Artistic experiences are essential to lifelong learning, enabling us to reflect upon ourselves and our world with new eyes. Live theatre encourages students of all ages to develop critical thinking, expand points of view, understand different perspectives, and foster a sense of identity, opinion and artistic appreciation. At NAC English Theatre we want every child, student, adult and elder to feel welcome and comfortable in the theatrical experience. Our goal is to foster dialogue, empathy and inspiration, and create a space where artistry, education and passion collectively take centre stage.
NAC English Theatre takes pride in bringing the best of Canadian theatre to our national stage. All our student matinees feature artist Talkbacks – a chance to meet, explore and share with the people behind the plays. Most productions have companion study guides including curriculum connections, classroom activities and discussion questions, giving educators tools to engage their students in meaningful conversations.
We're pleased to present the 2018/19 Season English Theatre Student Matinees.
We hope you will join us for some or all of these diverse, unique, Canadian stories.
Grade 8 – College/University | Curriculum connections in History, Science, Drama, Social Studies, Disability Studies
Mabel Hubbard Bell was a strong, self-assured woman – bright, passionate, and a complete original. Despite a near-fatal case of childhood scarlet fever that cost her the ability to hear, she learned to talk and lip-read in multiple languages. At 19, she married a young inventor named Alexander Graham Bell and became the most significant influence in his life.
Silence is Mabel’s story, offering the unique perspective of a woman whose remarkable life was overshadowed by her famous husband. Deftly directed by former NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton, Silence recounts how Mabel communicated with the man who invented the most powerful communication tool ever conceived.
Grade 6 – College/University | Curriculum connections in Canadian History, Drama, Social Studies, Cultural Studies
Nova Scotia’s Sam Langford is considered by many boxing historians to be the greatest fighter who ever lived. So why have so few people heard of him? Chasing Champions is the moving story of Langford’s battles against a hostile culture and the machinations of a sport that repeatedly denied him a shot at the world championship. A man of grace and fortitude, the 5’7” Langford fought from lightweight to heavyweight, beating legendary fighters in each class. He died blind and penniless in Harlem in 1956. Chasing Champions examines the life of this unsung hero – perhaps the greatest athlete never known.
Grade 2 and up | Curriculum connections in Literature, Canadian History, Drama, Physical Education, Music
Book and Lyrics
Music and Lyrics
It’s 1940s Quebec – Habs country – and young Roch proudly wears his #9 hockey sweater day and night, until it is too small and worn to last another season. But a new sweater, sent by Mr. Eaton himself, inadvertently puts young Roch in enemy colours, fighting on and off the ice to maintain his sense of belonging. Roch Carrier’s timeless tale has charmed generations of children and adults with its themes of loyalty, acceptance and hockey glory. Standing on the shoulders of that most Canadian of stories, The Hockey Sweater: A Musical is a magical and energetic addition to the growing canon of Canadian musical theatre.
Grade 10 – College/University | Curriculum connections in Literature, Cultural Studies, Disability Studies, Drama
Adapted from William Shakespeare and Directed by
Set and Costume Designer
When he learns his father’s death was no accident, Prince Hamlet sets out to find the truth for himself. Staring down his own mortality, Hamlet uses theatrical trickery to gain a confession from his uncle, and ultimately becomes a killer himself. Visionary director Ravi Jain brings forward a Hamlet for our rapidly changing times: a daring, stylish and inclusive take on the world’s most famous play. The national tour of this highly-acclaimed retelling of this play is not to be missed.
Grade 9 – College/University | Curriculum connections in Canadian History, Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, Drama
On a warm spring day in 1734, “troublesome slave” Marie-Joseph Angélique set fire to the city of Montreal. Or so the story goes. With dreams of escaping the false safety of domestic servitude in New France for freedom in New England, Angélique was instead condemned for the crime. But was she truly guilty? From playwright Lorena Gale, Angélique weaves seamlessly between historical and contemporary times, speaking to us through the flames with an urgent message from the past to our own time.
Grade 8 – College/University | Curriculum connections in Drama, Social Sciences, Psychology, Canadian Studies
Rebecca Auerbach, Jason Chesworth, Gil Garratt, George Meanwell, J.D. Nicholsen, Gemma James Smith, Birgitte Solem and Severn Thompson
In one of the wildest frauds in Canadian history, Arlan Galbraith built a bird-breeding empire called Pigeon King International, using investments from hundreds of his neighbours and fellow farmers. For seven years, he offered a lifeline of financial hope to people whose luck had nearly run out. But was he really a scheming con man? Or a hapless victim of his own preposterous dream? The Pigeon King tells Galbraith’s incredible story, and reminds us that even well-meaning lies eventually come home to roost.
Grade 8 – College/University | Curriculum connections in Music, Drama, Canadian Studies, Science, Social Studies
Music Composed and Arranged By
In the final moments of his extraordinary life, east coast whale researcher Jon Lien tried desperately to tell his wife something, which she struggled to understand. Between Breaths floats through the inspiring career of the man who freed more than 500 whales from fishing nets. From his unexpected first encounter with a whale, Lien worked to earn the trust of the injured giants, as well as the fishermen whose nets accidentally entrapped them. With an evocative, live score by The Once, this moving work by renowned playwright Robert Chafe (The Colony of Unrequited Dreams) examines what it means to find your passion and how to let it go.