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News from NLT

March 27, 2020

What we have in
this newsletter:

  1. Happy World Theatre Day!
  2. This Past Season at NLT
  3. Interview with CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER Playwright Merri Biechler
  4. NLT’s ONLINE SILENT March 23rd – April 13th 6pm
  5. Early Bird Subscriptions 2020-2021 Onsale Through to April 15. Don’t Miss Out!


Northern Light Theatre is celebrating World Theatre Day along with many other arts company’s from around the world and right here in Edmonton. Tonight would have been our opening for CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER by Merri Biechler, the closing show of our 2019-2020 Confessions & Obsessions season.

To celebrate – we thought we would share some photos from this past year.  We look forward to the time where we can engage with our audiences again.


Baroness Biankas Bloodsongs

– photo Ian Jackson Epic Photography

Playwright: Joanna Weinberg
Staring: Kristin Johnston as Baroness Bianka
Director Set & Costumes: Trevor Schmidt
Music Direction and Sound Design: Darrin Hagen
Lighting Design: Elise Jason
Stage Manager: Elizabeth Allison-Jorde
Production Manager: Chris dela Cruz

BARONESS BIANKA’S BLOODSONGS tackled the issue of addiction head-on through the confession of a quirky Bulgarian Baroness who has unquenchable, unspeakable yearnings. A black comedy with a blood-red heart, the show explores life with an unusual addiction and the battle to overcome it. A wicked one-woman cabaret about a spooky character with a fetish for blood.


Everybody Loves Robbie

– photo Ian Jackson Epic Photography

Playwright:  Ellen Chorley
Staring Jayce Mackenzie as Chloe & Richard Hsi Lee as Robbie
Director Set & Costume Design: Trevor Schmidt
Lighting Design: Beth Dart
Sound Design: Lana Hughes
Stage Manager:  Elizabeth Allison Jorde
Production Manager:  Chris Hicks

Chloe loves Robbie. Everybody does. But Robbie loves Chloe back. They are the star triple-threat couple of their high school drama club and have dreams of their future success together in Musical Theatre (or straight plays, if Musical Theatre doesn’t work out). But- speaking of straight- suddenly Robbie wonders if he’s gay. And Chloe begins to wonder, too. And what does that mean for their future together?


Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver

– photo Ian Jackson Epic Photography

Playwright: Merri Biechler
Staring: Cheryl Jameson as Mae & Brian Dooley as Al and & as cast & Davina Stewart as Peggy & as cast
Director Set & Costume Design: Trevor Schmidt
Lighting Design: Dave Clarke
Stage Manager: Nyssa Beairsto
Production Manager: Chris Hicks

Six years after her mother’s death, Mae moves home to care for her terminally ill father.  She imagines moments of reconciliation and grace, but unlike Peggy – her kind, peacemaking mother, Al does not handle his decline with grace. Mae struggles in her role as caregiver, summoning memories of her mother for guidance.  With humor and compassion, Mae strives to reach her final give her father a good death.


A few weeks ago as we were preparing for our production Artistic Director Trevor Schmidt sent some questions to Playwright Merri Beicher to delve a little more into the inspiration and story behind CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER.

Merri Biechler

TS: I know you likely get asked this a lot- as most playwrights do - What was your inspiration for the play? Knowing this play was based on personal experience - how did you decide how slavishly faithful you would be to the truth- in terms of timelines, personalities, etc. - and when you could take artistic license with such details?

MB: Many of the facts about my parents are accurate in the play: my mother was a counsellor; my father was a chemist who became obsessed with the TV show “Stargate SG-1” the sicker he got. The timeline is the same as my life experience because I realized once I took it out of the timeframe of 1995-2002, TV shows and pharmaceuticals changed! The biggest license I took with the play is that I have two incredible brothers, Mark and David, who were invaluable through the journey of our parents’ deaths. The experience brought us even closer as siblings and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. I decided to make the daughter Mae an only child in the play in order to give her more to do and more to lose. I get the comment a lot, oh, this is based on your life, so you just had to write the truth! But I will say that the truth is very different for each character in this play, and for each member of my family. I tried to write the truth of my family’s experience.

