Mermaid Theatre is best known for unique stage adaptations of children’s beloved literary classics. Our innovative puppetry, striking scenic effects, evocative original music and gentle storytelling have been applauded by over six million spectators in fifteen countries. Our mission is as follows:
The Theatre’s focus is twofold. On the one hand Mermaid’s energetic professional touring theatre for family audiences has won international claim for original productions with a strong emphasis on puppetry and the incorporation of original music. At the other end of the spectrum, Mermaid has a strong local and regional presence as the result of teaching and presenting activities. These include the Mermaid Theatre Loft’s artists’ residencies, the Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Entertainment series also known as MIPAC, and the Institute of Puppetry Arts’ innovative education and outreach programs.
The promotion of indigenous talent is of prime importance to the company. Mermaid Theatre’s touring productions at home and abroad serve as a continuous showcase for the Atlantic Region’s performing artists, writers, directors, designers and technicians. The company ranks among Atlantic Canada’s foremost cultural employers, and is currently Canada’s major exporter of theatre for family audiences.
The company’s choice of material is based on the belief that young people can benefit substantially both in their emotional and aesthetic development, from early exposure to literature, the arts, and the power of imagination. The company’s objective is to produce work which is good theatre – entertaining, informative and stimulating to all the senses. As important is the goal of encouraging literacy and generating enthusiasm for the art of reading.
Leaders at home. Ambassadors abroad.
To introduce family audiences at home and abroad to the excitement of innovative theatre and the performing arts.
To serve as cultural ambassadors for Nova Scotia and for Canada.
To encourage literacy and the love of reading.
To promote the art of puppetry through live performances as well as by means of instruction at all levels
Mermaid Theatre is best known for unique stage adaptations of children’s beloved literary classics.
Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia was founded in Wolfville in March of 1972 by Evelyn Garbary, Sara Lee Lewis and Tom Miller. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they shared a commitment to introducing rural youngsters and their families to the excitement of the performing arts and the magic of literature. A pilot project grant from the Government of Canada’s Local Initiatives Program, and Acadia University’s generous provision of rehearsal facilities paved the way for the company’s first artistic endeavour. On May 3, 1972 marked the premiere performance of The Nose at Aldershot School in Kings County, NS. Directed by Evelyn, designed by Tom, and adapted from Gogol’s short story by Elizabeth Jones, the production featured the innovative blend of puppets, movement, music and storytelling that was to become Mermaid’s trademark. The company’s inaugural touring members included Rob Black, Joanna Hancock, Owen O’Donavan, Susan O'Donovan, Frederick William Oliver, Barb Parker, Ken Strong, and Marthanne Williamson.
Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association & UNIMA
Providing a platform for the region’s puppet theatre artists by forming an alliance among worldwide practitioners of the age-old art, the Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association / Association des marionnettistes du Canada atlantique (ACPA/AMCA) was created in 2015. We are formally affiliated with UNIMA-Canada and UNIMA-International, sister organizations whose mandate is to link puppeteers nationally and internationally; to support professional programs; to stimulate the general public's interest in the art of puppetry; and to promote the visibility of Canada’s puppeteers all over the world.
The Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association, with headquarters at Mermaid, is registered under the Nova Scotia Societies Act and governed by a founding board of directors drawn from the four Atlantic Provinces. If you are interested in joining, please contact email@example.com