Guess – Program Notes

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia presents

2016 China Promotional Tour

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Writer and Illustrator: Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram (Guess How Much I Love You)
Writer and Illustrator: Anita Jeram (I Love My Little Storybook)
Chinese translation: Shao-Pin Luo   (I Love My Little Storybook)
Director/Production Designer: Jim Morrow
Composer: Steven Naylor
Narrator: Beau Bridges
Narrator [Mandarin version]: Dashan
Stage Manager: Jessica Lewis
Performers: Jeff O’Hara, Katie Dorian
Associate Designers: Jonathan Ford, Deborah MacLean
Video Design: Windoverdaun Films
Fibre Artist: Holly Carr
Pre-show video images courtesy of Andrew Dill, Avard Woolaver, and the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

About Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia 
Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia ranks among North America’s most respected theatres for the young, and plays an important ambassadorial role for Nova Scotia and for Canada. The company regularly crosses the continent, and has represented Canada in the United States, Japan, Mexico, Australia, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea and Taiwan. Mermaid Theatre has earned Export Excellence awards from both the Governments of Canada and of Nova Scotia. Based in the Town of Windsor, Mermaid has performed for over five million spectators on four continents. The company was founded in 1972.

About the Production
Sam McBratney’s touching bedtime story, Guess How Much I Love You, was first published in hardcover in 1995. Charmingly illustrated with endearing watercolours by Anita Jeram, the book is available in fifty languages and has received media praise around the world. There are more than 26.5 million copies of Guess How Much I Love You in print worldwide. A second beloved story, I Love My Little Storybook by writer/illustrator Anita Jeram, rounds out Mermaid’s innovative production for very little children. Featuring a whimsical menagerie of animals and imaginary creatrures, Jeram’s story introduces youngsters to the delights of colourful imagery, as well as to the appreciation of reading.

Anita Jeram, Writer and Illustrator 
A native of Portsmouth, England, Anita Jeram studied art at Manchester Polytechnic and published her first book for children while she was still a student. She has subsequently written and illustrated many popular and critically acclaimed books for children, including a number which feature her enchanting, lovable bunnies. Today she lives in Northern Ireland with her family and a collection of pet animals, and hopes in the future to establish a wildlife sanctuary.

Sam McBratney, Writer
In addition to Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney has written many other books for children, as well as half a dozen radio plays for adults and a prize-winning collection of short stories. He received a degree in history and political science from Trinity College, Dublin, and was a full-time educator before choosing to devote all his time to writing. He lives with his family (and tortoise) in Northern Ireland.

About the Creative Team

Jim Morrow, Director/Production Designer 
Jim creates puppets for stage, television and film. He’s directed numerous shows for the Theatre, including Very Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle FavoritesA Brown Bear, a Moon and a Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric CarleSwimmy, Frederick, Inch by InchGoodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny as well as designed many others. A gifted performer, Jim has toured extensively in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. He serves as director of puppetry for Symphony Nova Scotia’s production of The Nutcracker, and frequently conducts master classes in puppetry in North America and abroad. Jim is Mermaid Theatre’s Artistic Director.

Steven Naylor, Composer 
Steven has created the music for more than a dozen Mermaid shows, including Very Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle FavoritesA Brown Bear, a Moon and a Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric CarleSwimmy, Frederick and Inch by InchGoodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunnyand others. His many other professional activities include original film and television scores; contemporary music and musique actuelle performance; university teaching and curriculum development; and a long-term international involvement with electroacoustic concert music. Steven is Mermaid Theatre’s Artistic Advisor for Music and Sound Design.

Beau Bridges, Narrator 
The recorded narration for Mermaid’s show is the work of Beau Bridges, an award-winning actor who visited Mermaid’s headquarters while on location in Windsor, Nova Scotia several years ago. Part of a preeminent Hollywood acting dynasty, he has portrayed a myriad of characters during an extensive career in film and television which spans more than three decades. Beau is the father of four sons and a daughter, giving him an insider’s appreciation of the world of children’s literature.

DaShan, Narrator [Mandarin Version]
Dashan, AKA Mark Rowswell, has been called “the most famous foreigner in China”, where he has worked as media personality and cultural ambassador for over 20 years. Although relatively unknown in the West, it’s hard to find anyone in China who does not know of Dashan.

