Mermaid Legs by Beth Graham
SkirtsAfire Festival MainStage Production
A Surreal Theatre Dance Fantasia
February 29 – March 10, 2024
Thursday, February 29 @ 7:30pm (Preview)
Friday, March 1 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, March 2 @ 7:30pm (CART Captioning)
Sunday, March 3 @ 1:30pm (ASL Interpreted & Post Show Panel Discussion)
Tuesday, March 5 @ 7:30pm (Pay-What-You-Will)
Wednesday, March 6 @ 7:30pm (Adapted Relaxed Performance)
Thursday, March 7 @ 7:30pm
Friday, March 8 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, March 9 @ 7:30pm (CART Captioning)
Sunday, March 10 @ 1:30pm
The show runs 80 minutes with no intermission.
8529 Gateway Blvd NW
Tickets on sale here!
You can also purchase in person at the Fringe Theatre Adventures’ Box Office, online or by calling 780 409 1910. Adults $27, Students/Seniors $21 (plus applicable fees). 10 Pay-What-You-Can tickets are available per performance. Or check out our Festival Passes!
- Festival Passes available now
- Preview on Thursday, February 29 (Adults $20, Students/Seniors $15 (plus applicable fees)) This performance will be recorded.
- ASL Interpreted Performance on March 3 at 1:30pm, followed by an Interpreted Panel Discussion from 3 – 4pm included with ticket price. Click here for more info.
- Pay-What-You-Will performance on Tuesday, March 5
- Book your group of 6 or more for only $18/ticket or your group of 10 or more for just $15/ticket!
- If you require an attendant, aide, or companion, they are still required to have a ticket. Please contact email@example.com or call 780-409-1910 and we’ll book a ticket for the accompanying person at no extra cost.
About the Play
Sisters, Billie, Ava, and Scarlet are struggling. When Billie takes off unexpectedly, leaving behind a disastrous apartment and a mysterious note, Ava and Scarlet are at a loss. There is a history. Mermaid Legs is a surreal theatre dance fantasia about the bonds of sisterhood and the stigma of mental illness.
It is intended for ages 13+.
Accessibility Measures for Mermaid Legs
All performances will have stair lighting and the ability to leave and return.
Patrons can exit and reenter the theatre for any reason. The show deals with mental health and the content may be triggering for some audience members. A volunteer counsellor from Momentum Counselling will be in attendance at every show and available to hold space with and/or speak to in the lobby at any time during or shortly after the performance.
ASL Interpreted Performance
Sunday, March 3 @ 1:30pm, followed by an interpreted Panel Discussion
*CART captioning will be available for Saturday performances
Saturday, March 2 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, March 9 @ 7:30pm
*CART captioning is closed captioning available on your own phone or device through a link and code provided in advance or at the theatre. The link will be sent with your ticket reminder email and on signage in the lobby. Box office staff will be happy to help connect you if you need assistance. CART captioning is done by Shannon Wiebe, a veteran certified CART captioner.
Adapted Relaxed Performance
Mermaid Legs is providing an adapted relaxed performance:
Wednesday, March 6 @ 7:30 pm
Adapted relaxed performances mean the lighting, projections, and sound have been altered to be less jarring, loud, or glitchy. The relaxed protocol will be in place meaning patrons can come and go from the theatre space and move their bodies (stim or stretch).
Adapted relaxed performance protocol was to originally center the neurodivergent community; however, relaxed performance allows universal access. For example, parents with young children, people with dementia, sensory delay or sensitivities, or people who just want to stretch and use the bathroom.
Sensory Kits will be available to borrow for free at all shows including sunglasses, ear muffs and fidget spinners.
If you require an attendant, aide, or companion, they are still required to have a ticket. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-409-1910 and we’ll book a ticket for the accompanying person at no extra cost.
Full Venue Accessibility
Please click here to read more about Gateway Theatre’s accessibility including seating, parking, public transit, and washrooms.
