Atlantic Theatre Festival

Atlantic Theatre Festival

The Atlantic Theatre Festival (ATF) is a professional theatre company located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Theatre Festival presents a "broad range of critically acclaimed theatre classics" during the summer in Wolfville's Festival Theatre, the former town hockey rink, which was converted into a 504 seat, thrust stage theatre and professional production facility by the Atlantic Theatre Festival Society (a non-profit charity).


Over two million dollars was contributed by the local, Nova Scotian, and Canadian government to create the Festival Theatre. Stratford Festival veteran Michael Langham would be amongst the directors who would bring national acclaim to the festival during the Founder's Season of 1995. The reputation of the festival’s caliber would continue to grow over the following seasons as it attracted the likes of Megan Follows, Christopher Plummer, and area native Peter Donat to join its company. In later years, despite originally being conceived as a classical repertory, the festival maintained its critical success as it began to include works by Canadian playwrights as well as family-friendly musicals.

Despite a strong critical reputation, mounting debts over the first five years forced the Atlantic Theatre Festival to reduce cast sizes, lay-off crew, and cancel productions. The construction of the Festival Theatre initially came as a result of a twenty-year (dollar-a-year) lease from Acadia University. In 2002, this agreement was terminated and a new lease was offered that reduced the professional theatre company to a seasonal tenant. This arrangement threatened the Atlantic Theatre Festival's existence, causing the cancellation of the 2004 season. The festival theatre stage would remain dark in 2005. 2006 marked a successful, if modest, renewal for the Atlantic Theatre Festival. With one main stage production and comedic readings to form the "Summer of Laughter" season both audiences and tourists alike returned to the festival theatre. The financial success did not, however, continue the following season as the festival returned to a multi-play format. In August 2007, artistic director Nigel Bennett was forced to resign mid-seaon after the board of directors informed him that sufficient funds were not available to continue. One production was able to complete its run while two others, one on stage and the other in rehearsel, were cancelled. A lack of funding at both provincial and federal levels was named as the main cause of the closure.

Currently, the Festival Theatre is used for the Acadia University Performing Arts Series, which are held through-out the University school year, and for conferences.

Artistic Directors

*Nigel Bennett (2006-2007)
*Jerry Etienne (1999-2004)
*Michael Bawtree (1995-1998)

Production History


* "Shirley Valentine" by Willy Russell
* "The Drawer Boy" by Michael Healey
* "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare (Unstaged; season cancelled during rehearsal process)

* "Noises Off" by Michael Frayn

* "Into the Woods" by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
* "Blithe Spirit" by Noel Coward
* "Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov2002
* "Charley's Aunt" by Brandon Thomas
* "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare
* "The Miracle Worker" by William Gibson2001
* "The Hobbit" adapted by Kim Selody
* "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams
* "Billy Bishop Goes to War" by John Gray and Eric Peterson2000
* "Amadeus" by Peter Shaffer
* "" by Jerry Etienne
* "Private Lives" by Noel Coward
* "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare
* "Billy Bishop Goes to War" by John Gray and Eric Peterson1999
* "Hedda Gabler" by Henrik Ibsen
* "The Constant Wife" by W. Somerset Maugham
* "The Boar Hog" and "The Pregnant Pause by Georges Feydeau1998
* "Othello" by William Shakespeare
* "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw
* "The Matchmaker" by Thornton Wilder
* "Sam Slick Goes Ahead" by Andrew Gillis

* "Tartuffe" by Molière
* "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde
* "Uncle Vanya" by Anton Chekhov

* "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare
* "She Stoops to Conquer" by Oliver Goldsmith
* "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen

* "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare
* "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov
* "A Flea in Her Ear" by Georges Feydeau


"Atlantic Theatre Festival" 14 December 2006. 5 March 2007.

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