April 2019

Tucked between quaint buildings that line Windsor’s Gerrish Street, a town rich in Nova Scotian culture and history, you will find the world-renowned Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

The town of Windsor, with a population of less than 4000 people, has a proud history and a vibrant culture that far exceeds what you may expect in a town of its size. As the eastern gateway to the Annapolis Valley, it also boasts one of the most picturesque destinations in the province.

Windsor may be known as a sporting hub for day trips to Ski Martock and rounds of golf at Avon Valley or possibly most renown as ‘The Birthplace of Hockey” – where hockey is said to have gotten its humble origins in the early 1800’s on Windsor’s own Long Pond.

Windsor is also known for the longest running agricultural exhibition in North America with the Hants County Exhibition celebrating its 254th year in 2019! And don’t forget the annual Pumpkin Regatta held each year in October as adventurous folk race pumpkins across Lake Pisquid.

Then there is the regal Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Centre. The Mermaid Theatre was founded in Wolfville in 1972 and moved to its current location on Gerrish Street in 1987. This gem of the Annapolis Valley has gained national and international acclaim for their adaptations of children’s literature. They have performed in 19 countries, across 4 continents so it is always special to be able to take in a show at the Imperial Theatre when they come back ‘home’ to Windsor.

Hungy Caterpillar

Photo: mermaidtheatre.ca – The Very Hungry Caterpillar

As self-proclaimed puppet lovers and ‘behind-the-sofa’ puppeteer masters, my 5 and 6 year olds were beyond excited to experience the ‘real deal’ as we ventured to Windsor for the performance of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favourites‘. As we entered the beautiful Imperial Theatre, it was easy to forget that mere minutes ago, we were walking down a small street in a somewhat sleepy Nova Scotia town –  typical for much of the East Coast in the middle of March. It was as if we had slipped down the rabbit hole into a whole new world as we opened the Theatre doors and entered this majestic space.

It turns out, the beautiful theatre was second only to the magical performance of music, movement and storytelling by the Mermaid Theatre’s puppeteers. This hour-long show captivated the very young, the young-at-heart and everyone in between. The Mermaid Theatre, famous for their adaptations of beloved children’s tales through the magic of black light and fanciful puppets, continues to delight audiences through generations!

After the show, the puppeteers explained some of the art of puppetry and graciously invited the children to come to the stage to see the magic in action and to ask questions. It was an unforgettable experience in puppetry and in the magical world of imagination. We didn’t have a silent moment on our trek back to the city on the 101 as our car was bubbling with excitement of our new-found love of puppetry and the Mermaid Theatre.

Photo: JS Dinham

The Mermaid Theatre is getting ready for one last performance for the season at home in Windsor. You can join them for a special production of Marcus Pfister’s, ‘The Rainbow Fish’. This enchanting tale is an unforgettable introduction to the performing arts for even the youngest of puppet enthusiasts. The hour-long show also features two other Marcus Pfister tales – ‘Rainbow Fish Discovers and Deep Sea and Opposites‘.

Mermaid Theatre’s newest show, ‘The Rainbow Fish’, will be playing at the Imperial Theatre in Windsor on May 5th, 2019.

Rainbow Fish

Photo: mermaidtheatre.ca – The Rainbow Fish

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia

Where: Mermaid Imperial Performing Arts Centre
Address: 132 Gerrish Street, Windsor
Website: https://www.mermaidtheatre.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MermaidTheatre/

Sue Dinham is a Halifax-based writer. She was a guest of the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.