Content warning for Mermaid Legs:
This play contains subject matter that might be difficult for some audience members. It touches on topics of Bipolar Disorder, depression, mania and suicide.
All performances will have stair lighting and the ability to leave and return.
Patrons can exit and reenter the theatre for any reason. A volunteer counsellor from Momentum Counselling will be in attendance at every show and available to hold space with and/or speak to in the lobby at any time during or shortly after the performance.
Written by Beth Graham
Annette Loiselle, Director & Dramaturg*
Ainsley Hillyard, Movement Dramaturg & Choreographer
Narda McCarroll, Set Design
Rebecca Cypher, Costume Design and Assistant Set Design
Binaifer Kapadia, Music Composition
Aaron Macri, Sound Design
Whittyn Jason, Lighting Design
Nancy Yuen, Stage Manager*
Nyssa Beairsto, Assistant Stage Manager*
Rae McCallum, Production Manager
Breanna Cazon-Wilkes, Technical Director
Noori Gill, Scarlet
Mel Bahniuk, Ava
Dayna Lea Hoffmann, Billie
Mpoe Mogale, Dancer
Alida Kendell, Dancer and Dance Captain
Max Hanic, Dancer
Tia Ashley Kushniruk, Dancer
Brittany Black, Tap Instructor
Binaifer Kapadia, Piano/Keyboards
Andreas Wegner, Bass
Logan Kapadia-Pfob, Percussion
Lacey Hews — Box Office Interpreter
Mermaid Legs is choreographed by Ainsley Hillyard in collaboration with and contributions from the performers.
*SkirtsAfire engages under the terms of the Independent Theatre Agreement, professional artists who are members of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
Beth Graham is a playwright, dramaturg, and actor. Her plays and collaborations have been produced across the country and internationally. She has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award as well as the Carol Bolt Award. She has received the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Alberta Literary Award and the Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award. Her plays and co-creations include: The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, Pretty Goblins, Weasel, The Drowning Girls (co-creator), Mules (co-creator) and Dora Maar: the wicked one (co-creator). Recently, Beth was the University of Alberta’s Lee Playwright in Residence as well as the dramaturg in residence with Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre.
Annette is an actor, director, teacher, producer and writer who has made Edmonton her home base for over 30 years working in theatre. She is the Artistic Director and 2012 co-founder of SkirtsAfire and co-founder and 25-year Artistic Associate of Edmonton’s Freewill Shakespeare Festival. She last directed with SkirtsAfire with The Blue Hour by Michelle Vance Hehir which was recognized with a Sterling Award for Outstanding Independent Production. She recently participated in a Frantic Assembly Workshop in Long Beach, CA to prepare for this production of Mermaid Legs, her final project as Artistic Director of SkirtsAfire. She looks forward to an epic summer in Rosebud, AB performing in Little Women.
Director & Dramaturg
Ainsley Hillyard is an Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton)-based artist of settler descent. She is a choreographer, administrator, educator and performer who works in contemporary dance and theatre. Her work is immersed in the curiosities and connections between these two forms. Ainsley was a co-artistic director and general manager for the Good Women Dance Collective from 2009-2023 and is currently being mentored into the role of Artistic Director at the BWDC. In her free time she enjoys going for very long walks, especially with her French bulldog Jezebel and reading feminist sci fi.
Movement Dramaturg & Choreographer
Narda is an award-winning set, costume and lighting designer currently based in Calgary. Her work has been seen in theatres across the country. A few favourite past productions include the national tours of The Drowning Girls (Bent out of Shape), Glory (Western Canada Theatre) & Vigilante (Catalyst Theatre). Narda was the costume designer for the Freewill Shakespeare Festival for 16 seasons. She also designed the costumes for the feature film, Cut Bank, starring John Malkovich and Liam Hemsworth. See images of her work at: https://narda.ca/
Rebecca is an emerging theatre artist living and working in Amiskwacîwâskahikan, also known as Edmonton, Alberta. Currently her work is focused on set, costume, and lighting design.She is a recent graduate from the University of Alberta and was chosen to participate in Citadel Theatre’s RBC Horizon emerging Artists Program in 2021. Select credits include; Design Associate for This Won’t Hurt, I Promise (Tiny Bear Jaws), Production Design for Peter Pan (Citadel Theatre Young Company), and Assistant Projection Design for The Space Between Stars (SkirtsAfire Festival 2022).
