ANTIGONISH, N.S. —
One of Nova Scotia’s longest-running summer theatre companies will return in 2021 with a unique outdoor production of one of the world’s best-known adventure tales.
After canceling live theatre productions in 2020 due to COVID-19, Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre presents Robin Hood: The Great Escape in partnership with Keppoch Mountain for a two-week run in August.
“This summer, I want to make sure that we have the greatest chance possible of bringing live theatre back to our community,” said artistic director Andrea Boyd in announcing the show, “and that means leaving the safety of our precious stage, and venturing out into the great outdoors.”
Written by Boyd and Laura Teasdale, Robin Hood: The Great Escape will use the wide, wheelchair-accessible trails of Keppoch Mountain — an outdoor recreation facility located a 15-minute drive southwest of Antigonish — to provide the scenic Sherwood Forest setting for this immersive open-air family theatre experience.
Medieval characters will guide audience members from one scene to the next, as they watch Robin Hood, Marian and their Merry Men and Women outwit the plans of the Sheriff of Nottingham and his minions to rid the shire of the noble bandits once and for all. After an initial opening scene, the audience will be split up into groups of 20 to ensure physical distancing requirements can be maintained, for the safety of both the artists and attendees.
As in past seasons, the Festival Antigonish presentation will feature the province’s finest actors, designers and creative theatre professionals. Because of the scale of the production, the festival will partner with community theatre organization Theatre Antigonish to expand the cast with volunteer actors portraying bandits, guards, spies and medieval ushers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the performing arts industry in Nova Scotia and nationwide, and organizers of the 34-year-old festival say it has pushed companies to meet its challenges in creative and sometimes unorthodox ways to remain active and engaged with their audiences.
“Keppoch Mountain is a rare treasure in our community and we are so happy that they have joined us for this adventure and made it possible for us to create theatre in a whole new way,” says the festival’s managing director Reema Fuller.
“We are excited about the possibilities, and cannot wait for audiences — new and returning — to embark on this journey with us. Collaboration and community partnerships have always been vital to our success and right now, in the midst of a pandemic, the need to work together and do things differently is more important than ever before.”
Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre is planing for a two-week run of Robin Hood: The Great Escape in August, with some extra room for rain dates. Tickets and show dates will be announced in the weeks to come at www.festivalantigonish.com.