The Neverending Story

Artistic Director’s Notes

A child chosen to fight an unvanquishable villain is a well-known theme, from David and Goliath to Harry Potter and Voldemort. While there is a kind of conventional villain in The Neverending Story, in the form of the werewolf Gmork, the real villain is The Nothing – a much more difficult villain to combat, harder to identify and see. The Nothing represents the empty places that have never been touched by imagination. In places most alive with stories, The Nothing actively and violently erases them. The Nothing doesn’t care which stories and characters disappear, and takes no pleasure in its destructiveness. It just IS, like an aimless tornado. The Nothing exists, pre-dates creation, and grows stronger when we don’t fill the dark void with story, imagination, character and light.

Our conceptual design likens the darkness of The Nothing and its light-filled opposite to the pin pricks of stars battling the black sheet of the night sky, and offers that The Nothing is the immeasurable emptiness that was before the beginning of the universe. When all the matter and antimatter met long ago, and that moment of infinite pressure made all the world’s elements burst forth – that was the ultimate act of creation, or for the religious among us, imagination. Every star is a story dreamed up, everything that reflects or emits light is a strike of creativity against The Nothing. Fantastica itself is the realm of the imagination. When our hero is faced with this world collapsing – along with all the acts of imagination, stories and characters in it – his entire universe is threatened with annihilation.

In this time of young people fiercely standing up to today’s unvanquishable threats, like the existential threat of Climate Change, the idea of a child being chosen to save all that we know, or to re-invent everything that could be, is no longer relegated to the realm of the imagination. I hope with this imagined story that we might inspire some young people in the same way that those real young fighters and heroes are inspiring us.


Gmork, Urgl and Engywook, Ensemble
Sean Arbuckle

Bastian’s Father, A Purple Buffalo, A Traveller, A Refugee, Ensemble
Tim Campbell

Ygramul, Chancellor of the Ivory Tower, A Refugee, Ensemble
Laura Condlln

Maya, Ensemble
Ijeoma Emesowum

Eribo, A Bully, Ensemble
Jordin Hall

Morla, Elder of the Grassy Ocean, Sassafranian Child, Ensemble
Kim Horsman

Andrew Iles

Bookseller, Cairon, Sassafranian Child, Ensemble
Roy Lewis

Hilary McCormack

A Bully, Child of the Grassy Ocean, A Traveller, A Refugee, Ensemble
Katelyn McCulloch

Artax, A Bully, Ensemble
Andrew Robinson

Jennifer Rider-Shaw

Jake Runeckles

Falkor, The Caretaker, Ensemble
Rylan Wilkie

The Childlike Empress, Sassafranian Adult, Ensemble
Mamie Zwettler

The Puppets

Artax The Horse
Andrew Robinson (Head)
Rylan Wilkie (Heart)
Ijeoma Emesowum (Hind)
Jordin Hall & Hilary McCormack (Saddle)

The Purple Buffalo
Sean Arbuckle,
Tim Campbell,
Jordin Hall,
Katelyn McCulloch

Morla The Turtle
Kim Horsman with Tim Campbell
Laura Condlln
Ijeoma Emesowum
Jordin Hall
Roy Lewis
Hilary McCormack
Katelyn McCulloch
Andrew Robinson
Rylan Wilkie
Mamie Zwettler

Ygramul The Spider
Laura Condlln with Tim Campbell
Ijeoma Emesowum
Jordin Hall
Hilary McCormack
Katelyn McCulloch
Andrew Robinson

Falkor The Luck Dragon
Rylan Wilkie (Head)
Mamie Zwettler (Hind)

Urgl and Engywook
Sean Arbuckle with the assistance of Andrew Robinson

The Wind Balloons
Ijeoma Emesowum (Mayestral)
Kim Horsman (Baureo)
Katelyn McCulloch (Lirr)
Mamie Zwettler (Sheerek)

Creative Team

Director: Jillian Keiley

Designer: Bretta Gerecke

Lighting Designer: Leigh Ann Vardy

Composer: Hawksley Workman

Sound Designer: Don Ellis

Movement and Puppetry Director: Brad Cook

Associate Director: Mikaela Davies

Stage Manager: Brian Scott

Assistant Stage Manager: Jacki Brabazon

Assistant Stage Manager: Loreen Gibson


This stage adaptation of The Neverending Story has been authorized by Verlag für Kindertheater Uwe Weitendorf, Hamburg.