TS:  The play is now used as a teaching tool for new doctors. Can you explain how this came about- and the reaction it elicits in that particular audience?

MB:  I came to Ohio University in 2004 to get my MFA in Playwriting. I knew that I wanted to write a play about my experience with my parents, I just wasn’t sure what form it would take. I had a graduate assistance position at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine proctoring exams for first and second-year medical students. I was amazed at how young they were! I realized that many of them would be giving terminal diagnoses to patients before they’d lost a parent or grandparent. I was introduced to Dr. Tracy Shaub, whose focus is palliative care and end-of-life care and she was interested in finding ways to teach this very difficult subject matter to her students. We began talking and realized that the issues my family had with end-of-life issues were often the topics she found difficult to teach. So, with every draft of my play, I’d ask her for feedback to see if I was addressing her concerns as well as telling my story. It was, and continues to be, a great partnership!

The students’ reactions are varied, as you might imagine. Some focus on the tangibles, like what’s the correct dose of morphine to give a patient in hospice. But the vast majority of students are very receptive to watching a play reading and thank us for dramatizing such a personal story. It rings true for students who have lost family members and they find places in Mae’s journey that echo their own. I think it also gives them a common language moving forward as they become clinicians.

TS: The play has been made into a movie! How did that happen- and how does the movie differ from the stage version?

MB:  I have a good relationship with OU’s School of Media Arts and Studies, and when a faculty member asked if his seniors could produce a film of the script, I said, sure! The film was a class project and isn’t available for the public, but it was a lot of fun to work on.

MARCH 23 – APRIL 13 at 6PM

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

Don’t miss out on the great selection of items and gift certificates donated by the very best of Edmonton’s local business community - all in the spirit of raising funds for NLT’s artistic programming.

Approximately 100 items valuing over $11,000.00.

How to Place a Bid
1.) Click on the prize icons on the auction page find out more about each silent auction item. When you are ready to bid… 

2.) Click on the “Place A Bid Now” button at the bottom of each auction page

3.) Enter your information: your name, contact phone number, and email 

4.) Type in your bid amount

5.) WATCH YOUR INBOX!  You will receive an email with a link that you will need to click to CONFIRM your bid.  NLT will also send you an automatic update if you are ever out-bid- so you do not have to keep checking in on the website to see how your bid is doing, but you can if you want to.  (If you do not receive a confirmation email, please check yourspam or junk folders!)


We hope that as you are looking through the site you will take time to go down the rabbit hole and find out more about each of our amazing donors.  Just click on the business logos on each page to be taken directly to each company’s website.  And if you ever are in one of our sponsoring stores or restaurants, be sure to let them know that you saw them here.  

NLT is deeply grateful to the over 90 businesses and business owners who have made such generous donations to our fundraising event:

Here is a sneak peek at some of the items and donating businesses that have supported this year’s auction:

Alhambra Books

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

-photo Ian Jackson Epic Photography

Prize Package: Old Strathcona Edmonton's Southside Roots by Tom Monto, with Metis Strathcona by Randy Lawrence, Crang Publishing, 2011

Value:  $40.00

Old Strathcona: Edmonton's Southside Roots by Tom Monto is an extensively researched chronological history of Old Strathcona from its start as a scattering of Metis/Indian pioneer cabins in the 1870’s, to a bustling commercial, industrial, and residential district within the City of Edmonton prior to the economic downturn of the 1930’s.

Bound together with "Metis Strathcona" by Randy Lawrence - a ground-breaking essay on the roots of Strathcona delineating the Metis identity of many of its earliest pioneers and their connection with the area's Papaschase Indian band, which was subsequently thoroughly dispossessed.

Book Details: New, Soft Cover Oblong 8 1/2 X11", 491 pp. Detailed table of contents, index, bibliographical footnotes, map and numerous archival photographs, portraits and tables.

