Rachel Hastings and Ira Henderson in The Duchess of Malfi
Emily Jewer of MJ Photographics took some wonderful production photos of our recent show, The Duchess of Malfi.
To check them out, click here!
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Margaret Legere as the Duchess and Daniel Gervais as Ferdinand.
Photo by Carey Bray
“The show is dead, long live the show!”
The Villain’s Theatre will be announcing our next season at our spring gala event in a few months, but we’re busy working behind the scenes on our next projects. Thank you everyone for your support of The Duchess of Malfi, and to our amazing team – we are a very lucky company to work with such great people in such a lovely community.
The Chronicle Herald had some wonderful things to say about our show. Click here to read the full review!
Get your tickets to The Duchess of Malfi!
Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $15 for students/seniors/artists/underwaged. Seating is limited, and advance booking is recommended. If you are not able to purchase online, or if you are interested in inquiring about a group booking, you can reserve tickets at email@example.com
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Five years ago, Vile Passéist Theatre was created out of a love for the heightened-language texts of the Renaissance, a passion for overlooked and neglected works, and the excitement of collaborating with talented ensemble casts. Our focused mandate of staging early-modern, non-Shakespearean plays has provided us with a launchpad to begin our journey as a company, inspiring us through a dozen productions.
This winter, we are evolving. In 2009, we began VPT with the Renaissance’s most haunting tragedy: The Duchess of Malfi. Now, we return to Webster’s dark and illuminating script as we are reborn into the next stage of our development: The Villain’s Theatre.
We have always been driven by a fascination with the vile, the passéist, the marginalized and forgotten. The Villain’s Theatre will take what VPT has built over the past five years and expand upon it, drawing inspiration from the early-modern plays that we love while looking to see how they can inspire new works, continually exploring our past to discover our future.
This is the beginning of an exciting new era for the company, and The Duchess of Malfi is the perfect show to launch the new and heightened vision. Come visit us at The Bus Stop Theatre, February 25 – March 1, and discover The Villain’s Theatre.
Why are you changing things?
After five years as a company, VPT realized that our vision was evolving. We still have many plays from the early modern period that we would like to explore, but we had already started branching out. We have developed our Sixth Act Series, which includes new works like In the Telling (our adaptation of Peele’s The Old Wives’ Tale, which toured to the maritime fringe festivals this summer). We’ve also got some other projects coming down the line which will be similarly explorative.
Our (very specific) mandate is dear to us, but we felt like it was time to broaden our scope so that we could do these strange and wonderful plays while also drawing inspiration from them for new works. We have many dreams for the future, and this expanded vision gives us a lot to play with.
Why The Villain’s Theatre?
We are very excited to pair our expanded focus with a new moniker. The word ‘Villain’ originally meant a serf or common worker. Today it more commonly refers to a scoundrel or criminal. We have always been interested in the term, and since 2009, we’ve referred to our company members as “Villains.”
What is a villain? Villains are others, someone who is seen as evil or lesser. Victors write history and determine what is judged as evil or good, who is villainous and who is heroic. We are fascinated by what is left behind, who is left out. If Shakespeare emerged victorious as the best playwright of his age, what about all of the others in his community, those who were written out of the larger cultural narrative and confined to academia? As we continue to grow and evolve, we are interested in exploring more playwrights from other cultures and periods who have been neglected even more so than those such as Lyly, Rowley, Ford and their ilk.
We also look at the concept of the villain as the shadow side, as that which is dark in ourselves. Many of the plays we have explored, be they tragedy or comedy, derive their dramatic conflict from that shadow side of the human experience. We have only begun our multi-faceted journey into the nature of villainy, and we look forward to continuing to explore it in the years to come.
The Villain’s Theatre is Marlowe’s theatre. It is Cary’s theatre. It is our theatre.
Did the company switch leadership?
Nope! The Villain’s Theatre is run by Artistic Director Dan Bray, and Artistic Producer Colleen MacIsaac (formerly Executive Director of VPT), supported by our board of directors and recurring artistic collaborators.
Are you still going to do early-modern plays?
Absolutely! This evolution isn’t about turning away from the work that we have done, it is about expanding and building upon it. As we continue to transition you can look for some exciting takes on early-modern plays as well as new works inspired by such texts. We will also still be running our Upstart Crow reading series this summer, where we will look at a variety of plays from the early-modern period and beyond!
We feel that the timing couldn’t be more perfect. We are celebrating our fifth anniversary season with The Duchess of Malfi, the same play that we began the company with in 2009 when Artistic Director Dan Bray was finishing his Masters at the University of Toronto. By staging the play anew, we are able to kick off the company’s new vision with a nod to the production that started it all. As we enter the next stage of our growth, we can reflect on what we have learned over the past five years, as well as look forward to the years to come.
Questions? Comments? Drop us a line! firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a very busy year for VPT! We toured a fringe show around the maritimes, mounted two full-length productions (Doctor Faustus and Gallathea), returned to the Craig Gallery for our Upstart Crow Reading Series, and cast our upcoming show: The Duchess of Malfi. But at long last, we’re very pleased to present our new and improved website! Take a look around to find out more about our current season, as well as seasons past, and soon — plans for next year! Thanks for supporting VPT.
And — the cast is set! Head on over to The Duchess of Malfi page to see the stellar team we’ve assembled to embody Webster’s haunting tragedy, playing at the Bus Stop Theatre Feb 25-Mar 1.
Vile Passéist Theatre presents our first fringe show! In the Telling will also be the first show ever to tour to all three Maritime Fringe Festivals! We perform in Charlottetown’s Island Fringe, St. John’s Fundy Fringe, and Halifax’s Atlantic Fringe this summer.
Sorcerery, spirits, and song collide in this fantastic tangle of a tale. When three young adventurers lose their way in the forest, they become part of a much larger story that may finally lead them to their quarry: the White Bear of the Woods. This is VPT’s first full adaptation of a comedy over 400 years old. A story about family, magic, fools, and loyalty, we hope you’ll catch us in our first ever tour! Directed by Dorian Lang with original music by Jenny Trites.
Monsters. Lovers. Crossdressing. Need we say more?
Inspiring later plays by Shakespeare such as Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lyly treads where the Bard never dared in this surprisingly modern and daring play from 1588. Love comes in many forms, and this joyous celebration of love will be lighting up the Bus Stop Theatre stage this November, as the first VPT show helmed by our executive director, Colleen MacIsaac, with design by the critically-lauded, award-winning lighting and set designer, Matthew Downey.
The winter of 2015 will see a return to a familiar play. Due to popular demand, VPT is remounting the harrowing tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi, for the Halifax stage as part of our 5th year anniversary season.
Equal parts romance, political drama, and bloodbath, Webster’s drama tells the story of a headstrong duchess who secretly marries her steward, despite her brothers’ warnings. This simple act inadvertently engenders a series of horrifying revenges, each more terrible than the last. Spies and murderers. Ghosts and madmen. Orphans and widows. Few will escape from Malfi.