The DAN School of Drama and Music Presents a Weekend of Music Theatre

Published on: 2023/05/15 - in Releases

The Watershed Festival is presented by the DAN School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University, in partnership with the City of Kingston, with support from the DAN Foundation. The 2023 Festival will take place in Katarokwi/Kingston from May 26-27 at the Kingston Grand Theatre.

Since its debut season in 2021, the DAN School of Drama and Music’s Watershed Festival has been shining a light on the phenomenal Canadian and international work being created in the fields of musical theatre, opera, everything in between and everything beyond. A “watershed moment” is defined as an important event that changes the course of history, and there is no better time for us to re-imagine and re-invent the possibilities and future of music theatre.

This year the festival continues its celebration of all things music theatre with the much-anticipated world-premiere of celebrated Canadian music theatre creator Leslie Arden’s The Lancashire Lass, a return of our popular and innovative New Works Showcase and a charming and funny show for the whole family based on Chicken Little presented by the Barefoot Players (pictured above).

In the fall of 2019, award-winning Canadian composer and lyricist Leslie Arden was commissioned to create a brand-new musical for the DAN School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University. This was the first commission of this scale for the Watershed Festival. The new musical tells the tumultuous story of the British suffragette movement through the eyes of the dynamic yet conflicted Annie Kenney. It is the sweeping and poignant exploration of a century-old struggle that still has such a massive impact on the world today.

Directed by Tim Fort with an eight-piece orchestra musically directed by Darrell Christie, The Lancashire Lass features a cast of twenty-three including students of the DAN School of Drama and Music and members of the community as well as outstanding alumni and other professionals. It truly will be an epic evening at the theatre. First seen in “sneak peak” form at the 2021 festival, and in-concert at the 2022 festival, we now bring the glorious fully-staged world-premiere to the beautiful Kingston Grand Theatre on May 26, 2023.

We also welcome the return of our New Works Showcase which seeks to highlight ground-breaking and genre-expanding work taking place in the music theatre community throughout Canada. This year’s line-up includes Before the Last Meter by Saman Shahi and Isabella Dawis, The Lindworm’s Cabaret by Haley Sarfeld, Lauren Thomas, Rogan Gowan, Alison Gowan and Arden Rogalsky, Caezus by Nam Nguyen and Maksym Chipov-Rybtsev and a new work of ancestral discovery by Sarah Rossy. It really is a showcase of some of the country’s most incredible and upcoming talents.

For children and families, we welcome Queen’s Barefoot Players to the Baby Grand stage for a free fun-filled and interactive musical theatre experience based on Chicken Little that is sure to delight.

Leadership of the Watershed Festival includes: renowned composer, librettist and educator Dr. Dean Burry – Artistic Director; accomplished Algonquin playwright, director and dramaturg Yvette Nolan – Artistic Associate; former artistic director of Thousand Islands Playhouse and current professor at Queen’s University Greg Wanless – Managing Director; and Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Music Theatre and Opera at Queen’s University Dr. Colleen Renihan – Symposium Director. Our current Artist-in-Residence is Leslie Arden, composer/orchestrator, lyricist, librettist, performer, director and teacher, who has written many musicals including our very own The Lancashire Lass.

For more information about this year’s festival please visit Tickets are being sold through the Kingston Grand website.

Release | Photo: Watershed Festival