In the fall of 2017, the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts in Montreal premiered The Hockey Sweater, a musical based on the iconic story by Roch Carrier. Featuring a cast of 17, the show was a hit with audiences and critics. But the creators believed it could be even better. “If the show was going to go on to play bigger stages, we knew it needed to be at another level,” said Lisa Rubin, Artistic and Executive Director of the Segal Centre.
“There are three new songs, an improved script, new video content, better design – and that’s all because of the National Creation Fund.”
The production received $200,000 from the National Creation Fund. The Fund invests in ambitious new work by Canadian artists and arts organizations, and in promising productions – such as The Hockey Sweater – that need additional development after their first runs to produce stronger, more polished work that can be remounted and toured.
The investment enabled the Segal Centre to bring in a musical theatre dramaturg to help refine the script and score; to add additional rehearsal and development time with the creative team to incorporate changes to the original production; and to adjust the set to facilitate future touring.
Dramaturg Adam Mathias joined director and choreographer Donna Feore, Jonathan Monro (music and lyrics) and Emil Sher (book and lyrics) as they examined their notes from the original production, Rubin said. “It allowed the team to ask questions like ‘Is this the right sentence? Is this the right thing for this character to say at this moment in the show?’ And ‘How can we make this design work for a bigger stage?’”
The results come to fruition at the NAC in December. “There are three new songs, an improved script, new video content, better design – and that’s all because of the National Creation Fund. And whether this show is remounted, or if another theatre decides to produce its own production, it means the show will live on. That’s all we could ever have hoped for.”
In 2018–2019, NAC audiences can see three other works that benefited from the National Creation Fund – Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma by Christian Lapointe, which premiered at Montreal’s Espace Go in September (November 14–17), Revisor by Kidd Pivot (February 28–March 2), and who we are in the dark by Peggy Baker Dance Projects (April 12–13).