Costume Design and Assistant Set Design
Binaifer is a Canadian Musician who holds extensive credits for composition in theatre, radio, and film.
A graduate from the University of Alberta Bachelor of Music program, Ms Kapadia has resided in Edmonton for many years, where she has enjoyed a prolific career as a Composer, Musical director, Performer, and Educator.
She has worked in various capacities in numerous Edmonton and area theatres, including the Citadel Theatre, Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Theatre Network, Northern Light Theatre, Workshop West Theatre, Freewill Shakespeare Festival, and Keyano Theatre. She has collaborated alongside other artists to co-produce and/or compose music for several new works. Selected favourite credits include: The Passion of Mary, written by Annette Loiselle (Roxy Theatre), The Little Mermaid (Harry Ainlay School), The Busy World is Hushed (Northern Light Theatre), A Giraffe in Paris (Citadel Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Freewill Shakespeare Festival), The Blue Hour by Michele Vance Hehir (SkirtsAfire), and Covid Collections: A Short Film (SkirtsAfire).
Ms Kapadia has also composed music for a number of short films as well as drama for CBC radio, which have aired nationally. Favourite credits among these include: A Fine Balance (CBC radio, 2004), Passion and Cold Soup (CBC radio, 1997), With Frogs and Fishes (Underwater Productions, 1992, AMPIA Nomination). She is one of the original founding members of Azimuth Theatre (1989 – 1995), where she co-wrote and co-produced several new plays.
She has been an instructor for Artstrek, and guest artist in a number of Edmonton Schools, where she continues her work as a music director, composer, and artist in residence. She also currently teaches at the Foote Theatre School at the Citadel, where she has worked for over 20 years.
Binaifer has received a number of Sterling Award Nominations, is the recipient of three Sterling Awards, and a co-recipient for a Solicitor General of Canada Crime Prevention Special Recognition Award.
Whittyn Jason is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race artist of South African and Ukrainian descent. They are based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (colonially known as Edmonton), where they work as a scenographer and Festival Director for Found Festival (Common Ground Arts Society). Select credits include: The Hooves Belonged to the Deer (In Arms Theatre Collective, Tarragon Theatre), Heaven (NAC), Little Women (Theatre Calgary); The Royale, The Fiancée, Heaven, A Brimful of Asha (Citadel Theatre); The Wolves (Maggie Tree/Citadel Theatre); and Smoke (Tiny Bear Jaws).
Nancy is excited to be working with SkirtsAfire again on Mermaid Legs. As a Edmonton based stage manager, she has worked at the Mayfield Theatre for over 50 productions including productions such as Rock of Ages, Mamma Mia, Sister Act, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Cabaret. Some other theatre credits include: Forever Plaid (Stage West Calgary), The Space Between Stars and Ayita (SkirtsAfire Festival), Much Ado About Nothing (Freewill Shakespeare Festival), The Drowning Girls (Western Canada Theatre), Lost Lemoine Part 1 & 2 and Witness to a Conga (Teatro la Quindicina), Sprouts Festival (Concrete Theatre), Crazy For You (Cameco Capitol Arts Centre), Strike! (Workshop West Theatre), The Last Tree of Rapa Nui (MTYP), Love Song and The Liars (Shadow Theatre), As You Like It, Julius Caesar, The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead, Equus, The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate, A Year with Frog and Toad, and The Syringa Tree (Citadel Theatre), Rock ’n ’Roll, and Fire (Canadian Stage Company/Citadel Theatre co-production), Humble Boy (Theatre Calgary/Citadel Theatre).
