Nova Scotia is home to a diverse and vibrant art community, with Halifax as the centre for live theatre and musical productions. So whether you’re in town for a few days or a few weeks, catching a theatre performance is a must.
Here are some of the best spots in Halifax to experience live theatre:
Shakespeare by the Sea
“All the world’s a stage/and all the men and women merely players”. Ok, so maybe I’m biased because I love the works of Shakespeare (I’m impossible to watch any production of Romeo and Juliet with, because I quote the entire play…out loud) but Shakespeare by the Sea tops my list for live theatre in Halifax.
The playbill, which starts in July and ends in September, includes three different Shakespearian plays every year, ranging from comedy to tragedy.
The plays are performed outside in Point Pleasant Park, in an amphitheatre formed by the ruins of the Prince of Whales Tower. As well performing the Bard’s tales, Shakespeare by the Sea offers kid-friendly matinees. The best part? All performances are free, with a voluntary donation of $15 per person.
Opened in 1915, Neptune is one of the oldest professional theatres in Canada. Each year, the theatre’s playbill includes a diverse variety of theatrical experiences, including musicals, comedies, dramas, classics, and Canadian premieres.
Fountain Hall, Neptune’s main stage, seats over 500 and is the setting for the theatre’s world-class performances and lavish productions. The Studio Theatre hosts smaller plays in a more intimate setting.
Neptune’s season runs from mid-September until late May, with productions often held over until July. I have seen several plays at Neptune, including Chicago, The Producers, Beauty and the Beast, and, most recently, Peter Pan, and have been blown away every time. Ticket prices vary depending on seating and shows, so contact Neptune Theatre for more information.
The Bus Stop Theatre
An intimate theatre and art space in the North End of Halifax, the Bus Stop Theatre is a home for music, theatre, film, dance, and visual arts. From established theatre troupes to amateur crews, this theatre offers a front row seat to view Halifax’s local talent. Bonus- local artwork on display in the main foyer and affordable bar service.
Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre
Halifax’s premier dinner theatre combines fine dining and live entertainment in one very enjoyable package. Featuring local singers, actors, and dancers, the Feast produces three musical comedy shows a year.
The experience starts as soon as you enter the theatre and are greeted by actors in characters, who are also the servers for the evening. Audience participation and interaction are encouraged.
The three-course meal is easy to like—haddock in a chive aioli and chicken cordon blue are among the menu items, along with traditional Maritime fare such as seafood casserole or salmon in a maple glaze. The trick is finding time to eat in between fits of uncontrollable laughter. Tickets are $42.50, and include dinner and the live play.
Venture across the harbour to Dartmouth, Halifax’s sister city, and take in a performance by the Dartmouth Players, one of the most successful community theatre groups in Nova Scotia. The actors are paid no wages, and all members, performers, and technicians contribute simply for the love of theatre.
Dartmouth Players perform four productions a year, with an average per-play audience of over 1,000 people, and also hosts other Nova Scotian theater companies, such as the Theatre Arts Guild, Canada’s oldest continually operating community theatre troupe.