Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia

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!

Best for Ages 4 and up


The Rainbow Fish- by Marcus Pfister

“The sparkling story that became an international publishing phenomenon!” Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s elegant new show, The Rainbow Fish, will include an original stage adaptation of Marcus Pfister’s colourful story as well two of the author’s companion tales, Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea and Opposites. Mermaid Theatre has earned international acclaim for its unique interpretations of the works of Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar ), Leo Lionni (Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch) and Sam McBratney (Guess How Much I Love You). These widely-travelled productions incorporate innovative puppetry, striking scenic effects, and evocative original music to provide very young audiences with an effortless introduction to the performing arts and the excitement of reading.  The Rainbow Fish features these same elements.

The Rainbow Fish will enchant even the youngest child with his silver scales and heart of gold in this award-winning book about the beautiful fish who learned to share his most prized possession. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings The Rainbow Fish to life with their enchanting puppetry.

Winner of The Christopher Award, the Bologna Book Fair Critici in Erba Prize, American Booksellers Association ABBY Winner, and an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice title–the sweet message of The Rainbow Fish series has resonated with children, parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers around the world.

About the Performance
The first of three tales introduces the most beautiful fish in the sea, whose scales shimmer in all the colours of the rainbow. He is admired – and resented – by the entire underwater world, until a clever octopus advises him to give each fish one of his scales. Further adventures follow as The Rainbow Fish finds the courage to explore the great unknown deep sea, discovering a new world with wonderful sights and friendly creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours who are eager to make his acquaintance. The underworld wonderland is the setting for an introduction to the concept of opposites. As a fitting finale, the story ends with the most satisfying opposite of all—give and take—as Rainbow Fish shares one of his shining scales with a friend.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister™ ©1992 NorthSouth Books, Inc. Licensed by RJM Licensing, Inc.

Information Sheet
Program Notes
Study Guide
(Presented by State Theatre New Jersey *please keep STNJ branding)

Technical Information
Relaxed Performance Information

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Director / Production Designer – Jim Morrow
Composer – Steven Naylor
Narration – Laura Benanti & Linda Wonneberger
Scenic Painter – Sarah Haydon Roy

Associate Designers – Deborah MacLean & Struan Robertson

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites- by Eric Carle

Three beloved stories by Eric Carle, award-winning children’s book illustrator and author, are retold on stage through the magic of black light and fanciful puppets. The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the wonderful adventures of a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through an amazing variety of foods on his path to becoming a beautiful butterfly.  High up in the sky, Little Cloud playfully transforms himself  into various creatures, including a sheep, and an airplane, a shark and more. The Mixed-Up Chameleon is bored with his life, sitting about predictably changing colour all day. Following an adventurous trip to the zoo, he attempts to emulate the beautiful animals he sees before coming to the conclusion that there is value in his own unique self.

Adapted, designed and directed by Jim Morrow, with music by Steven Naylor and narration by Gordon Pinsent, the hour-long production features the imaginative approach to storytelling through theatre that has earned international recognition for Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

Available in: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin Toured to: US, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Bahrain, China, Singapore, Japan Over 640,000 spectators since 2010 Recommended ages 3-8 yrs

Study Guide – courtesy of the
Tennessee Performing Arts Centre

Technical Information
Relaxed Performance Information

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites by Eric Carle
Director / Production Designer – Jim Morrow
Composer – Steven Naylor
Narration – Gordon Pinsent
Scenic Painter – Sarah Haydon Roy

Associate Designers – Deborah MacLean & Struan Robertson