The Centre for All Canadians

Anne Opens for its 54th Year with a big refresh

Anne of Green Gables, the story of Anne Shirley has evolved from the beloved Lucy Maud Montgomery series about this spirited red-head to the musical we know today. This is the 54th year that Anne of Green Gales – The Musical™ has played on the mainstage of the Confederation Centre, and it’s been refreshed for the modern audience.

The play opened for the 2018 season on June 23, with people loving the energized feel to this classic story.

“Tone-wise, director Adam Brazier opens it a bit more to loose play, with some dated gags dropped, and more casually delivered moments peppered throughout that make the comedy more contemporary and add a richness to the relationships,” writes Lennie MacPherson, a review with The Guardian. “The best humour now doesn’t pause for an audience acknowledgement. And the drama is comfortable with silence.”

Opening Night Photos

Highlighting new parts of the story

As the associate producer for the Confederation Centre and The Charlottetown Festival, Sarah Denman-Wood believes part of this renewal process includes bringing to light different aspects of the magic with the story of Anne.

“L. M. Montgomery’s story appeals to so many different people of different ages and backgrounds. Some may identify with her imagination, some with her optimism, some with being new in a small town. We try to bring out different parts of her story in each year’s production,” says Denman-Wood.

Some of these changes include making small tweaks to the production or to the script. The play also gets a facelift every time a new cast is brought on board, who have their own interpretations of the material. The actors of today come from different backgrounds than the original cast, so the play is, naturally, refreshed with each new cast.

2018 Cast of Anne

Take a spin on a new stage

As the play itself has been made more modern, so has the set design. The Centre is in the midst of a major three-phase refresh of the stage. This year included the unveiling of an 18-foot revolve that is large enough to turn the Green Gables house 360 degrees. It also allows for quick scene changes and helps establish the illusion of distance and travel.

“The use of automation technology brings an electric energy to this timeless production,” added Dean Constable, General Manager of Theatre.

Revolving Stage

But while the play is continually updated, the core story has stayed the same and there is comfort and joy in the familiarity.

“There’s a reason people read the novel over and over and over, just as there’s a reason people come to see the show over and over and over. It’s a universal story of people looking to fit in and looking for friendship,” said Denman-Wood.

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