audiences long after the curtain has gone down.

Subscriber Perks

NLT continues to offer Subscription Ticket Prices that cannot be beat, starting at
$40.00 for Previews & Matinees
$50.00 Student/Senior
$70 Adult
$75.00 Opening Night

(prices do not include GST)

Preferred Seating

Subscribers get first dibs on the best seats in the house. Simply call our office to book your seats in advance, no need to wait in line for front row seats!

Bring a guest

We want to meet your friends. NLT subscribers get a complimentary ticket to one of the shows in our 2017-2018 season so they can bring a date to share the play. 

Meet our friends

NLT subscribers receive 50% off their single ticket purchase to any show in L'UniTheatre's upcoming 2017-2018 season.

What's in the Tickle Trunk?

Only Subscribers will find out! Don't miss out on special draws, prizes and one time offers that are only available to NLT subscribers.

Purchase a 2018-2019 Season Subscription and receive a single ticket to see SLUT at a 50% discount



NLT needs ushers for our performance run of  SLUT from April 5th – April 14th?

Ushers must arrive 1 hour before curtain to be trained, and are able to sit in and see the show that performance or book their complimentary ticket for another night.

& JUNE 12

Volunteer for NLT

For our bingo in two weeks, we are still seeking two (2) fabulous volunteers, and need to fill our entire slate of 10 positions for our Bingos in May and June.  All Bingos are held in Caesar’s Palace West Edmonton Mall.  A light dinner, training and a ticket to see an NLT show are provided.  Standing / walking, customer service and counting cash are required skills.

Saturday April 21, 2018 from 11:00AM to 3:45PM (Can book your volunteer ticket in advance to see SLUT)
Friday May 11, 2018, 11am to 3:45pm
Tuesday June 12, 2018, 5pm to 9:45pm

To sign up for any of these volunteer opportunities, please email Gina Moe at


Since last winter NLT has been meeting with the other companies that work in Old Strathcona and the Theatre District to find new creative ways that we can work together, boost each other’s work and create a stronger collective voice for the arts in Edmonton.    We are dedicated to not only telling you about the work that NLT is producing, but all of the companies, professional and indie, that work and perform in Old Strathcona.

For This newsletter we are expanding our listing to include some of the companies who also supported NLT’s online auction.

Fringe Theatre Adventures


Coming up in the Arts in the Barns Series is CLEAVE by Elena Belyea, developed as part of the ’15 MFA
Playwrights’ Workshop presented by the National New Play Network and Kennedy Centre in Washington, DC.  Winner of the ’15 Wildfire National Playwriting Competition.  Shortlisted for the ’16 APN 50th Anniversary Alberta Playwriting Competition.

For 17-year old intersex Aaron, the new school years means a new chance for life.  For Pina, another shot at head cheerleader.  For Mark, open season.  A stranger intersects with a family in exile from itself. Parents Paul and Carol struggle to keep secrets from their children, desperate to know the truth.  Like a surgeon’ knife before a first incision, the scaple is poised and ready to slice.

March 27 – April 7, 2018
Backstage Theatre Fringe Theatre Adventures 

10330 – 84 Avenue


The Varscona Theatre

Going to St. Ives

Going to St. Ives
In the pleasant living room of a beautiful country home in the quiet village of St. Ives, England, two brilliant women exchange pleasantries over cups of tea and scones. However, we soon realize that this is no ordinary meeting. Patricia Darbasie and Belinda Cornish star in this thrilling confrontation!
April 5 - 14, 2018
Varscona Theatre
10329 – 83rd Ave.

Theatre Network


How does a new Theory of Time change everything we know about ourselves? In this Dora-Award Winner for Best New Play, three brilliant minds – a musician, a mathematician, and a theoretical physicist – collide like particles, and together they learn that love and time are connected in ways they could never have imagined.

Featuring: Ryan Parker, Larissa Pohoreski, Cayley Thomas
Bradley Moss

April 17 – May 6, 2018
Roxy on Gateway
8529 103 Street

Workshop West Theatre

Pretty Goblins

Pretty Goblins by Edmonton Playwright Beth Graham

Directed by Brian Dooley and featuring Miranda Allen and Nadien Chu

Sisters. Twins. Together. Forever. In the middle of a cold, dark, night Laura discovers her estranged fraternal twin sister, Lizzie, howling in her living room. Lizzie’s sudden appearance loosens Laura’s grip on reality sending the sisters on a journey of tragic discoveryPretty Goblins explores, the anguish of loss, the chaos of addiction and the beautiful ferocity of sisterly love. A World Premiere by Governor General’s Award finalist Beth Graham.

April 18 – 29, 2018
Backstage Theatre
10330 -84th Avenue

Citie Ballet


Citie Ballet artistic director Jorden Morris presents IGNITE:  a new work accompanied by two new pieces by company dancers Lydia Redpath and Matthew Klippenstein.

As Edmonton’s resident ballet company, Citie Ballet strives to make ballet accessible by inspiring audiences with original works and beautifully remounted pieces under the direction of Artistic Director Jorden Morris.  The company’s final production of the season honours the return of spring – celebrating that spirit with stories that reflect emergence and change.

Friday April 20, Saturday April 21st, Sunday April 22nd
Timms Centre for the Arts
87 Ave & 112 Street


Edmonton Opera

Don Gionvanni

Opera’s most notorious bad boy Don Giovanni is back in all his seductive glory. Often regarded as the crowning masterpiece of Mozart’s Italian repertoire, Don Giovanni combines elements of comedy, tragedy, and the supernatural in a riveting opera experience.

Baritone Phillip Addis, adored by Edmonton audiences as Figaro in 2014’s The Barber of Seville, will bring his “physically commanding, vocally authoritative energy” (Opera Canada) as Mozart’s mysterious anti-hero. Directed by Oriol Tomas, featuring stylish designs by Bretta Gerecke and Deanna Finnman, this bold new production of Don Giovanni promises to steal audiences’ hearts.

Saturday April 14, Tuesday April 17, Friday April 20, 2018
Jubilee Auditorium
11455 – 87th Avenue

Edmonton Opera Box Office:
15230 – 128 Ave.


Citadel Theatre

The Silver Arrow

This delightful twist on the classic Robin Hood tale by Edmonton playwright Mieko Ouchi, features local actress Kristi Hansen in the lead role, and will showcase participants of the 2018, Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program.

The Silver Arrow: The Untold Story of Robin Hoodruns April 21 to May 13, 2018
Citadel Theatre

9828 - 101A Avenue

Q&A with Playwright Mieko Ouchi and Director Daryl Cloran

Q&A with Hawksley Workman

Yoga at The Barns

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