Arts Seen – week of June 5 2014

Lunchbox Theatre preparing for 40th anniversary with Mark Bellamy at the helm

As the current season comes to a close at Lunchbox Theatre the company has been busy planning for the upcoming 40th anniversary season and beyond. The final show of 2013-14 is the annual RBC Emerging Director showcase putting Jaqueline Russell who has assistant directed several shows this season in the big chair. Russell will direct a production of One Good Marriage by Sean Reycraft a dark comedy about a couple celebrating their one-year anniversary at a party with friends when “the unspeakable happens.” The play stars Nathan Pronyshyn and Helen Knight and runs June 5 to 7 ( lunchboxtheatre.com ).

Meanwhile "the world’s longest running lunchtime theatre" continues to look to the future. The company recently announced that Mark Bellamy will take on the new role of artistic producer part of a restructuring of the organization that coincides with its anniversary. Bellamy has worked for several theatre companies in Calgary including as assistant director at Vertigo Theatre from 2004 to 2012 as well as across Canada and in the U.S. and Britain. In addition to numerous other honours he was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his service to Calgary’s arts community. The restructuring follows artistic director Glenda Stirling’s departure and the news that longtime general manager George Ross will retire. Interim artistic director Pamela Halstead will wrap up the current season with the Suncor Energy Stage One Festival which provides audiences a sneak peek at new Canadian works running June 13 to 28. Bellamy will assume his new role starting in July and will be taking on the artistic side of the company as well as some of the management.

The lineup for Lunchbox Theatre’s 40th anniversary season includes a mix of old favourites and familiar names along with world premières: The Life History of the African Elephant a Lunchbox hit by Clem Martini featuring the original cast (Sept. 29 to Oct. 18); Jake’s Gift an award-winning Remembrance Day drama (Oct. 27 to Nov. 22); With Bells On by Darrin Hagen an encore performance featuring a drag queen in a Christmas tree costume; Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story a Firebrand Theatre production by Beau Dixon presented as part of One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo (Jan. 12 to 24); Speed Dating for Sperm Donors a world première by Mount Royal University associate professor Natalie Meisner author of the recently published Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family (Feb. 2 to 21); Ivanka Chews the Fat featuring the wacky character written and performed by Jo-Ann Waytowich (March 9 to 21); A Worthy Opponent a new comedy by Meg Braem a Calgary-based playwright who was recently nominated for a Governor General Award for her play Blood: A Scientific Romance (March 30 to April 18); and Dads in Bondage the return of a popular musical by Robert Moore with music by Tom Doyle (April 27 to May 16) as well as the 2015 Emerging Director showcase and the festival of new works.