Born and raised in Canada, Rowswell began studying Chinese in the mid -‘eighties, first at the University of Toronto and later at Beijing University. While in Beijing, Rowswell became interested in Chinese performing arts, particularly xiangsheng ??, a popular form of comic dialogue. A chance opportunity to appear on television suddenly gave Rowswell national exposure under the stage name “Dashan”. Repeated appearances on programs with audiences in the hundreds of millions gradually turned “Dashan” into a household name across China.

Well over 20 years later, Dashan is still going strong. Although Dashan got his start performing comedy, today he is seen more as a cultural ambassador between China and the West. Dashan became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006, that country’s highest civilian honour, with the citation acknowledging his work in uniting the Canadian and Chinese peoples through laughter, understanding and goodwill. He has represented Canada in a number of prestigious capacities, including Team Attaché for the Canadian Olympic Committee during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and Canada’s Commissioner General for Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Further recognition followed in 2012, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Dashan Canada’s Goodwill Ambassador to China.

Dr. Shao-Pin Luo, Translator [I Love My Little Storybook]
Dr. Luo holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of New Brunswick. Her main research interests are in postcolonial literature, diaspora studies, translation studies, and intercultural approaches in language teaching and learning. She currently serves as Coordinator of the Chinese Studies Program and Adjunct Professor in the Department of English at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS.

Jessica Lewis, Stage Manager 
Jessica has been working in Halifax, Nova Scotia as a lighting designer, technical director, production manager and stage manager for over 10 years.  She has taken productions across Canada and throughout the southern United States.  Jessica has worked with many companies including Off the Leash Creative, Zuppa Theatre, DMV Theatre, as well as acting as Special Events Co-Producer at the Atlantic Film Festival and Production Manager for the 2014 Magnetic North/STAGES Theatre Festival. She is also an accomplished musician, performing in Cactus Flower, Wet Denim, Dark for Dark and Escape Tapes. She joined Mermaid Theatre in 2016

Jeffrey O’Hara, Performer
Jeffrey is a New Brunswick performer living in Halifax, NS. He is a graduate of Mount Allison University (B.A. Drama) and University of Essex (MA Acting International). Recently he has performed with DaPoPo Theatre, Live Bait Theatre, and Demasquer Theatre. He trained at the Mermaid Institute of Puppetry Arts in 2015.

Katie Dorian, Performer 
Katie is a Halifax-based theatre creator and actor. After graduating from Dalhousie University with her BA Honours in Theatre (2011), Katie enrolled in the Professional Training Program in Circus Arts at Atlantic Cirque. She has worked for companies around Atlantic Canada, including Ajar Theatre, Anthony Sherwood Productions, Wheelwright Theatre, Lion’s Den Theatre, Zuppa Theatre and Festival Antigonish. Katie has also performed circus and dance with Atlantic Cirque and Aviatrix. In 2014, Katie was Emerging Artist-in-Residence for 2b theatre. During that residency Katie created her solo show about memory, How Often Do I Dream…(Transitus), which won Best Solo Show at the Atlantic Fringe Festival (2014), Patron’s Pick in Toronto Fringe (2015), and continues to tour across Canada.

For general information, please contact
Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
P.O. Box 2697
Windsor, Nova Scotia Canada B0N 2T0
Tel: (902) 798 5841
Fax: (902) 798 3311

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia staff: 

Artistic Director: Jim Morrow
General Manager: Lisa Gleave
Public Affairs Consultant: Sara Lee Lewis
Administrator: Cathy White
Office & Tour Coordinator: Jason Tucker
Production Manager: Deborah MacLean
Production Associate & Workshop Coordinator: Struan Robertson
Technical Director: Michael Jamieson
Artistic Advisor for Music and Sound Design: Steven Naylor
Seamstress: Sarah Harvey Hart
Fabric Artist: Holly Carr

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is a member of the Professional Theatre Association of Canadian Theatres and engages professional Artists who are members of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement.

I Love My Little Storybook by Anita Jeram. Copyright © 2002 by Anita Jeram. Guess How Much I Love You Text copyright ©1994 by Sam McBratney; Illustrations copyright ©1994 by Anita Jeram. Guess How Much I Love You™ is a registered trademark of Walker Book Ltd, London.