About Alhambra Books:
With over 60,000 + books specializing in Canadiana, history, religious studies, philosophy, political science, and classical literature, Alhambra Books offers a complete treasure trove of out of print books and vintage volumes.   Come in for a quiet browse in this “brick and mortar” store, located on the small-town styled street one block south of Whyte Avenue. Or shop on-line through abebooks.

Arturo Denim Co.

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

Prize package: Gift Certificate for a Custom Pair of Jeans

Value:  $158.00

The Gamer's Lodge

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

Prize Package:  Night Out Pass and Games Fees for Four

Value:  $80.00

About The Gamer’s Lodge
Justin and Carissa are cousins and avid gamers, and together they created The Gamer’s Lodge, a go-to community for local game lovers.  The Gamer’s Lodge on 124th Street has the welcoming, cozy – retro feel of an 80’s wood panel basement, offering a fantastic selection of games to play and buy.

It is only $7.00 per person for access to their library of over 700 games, and kids 12 and under are free.  You can stay as long as you like, and play as many games as you want!  Justin routinely travels within and outside Canada to scout out game conventions, so there is always new games to explore on the shelves.  You can also see what is knew by checking out the Board Game Geeks page on the Gamer’s Lodge website.

And the Gamer’s Lodge has a fully licensed menu to keep your gaming strength up.

Geri Phillips

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

-photo Ian Jackson Epic Photography

Prize Package: Painting "Home By The Fraser" by Shuswap/Chilcotin Indigenous Artist Geri Phillips

Value:  $150.00

Artist Bio
As a Canadian artist Geri Phillips used her spare time to doodle out her masterpieces on paper, each one turning out unique and inspired. Then one day her co-worker encouraged her to put it on canvas, because she knew Geri would create something amazing. As an artist, Geri has been doodling out her art since she was a teenager and painting on canvas since 2010.

She gets her inspiration from her friends, family and her culture. She grew up on a Secwepemc reserve with a mixed cultural background of Carrier, Tsilhqot’in, Secwepemc, English and French. Living only 20 minutes north of Williams Lake, BC growing up, most of her pieces incorporate the area she lived in. Now, living in the city of Edmonton, Geri thinks of her home often and finds that creating her art pieces helps her clear her mind and is part of her self care. Each piece she creates has a story and identifies with her emotionally, culturally, and spiritually.

Metro Cinema

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

Prize Package:  2 – Six Pack Passes to Metro Cinema

Value:  $120.00

The six-pack is the ultimate in flexibility – get six tickets, to use whenever you want, in whatever combination you choose.  Admissions can be shared and used for more than one ticket per screening. Bring a friend!

Metro Cinema is a community-based non-profit society devoted to the exhibition and promotion of Canadian, international and independent film and video in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Operating out of the Historic Garneau Theatre on 109th Street, Metro Cinema exhibits an eclectic blend of film, video and media arts that are not screened anywhere else in the city. We are focused on presenting a broad selection of educational, cultural and innovative works, as well as offering complimentary events such as our Guest Presenter Series.  The Society operates with the ongoing assistance of a large volunteer base.

Check out Metro’s new monthly podcast, which takes a closer look at the Metro Cinema’s upcoming calendar of events, interviews with guest currators, as well as featuring a cast of staff, volunteers, and board members.

Shop Chop

NLT's 10th Annual Online Auction

Prize Package:  Hand picked items from Danica Studio including pencil case, notebooks, mugs from their “Beasties” collection, and a set of Smartie Pants pencils

Value:  $100.00

About Shop Chop
Shop Chop started as an Edmonton based salon, serving the downtown area for the past 13 years. In 2016 co-owners and best friends Robert Eccles and Prudie Anderson decided to turn the front two levels of their store into a gift shop, offering local and Canadian hand made goods, home decor, gifts, cards, skincare, hair care, pins, patches and more!  There is always lots to browse through to find that perfect, singular gift.

The Salon is still in the back, featuring a soundproof design that allows the shop to remain separate and provide salon clients with a sense of privacy.



45th Anniversary Season

To subscribe to our 2020-2021 season, simply give us a call at the office at (780) 471-1586, visit us online or


We look forward to sharing the celebration with you!

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