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First Snow, Last Light

Award-winning author Wayne Johnston was born in the small town of Goulds, Newfoundland. Like so many from Atlantic Canada - has tracked his heritage to both Scotland and Ireland.
“I have traced myself back to the people sent from Scotland to Ireland after the clearances,” explains the mild-mannered writer over the phone. “We were then sent to County Antrim. So, my people would have started out Scottish and then intermingled with the Northern Irish.”
Although, today, Johnson is household name in Canadian literature, writing was not always on his agenda.
“I started out - as was suggested to me by both my parents and our parish priest where I grew up - on the path of priesthood,” he scoffs. “In high school I realized that was not what I wanted, so I cooked up the idea of being a doctor instead.
“Then it became time to start medical school, and I realized I didn’t want to do that either. I had to break the news to my parents that it wasn’t going to be in the priesthood or in medicine. I told…
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Jason Campbell

Whether plying his trade as a solo artist or with his renowned band Signal Hill, Nova Scotia’s Jason Campbell might be the busiest musician in Atlantic Canada. Recently we spoke with him about his passion for his profession.
What is your own background? I was born and raised in Newfoundland. Many generations back my family was Scottish and British.
When and why did you start playing music? I've always sang and it wasn't really a conscious decision to be a musician. It's all I've ever done for a living. I'm just naturally driven to be a better player, singer, performer; I wish I could give a better answer. My father was a singer/drummer in bar bands when I was born.
Are they the same reasons you do it today? I suppose the difference now is that I have to play to support my family, mortgage, business ventures, etc. I still love it though, I find myself more and more drawn to do things like jazz and solo original projects to sort of push the boundaries of what is expecte…


This weekend, one of Canada’s foremost dance troupes - Citadel+Compagnie – bring three works by James Kudelka to Halifax. Recently we spoke with artistic director Laurence Lemieux about what audiences can expect.

When and why did you first become interested in dance? When I was about 15 years old, I was a gymnast. My coach suggested that I should start dancing so I did…just like that!
Are they the same reasons that you continue to be involved today? No, I continue to be involved today because I find that it is an art form with endless possibilities of human expression
What are the challenges of the vocation? The body breaks down very fast, and a lot of dancers suffer from chronic pain as they grow older. It is also a very regimented life, so one must be very committed to the idea of not having a regular lifestyle. 
What are the rewards? The reward is the ability to accomplish artistic expression and give it to the audience just with one’s body and hard work.
Is your creative process more '…

Emilie-Claire Barlow

Renown Canadian jazz vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow tours Atlantic Canada over the coming week, with stops in Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton and Halifax. Recently AE spoke with her about her latest recording Lumières d’hiver.
What are your roots? I am Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario!
Where do you currently reside? I move between Montreal, Toronto, and Southern Mexico
How long have you been involved with music, and what inspired you to start? I’ve been involved in music ever since I can remember. Both of my parents are musicians. My mother is a singer and my father is a drummer. In the 70’s and 80’s they were both first-call studio musicians, so I spent a lot fo my childhood in Toronto studios. I started working professionally when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Music was and is our life, so it was just a natural thing for me to do. I learned to read music at a very early age. My parents could see that I expressed interest, and had a natural musicality.
Are they the same reasons you contin…

Menopause the Musical

Audiences across Atlantic Canada are in for a boatload of belly laughs over the coming week, as the renown musical comedy weaves its way through Moncton, Halifax, Pictou, Glace Bay and Charlottetown. Recently, AE check in with the show’s producer Janet Martin.
When and why did you first become interested in theatre? I've been in theatre professionally for 35 years as an actor, and as a producer since 2014.
Are they the same reasons that you continue to be involved today? I don't know how to do much else, and theatre really fulfills my soul. This way, I eat, sleep and breathe theatre. I believe in the power of live performance and always have.
What are the challenges of the vocation? As an actor of a certain age, one must maintain the instrument, the body, voice, health etc. As a producer, it is risky - not for the faint of heart. Never go into this business (or any other) just for the money. There must be passion too.
What are the rewards? The reward for us in Menopause The Musical is…

Paris! The Show

Paris! The Show is a vibrant tribute to the greatest French songs of the post-war years, featuring the music of Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Lucienne Boyer, Charles Trenet, Josephine Baker, Yves Montand, Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel. Recently we spoke with the show’s writer, producer and director Gil Marsella about what Halifax audiences can expect on November 7.

What is your own personal background? I am 48 years old, living in Nice, France, I am married, with 3 kids. I have a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Nice, and I studied piano with the Nice Conservatory Class of Jazz.
What is your professional background? I was a professional musician at 16 years old, a musical director at 20 years old, and an artistic director at 25 years old. I became CEO of founder of Directo Productions in 2001. Since then, we have produced more than 300 concerts and events produced each year.
When and why did you first get involved with this particular production? In 2014, after a ser…

Gerald Squires

By putting his province on the canvas, Gerald Squires helped put Newfoundland on the map
Renowned Newfoundland artist Gerald Squires always claimed to show himself in his paintings, but it is Newfoundland - in all its rugged, enduring majesty - that shone through in his work.
A prolific painter, sculptor, lithographer, and stained glass artist, Squires passed away from cancer in 2015 at the age of 77.
An ardent advocate for ‘The Rock’ – as Canadians affectionately call the country’s easternmost province - he believed that something special was lost when Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949.
“We are only now beginning to get our dignity back,” he told journalist and fellow Newfoundland native Sandra Gwyn in the mid-1970s.
In an article in the Globe and Mail following his death, Newfoundland writer Joan Sullivan credited Squires with playing a key role in restoring that dignity.
“Always absolutely recognizable, over time his art became more representational. The more realistically he pa…