Nyssa is thrilled to be joining SkirtsAfire for this production of Mermaid Legs. Graduate of the University of Alberta, Nyssa is an Edmonton-based stage manager, happily hiding in the safety of the shadows backstage. Recent stage-management credits include: Little Shop of Horrors, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Matilda, Christmas Carol and Shakespeare in Love (Citadel Theatre); Nevermore, The Invisible (Catalyst); Unsung, Here there be Night (WWPT); The Wrong People Have Money, The Mountaintop (Shadow Theatre).
Extra love to Nyssa’s family, friends and her partner Kia for sanity maintenance.
Assistant Stage Manager
Rae is a freelance production manager, technical director, lighting designer, and technician based in Edmonton. She has been an active member of the Edmonton backstage community for over a decade. Additionally, she serves as a board member for the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology (CITT/ICTS) Alberta Section, where she contributes to promoting professional development and advancing the theatre community.
Breanna has been working in technical theatre since the age 15, and has worked in various areas of technical theatre. Since graduating from the Theatre Production Program and MacEwan University in 2019, she has focused mainly on Carpentry, Lighting, and Technical Directing. Her most recent roles have included: Carpenter for “The Hooves Belonged to the Deer”, Haunt Lead at “DARK”, and Technical Director for the “Flying Canoë Volant Festival”.
Noori is not just an actor around town – they’re also an improvisor at Sorry Not Sorry and occasionally a scrub model. You may have seen them in yegDND at the Grindstone Theatre, All The Little Animals I Have Eaten at Varscona Theatre, strolling the Fringe grounds, or making believe at Sprouts with Concrete Theatre! Noori was part of a small production company (Bring It Up Productions) for a few years after finishing their B.A. at U of A but then went back to school again and somehow ended up with a diploma in massage therapy and a degree in biochemistry but decided med school was going to be too much work and decided to do some film during the height of 2020. You may have seen them in some commercials for AGLC, as well as having small roles on Guilty Party, Joe Pickett, and maybe even a Hallmark movie! In their rare spare time, they like to read, write, sew, and practice dance, combat and some languages. Noori is much happier coming back to the stage, and is ready to bring another marathon show to this theatre near you!
Mel Bahniuk is a second generation Ukrainian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist. She is an actor, arts administrator, producer and educator. Favourite credits include Patty Simcox in Grease (WCT), Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre Clalgary/Shakesbow), Rose in The Flick (BLT), Bobbie James in Concord Floral, Alina (Producer for Pyretic Productions), OMA (Producer for TELUS Storyhive) Bad Hats Peter Pan (Assistant Director for the Citadel Young Musical Company) and Maria in Ukrainian film They Who Surround Us (Troy Ruptash). Aside from performing, Mel works as the Arts Administrator for NUOVA Vocal Arts, the Program Administrator for the Alberta Youth Theatre Collective, and the Citadel’s Young Company Program Assistant. Love to B, Mom, S, Finn, and the entire Mermaid Legs team!
Dayna Lea Hoffmann is a multidisciplinary artist and actor from Surrey, BC. Currently, she has been learning, performing locally, and producing and touring with her company Batrabbit Productions. Dayna is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA program and additionally holds a diploma in Theatre from Douglas College. She is a former performer, student and teacher of the Vancouver Circus School, and an alumni of Canada’s National Voice Intensive.
Dayna identifies as a bi-racial settler from the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people and would like to acknowledge that she is currently living and working on stolen land in Treaty 6 Territory.
Dayne Lea Hoffmann
Mpoe Mogale reigns from Lebowakgomo, South Africa and splits their time between amiskwaciywâskahikan and moh’kínst’sis, in the colonial state of Canada. They hold a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science, and a wealth of expertise in community-based research, facilitation, and arts administration.
