The beloved musical celebrating Prince Edward Island’s favorite fictional heroine will no longer be an annual production.
The Confederation Center for the Arts announced Thursday that “Anne of Green Gables – the Musical” will not be a part of the Charlottetown Festival in 2023.
Going forward, the musical will only be produced every two years.
It will return to the stage in 2024, coinciding with the 150th birthday of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the PEI author of the world-famous book on which the show is based.
“We heard rumors that this was going to happen… I think fans will certainly speak their minds if they’re disappointed by this decision,” said Julia Campbell, co-owner of the Anne of Green Gables store.
“I also understand that the Confederation Center is a business, so they have to look at what the revenue is from ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and whether putting on another show would be more beneficial to their organization.”
It caps off an annual PEI tradition that goes back decades.
Production ran annually from 1965 to 2019, only stopping in 2020 and 2021 due to challenges related to COVID-19. He returned to the stage this past summer.
“One of the dangers of repetition in the performing arts is that it takes away the opportunity to do new things, to try new forms and voices, and I think this is going to be very good for the actors,” said Adam Brazier, the musical’s artistic director. . .
“I also think this is going to be really good for our internal staff and our team to try new things and broaden their horizons as well.”
It’s a show that has drawn tourists from around the world and one that the Maritimes return to year after year, but it’s an expensive production with a large cast and orchestra.
“We know we need to do Anne over a longer period of time to get her closer to breaking even,” Brazier said.
“We need a second show that can come in and draw the crowd on those other nights, so we’ll always have another show with Anne or a world premiere, something that’s tourist-friendly and encourages all visitors to come. .”
The Confederation Center for the Arts in Charlottetown on Nov. 24, 2022. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)
Steve Bellamy, executive director of the Confederation Center of the Arts, says the pandemic solidified plans to reduce the show’s length.
“I think it’s fair to say that the pandemic made us stop. It gave us a bit of space to think about, how can we meet this goal, to present new and varied Canadian works, while at the same time continuing to present ‘Anne of Green Gables?’” Bellamy said.
“And with that time that we had to experiment, dive into new directions and really consider what’s best for the production and for the Confederation Center for the Arts, it really was during that time that we were able to come to that decision. ”
In addition, a new agreement with the show’s rights holders will allow “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical” to be performed in other markets when not shown at the Charlottetown Festival.
The Confederation Center for the Arts says the rights will now also allow schools and non-professional community groups to produce their own versions of the musical.
“An important part of this new deal is putting it back in the hands of the youth, because when we presented ‘Anne’ every year, we had an exclusive contract that meant no amateur drama high school could present it,” Bellamy explained.
“We’re going to eliminate that.”
As for whether the decision will have an impact on tourism, Campbell says the island has more to offer than “Anne.”
“Tourism has been amazing here in Prince Edward Island, Anne has always played a huge role in that, but we’re branching out a lot in PEI as well,” he said.
“We have amazing beaches, people come here because it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s relaxing. People come here with their families and they feel safe, so I think that while Anne is a big part of PEI tourism, there are many other components that contribute to the success of PEI tourism.”