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News from NLT

January 9, 2020

What we have in
this newsletter:

  1. An Interview with EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE Playwright Ellen Chorley
  2. Tickets Are Going Fast! Book your Tickets to see EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE Now.
  3. Read the Preview Articles for EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE
  4. February 1, 2020, 45th Anniversary Season Launch Party THE ART OF CAKE.  All Tickets $30.00, On Sale Now

Everybody Loves Robbie


Everybody Loves Robbie

Jayce McKenzie, Ellen Chorley and Richard Lee Hsi
Photo Credit — Ian Jackson Epic Photography

NLT’s Artistic Director Trevor Schmidt sat down with Playwright Ellen Chorley to delve into the origins and inspirations for her new play EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE.

TS: Tell us a bit more about EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE- from it’s first incarnation to its upcoming show.

EC: I first wrote “Everybody Loves Robbie” as twelve-minute short play for Guys in Disguise’s Loud and Queer Festival in 2014.  The short piece focussed on the relationship between Chloe and Robbie in the “present” but didn’t include the beginning of their relationship or their past.  The piece was read by my dear friends Lana Hughes, April Banigan and Mat Hulshof and directed by Trevor Schmidt.  We just had an absolute blast putting on the piece and it seemed to have a really good reception with the audience.  I sort of kept the little play in my back pocket thinking I would include it in collage –type script I was writing called “All Our Friends Are Sad,” which was planned to include a number of short plays dissecting sadness.  That play is still on the back burner.  Trevor and Gina approached me to build out the piece I started to expand the narrative into a full-length piece to examine Chloe and Robbie’s relationship for a longer period of time- to really see their love story.  We had a super fruitful workshop in July (2019) to develop the script further and now we are at the world premiere.

TS: What was your initial inspiration for the story of EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE?

EC:  I don’t know if a story element was the initial inspiration, but more like a … feeling?  I think that regardless of what kind of relationship they are in, everyone has been in a relationship where the rules have suddenly changed without you knowing. It feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you.  The feeling of “but I didn’t do anything- why has our relationship changed?” has happened to me A LOT, and I think I wanted to investigate that feeling.  I think “Everybody Loves Robbie” really dives into that idea:  how does a relationship change, if someone’s identity changes?

TS:  Everyone will want to know- is there a real Robbie?

EC:  Sort of.  Robbie is based on a number of friends I had in high school and in theatre school.  I think everyone’s late teens and early twenties are a time of revelation and investigation of one’s identity.  I got to witness many of my queer friends go though this investigation.

Everybody Loves Robbie

Jayce McKenzie as Chloe and Richard Lee Hsi as Robbie
Photo Credit — Ian Jackson Epic Photography

TS: You’ve written a lot of theatre pieces for high schools and drama training programs.  How does this script differ from writing a TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) script?

EC: Well, there are a lot of fucking swears in this one.  But seriously, I think the difference between this script and others that I have written for young actors to perform is I get to do less.  There are far more moments of vulnerability and quiet reflection written into “EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE” then other scripts because for these actors, I don’t need to spell everything out.  For younger actors or theatre students, I would likely have to have the actor say “I am sad,” whereas in this play, the actors can figure it out without the playwright telling them.

TS:  People will likely assume this is at least partially autobiographical.  Give us a number between one and ten on how autobiographical it is (we’ll put it on a post-it).

EC: Six or seven?  The main story elements are made up, but the little story elements like having whooping cough during the summer between grade nine and ten, watching “Anne of Green Gables,” winning a radio contest from the musical show on CKUA and wondering if I was the only person listening, going to the classic musicals at the museum and using peanut shells to decorate the set are all true.

TS: Your love for drama teachers and drama kids is evident through out.  What’s the experience that “hooked” you into drama as a young person.

EC: I think I have a lot of experiences that hooked me, but ultimately doing drama (and all different types of arts) allowed me to find a place where I belonged.  I think that is why arts education is so important. The point of arts education is not to make a bunch of kids into professional artists (if that happens… great), instead it is to give kids important life skills like accountability, work ethic, social skills, creative problem solving, and empathy.  We need those skills just as much to be a lawyer or an engineer or a computer programmer as we do to be an actor or an artist. 

TS: What are your three favourite musicals – and your dream role?

EC: Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown, Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, Gypsy by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim

TS: Dream role:

EC: Mama Rose in Gypsy, Hortario in Hamlet

EVERYBODY LOVES ROBBIE IS PLAYING January 10-25, 2020 (Preview January 9, 2020)
Tuesday-Sunday Performances 7:30 pm, Sunday Matinees 2:00 pm
Studio Theatre at the ATB Financial Arts Barns 10330-84 Avenue, Edmonton


Tickets are going fast, with some performances already sold out.

Everybody Loves Robbie

Richard Lee Hsi as Robbie and Jayce McKenzie as Chloe
Photo Credit — Ian Jackson Epic Photography

(January 9- 25, 2020)


Advance Tickets and Midseason Subscriptions


Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Preview (PWYC) SOLD OUT
Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, | 7:30 pm- Opening
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance
Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 | 2:00 pm- Matinee (Preshow Director's Circle Event 1:15 pm)

Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance (PWYC)

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance (Two for One Tickets at the door)
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance (Post Show Guest Speaker Salon)

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance (Post Show Actor Talk Back)
Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance
Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 | 2:00 pm- Matinee
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020| 7:30 pm- Performance (PWYC)

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance (Two for One Tickets at the door)
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance
Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 | 7:30 pm- Performance
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 | 7:30 pm - Closing Night Performance


Everybody Loves Robbie

Jayce McKenzie as Chloe and Richard Lee Hsi as Robbie
Photo Credit — Ian Jackson Epic Photography

Teenage love is often a bit of a drama. But when the drama takes place in drama, well, intense doesn't begin to describe it. Everybody Loves Robbie, the one-act play up next at Northern Light Theatre, is set smack in the middle of that high school trope, the drama class. Written by Edmonton playwright Ellen Chorley, the play centres on Robbie and Chloe, who become the best of friends in high school, and then fall in love.
Liane Faulder, Edmonton Journal
Read the whole review here

In the comedy that premieres Friday at Northern Light Theatre, a starry high school couple, drama kids who live and breathe the oxygenated air of musical theatre, come up against doubts. The kind of doubts that make you pause to reassess. That hand you questions about the sliding scale of sexuality and make you wonder where you belong and who you're with.
Liz Nicholls – 12thNight Theatre Blog
Read the whole review here

45th Anniversary
Season Launch Party

Saturday Feb 1, 2020

The Art of Cake Fundraiser

Tickets to our ART OF CAKE 45th Season Launch Party are on sale now!

Featuring performances from our upcoming 2020-2021 season, surprise announcements (such as the date for our 45th Anniversary Gala Party), special guests, raffle and door prizes, and your chance to get in our Early Bird Subscription Prices for next season.

Tickets: $30.00

Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm
The Art of Cake Café & Bakery
11811 105 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 0L9


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