Mpoe’s primary art-making form is dance, with a curiosity in the place of Blackness in spaces that deny it, as explored through several projects including “What (Black) Life Requires” (produced by Mile Zero Dance and Azimuth Theatre). Mpoe’s current artistic imaginations have centered the brilliant and joyous aspects that foreground the lives of Black folks.
Tia Ashley Kushniruk (亚 女弟) is a Chinese-Ukrainian Queer Woman based in ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan) Treaty 6/Métis Territory of Edmonton AB. Since 2013 she has been affiliated with the Cirque Du Soleil and Toy Guns Dance Theatre. She has had the pleasure of performing works of Antony Hamilton, Benjamin Kamino, Heidi Strauss, Christopher House, Shay Kuebler, Christianne Ullmark – touring works Nationally and Internationally. Her own work has been presented by Festival Internacional Nomada, Dancing on the Edge, Fluid Festival, Found Festival, Mile Zero, and the New Dance Arts Institute (formerly the School of TDT). Tia’s illustration and animation work has been commissioned by mallo, Here for Now, Plastic Orchid Factory, Two Big Steps, and adelheid/The NAC. She is the first recipient of the Catalyst Confluence Fellowship and a 2023 EATF recipient. Kushniruk is currently undergoing a mentorship with Toronto-based performance artist Bridget Moser.
Tia Ashley Kushniruk
Max Hanic is a queer Amiskwaciwâskahikan raised actor, dancer, singer and instructor who graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta Fine Arts Acting program. He also studied contemporary dance at La Faktoria Choreographic Centre in Pamplona, Spain. He has also taken workshops at Circuit-Est (Montreal), B12 (Berlin), TicTac Art Centre (Brussels), Mile Zero Dance (Edmonton).
Credits include but are not limited to: Kneeture’s Gift a dance theatre solo choreographed by himself and presented by Mile Zero Dance, Éphémère a dance and circus piece by Firefly Theatre and Circus, Space and Spectra, a residency on improvisation with live musicians organized by Rumi Jeraj and Aidan Mcconell in collaboration with the Good Women Dance Collective; Mudweed a self choreographed work in collaboration with musical group Pigeon Breeders; Stabat Matter (Edmonton Opera) choreographed by Susanna Hood; Dead Centre of Town (Catch the Keys Productions); Nosotrxs choreographed by Daniel Abreu; W.E choreographed by Mingao Zhang; Kay in Boy Trouble (Amoris Projects, Fringe Spotlight Series 2023, Fringe Festival 2019) for which he received a Sterling Nomination and Mircea in In Camera (Found Fest 2019).
Alida Kendell is a contemporary dance choreographer, performer, instructor and mother in amiskwacîwâskahikan, Edmonton. She has trained in both ballet and contemporary dance, completing her BA at the School of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, MB. Her artistry is fed by her work as a collective artist with the Good Women Dance Collective (GWDC), her independent projects, and caregiving. Career highlights so far include performing in the Sterling award-winning productions BEARS (Pyretic Productions) and The Cardiac Shadow (Northern Light Theatre and GWDC), which she co-choreographed.
Alida has choreographed numerous dance works for GDWC including Love Fail, a full length collaboration with Pro Coro Canada, Withheld, which was supported by Mile Zero Dance through their Artist in Residence Program and was presented at Fluid Festival in Calgary, and there we are. There, a duet choreographed and performed by Alida and Alison Kause. Alida’s choreographic works outside of GWDC have included Blood of Our Soil (Pyretic Productions) and The Particulars, a movement-based play produced by Punctuate! Theatre which premiered at the Theatre Centre in Toronto.
Recently Alida has returned to a solo practice that investigates durational improvisation as an escape from and return to self. Her recent participation in the Hack Lab (Theatre Direct) has inspired her to work in ways that incorporate the experience of motherhood rather than working in spite of it.
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