The Neverending Story is produced by permission of the Playwright and Marquis Literary (Colin Rivers)

David S. Craig is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

The Neverending Story was first commissioned and produced in 2007–2008 by Imagination Stage (Janet Stanford, Artistic Director) and the Seattle Children’s Theatre (Linda Hartzell, Artistic Director).

This production of The Neverending Story was originally produced by the Stratford Festival in the summer of 2019 in its Avon Theatre. The set, props, costumes and wigs were originally fabricated by the artisans of the Stratford Festival in the Festival’s shops.

The original scenery, props, costumes and wigs for this production were fabricated by the artisans of the Stratford Festival, including:


Head of Properties: Dona Hrabluk

Lead Builder: Heather Ruthig

Assisted by: Eric Ball, Karine Cusson, Ken Dubblestyne, Michelle Jamieson, Kathryn Kerr, Shirley Lee, Jennifer Macdonald, Nina Mueller, Dylan Mundy, Victoria Spain, Lisa Summers, Katelyn Vere

Properties Buyer: Tracy Fulton

Assistant Properties Buyer: Kathleen Orlando


Head Scenic Artist: Duncan Johnstone

Assistant Head Scenic Artist: Daniel McManus

Assisted by: Kira Duff, Kevin Kemp, Michael Wharran, Blair Yeomans


Head Carpenter: Ryan Flanagan

Assistant Head Carpenter: Paul Cooper

Head of Automation: Ian Phillips

Assisted by: Simon Aldridge, David Bedford, Gary Geiger, Paul Hyde, Scott King, Cory Mielke, Stephen Morgan, John Roth, Jody Satchell, Joseph Saunders, Scott Schmidt, Mark Smith,  Cliff Tipping


Head of Wardrobe: Michelle Barnier, Kimberly Catton, Elizabeth Copeman

Cutters: Kim Crossley, Melanie Farrar-Jackson, Luci Pottle, Jennie Wonnacott

First Hands: Wendy Bendle, Monica Berg, Joanne Davies, Gina Schellenberg

Sewers: Susan E. Dick, Allison Erb, Evelyn Gascho, Sharon Gashgarian, June Gunn, Shona Humphrey, Alanna Kitson, Olga M. Kouzmina, Laurie Krempien-Hall, Debbie Kschesinski, Katelyn Low, Mary-Lou Mason, Elisabeth Mastrandrea, Magdalene Raycraft, Cynthia E. Rusak, Joan Scheerer

Bijoux/Decoration: Tami MacDonald

Assisted by: Rebecca Dillow, Liane Guttadauria, Kathi Posliff

Boots and Shoes: Sarah Cook

Assisted by: Karen Beames, Chantelle Laliberte, Connie Puetz

Dyeing: Linda Pinhay

Assisted by: Sylvia Minarcin

Costume Painting: Lisa Hughes

Millinery: Monica Viani

Assisted by: Thea C. Crawford, Kaz Maxine

Apprentice Milliner: Chantal Laurendeau

Wardrobe Buyers: Penelope Schledewitz, Erin Michelle Steele

Wardrobe Apprentice: Erin Lounsbury

Warehouse Supervisor: William Schmuck

Warehouse Assistant: Michael Piscitelli


Head of Wigs and Makeup: Gerald Altenburg

Construction Crew: Teddi Barrett, Erica Croft, Jessica Elsbrie, Lena Festoso, Tracy Frayne, Dave Kerr, Angela Moncur, Barbara Newbery, Mallory Reeves, Alana Scheel, Julie Scott, Stanley Wickens

Stratford Festival scenic carpenters and wigs and make-up attendants are members of Local 357 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), and scenic artists are members of IATSE Local 828. Stratford Festival Wardrobe Show Heads and Attendants are members of IATSE TWU Local 924.


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