Mission & Mandate of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
Mermaid Theatre is best known for unique stage adaptations of children’s beloved literary classics. Their innovative puppetry, striking scenic effects, evocative original music and gentle storytelling have been applauded by over six million spectators in fifteen countries. Their mission is as follows:
The Theatre’s focus is twofold. On the one hand Mermaid’s energetic professional touring theatre for family audiences has won international claim for original productions with a strong emphasis on puppetry and the incorporation of original music. At the other end of the spectrum, Mermaid has a strong local and regional presence as the result of teaching and presenting activities. These include the Mermaid Theatre Loft’s artists’ residencies, the Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Entertainment series also known as MIPAC, and the Institute of Puppetry Arts’ innovative education and outreach programs.
The promotion of indigenous talent is of prime importance to the company. Mermaid Theatre’s touring productions at home and abroad serve as a continuous showcase for the Atlantic Canada’s performing artists, writers, directors, designers and technicians. The company ranks among Atlantic Canada’s foremost cultural employers, and is currently Canada’s major exporter of theatre for family audiences.
The company’s choice of material is based on the belief that young people can benefit substantially both in their emotional and aesthetic development, from early exposure to literature, the arts, and the power of imagination. The company’s objective is to produce work which is good theatre – entertaining, informative and stimulating to all the senses. As important is the goal of encouraging literacy and generating enthusiasm for the art of reading.
Mermaid Theatre has been in continuous operation since it was founded in 1972 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The company moved to the neighbouring town of Windsor in 1987, and helped to revitalize the historic town’s downtown business core. Their extensive headquarters encompass production studios, administrative offices, rehearsal quarters, a versatile studio, and an elegant 400-seat performance facility known as The Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Centre (MIPAC).
Each year Mermaid presents more than 400 performances for 200,000 spectators – many of them new to the theatre experience. Mermaid regularly crosses Canada and the United States, and has represented Canada in more than a dozen countries. Recorded narration featuring outstanding international artists facilitates performances in English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, French, Cantonese and Mandarin. Closer to home, Mermaid’s Institute of Puppetry Arts offers puppetry instruction at both community and professional levels. The Institute’s imaginative curriculum-based touring programs entertain and inform students and teachers throughout the region, as well as encourage educators to incorporate the performing arts in the teaching of science. The MIPAC Performing Arts Series attracts audiences of all ages. Many travel from nine counties to join local fans in enjoying the Family Fare program, unique to Nova Scotia.
Mermaid Theatre’s contributions to the local economy as well as the role they play as cultural ambassadors for Nova Scotia and for Canada have merited Export Excellence awards from both the Governments of Canada and of Nova Scotia. Mermaid Theatre is proud to have been recognized by CAPACOA with an award for Best Performing Group, and to have received the Crystal Tourism Ambassador Award from Nova Scotia’s tourism industry leaders in the fall of 2008. Several of Mermaid productions have earned coveted Citations of Excellence from UNIMA-USA. Simultaneous tours have enabled the company to appear in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom on the same day! Mermaid Theatre continues to make theatre history, both in Nova Scotia and in Canada!