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ABOUT HOMEFIRST THEATRE

HomeFirst Theatre was founded by Artistic Director Mary Vingoe and playwright Colleen Wagner in 2010 to produce theatre of social and/or political importance with an emphasis on plays from Atlantic Canada. We’re predominantly a project-based company – meaning that we have no infrastructure and produce productions one at a time. 

Our number one priority when producing works is the playwright’s voice. HomeFirst always has a strong, collaborative relationship with the playwright of every play we produce.

We’re also fond of challenging the theatrical norm by encouraging innovative, ongoing collaborations among playwrights, designers, directors, and actors through extended projects and long term partnerships. We pride ourselves on forming tight-knit, lasting relationships. It makes us all happier and our productions stronger.

As four out of our five productions to-date have been world-premieres, we’re clearly a company with a penchant for producing firsts! And our fifth production was still a first, as it was an Atlantic-regional premiere (It Is Solved by Walking, 2014).

HomeFirst engages under the terms of the INDIE 2.2, professional Artists who are members of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

World Premiere

Playwright: Colleen Wagner

Venue: The Bus Stop Theatre

Dates: February 2010

The production that started it all – it’s even where we got our name! Home, first show… Home First… get it? Read more about Home here.

World Premiere

Playwright: Mary Vingoe

Venue: Neptune Scotiabank Studio

Dates: October 2013

Our sophomore production was also a co-production with Eastern Front Theatre. Read more about Refuge here.

Atlantic-region Premiere

Playwright: Catherine Banks

Venue: Neptune Scotiabank Studio

Dates: October 2014

This play was a co-production with White Rooster Theatre and had performances in Halifax AND St John’s, Newfoundland. Read more about It Is Solved By Walking here.

World Premiere

Playwright: Wendy Lill

Venue: Neptune Scotiabank Studio

Dates: October-November 2015

Our second co-production with our friends at Eastern Front Theatre. Fun fact: Mary Vingoe (HomeFirst AD) and Wendy Lill (playwright) were two of the co-founders of Eastern Front Theatre!  Read more about Messenger here.

World Premiere

Playwright: Mary Vingoe

Venue: The Bus Stop Theatre

Dates: October-November 2018

After a short producing hiatus, HomeFirst had a successful return to producing with a production written and directed by our Artistic Director. Read more about Some Blow Flutes here.

OUR STORY

In the winter of 2010 HomeFirst presented the world premiere of Colleen Wagner’s play Home at the Bus Stop Theatre in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. A powerful piece about the aftermath of resettlement and the right of return for Latvian immigrants to Canada, Home garnered excellent reviews and full houses for its limited run. It explored an area not much examined in our theatre: the rights of those forcibly resettled through the upheavals of war.

Building on its initial success, HomeFirst  presented our  second production, Mary Vingoe’s play Refuge in co-production with Eastern Front Theatre in 2013. Inspired by the CBC radio documentary Habtom’s Path, Refuge explores a tragic failure within our immigration system in Canada. Refuge was nominated for a Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Award for Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian and was named a finalist in the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award competition in 2014. It went on to be produced by Nightwood Theatre in Toronto in May 2016 and received its Vancouver premiere at the the Firehall in 2017. Refuge was published by Scirocco Press in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2016.

With our growing success, pressure grew to formalize the company and we were legally incorporated January 30, 2014.

Our third production was the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Catherine Banks’ Governor General’s Award winning play, It Is Solved By Walking. Highly metaphorical, the play uses American poet Wallace Stevens’ iconic poem  Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird as a counterpoint to Banks’ achingly emotional and at times wrenching journey through the dissolution of a marriage, sexual politics, and failed creativity.  It Is Solved By Walking was a co-production with our sister company in St John’s, White Rooster Theatre. Produced in the fall of 2014,  It Is Solved By Walking received excellent reviews and exceeded box office expectations in both cities.

Our fourth production was the world premiere of Wendy Lill’s new play Messenger, based on An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. Messenger asks the question: What if Canada had led the world on climate change? Messenger premiered in November 2015 at Neptune Theatre’s Scotiabank studio in co-production with Eastern Front Theatre.  It received excellent reviews and was nominated for three Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Awards including Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian.

After a two-year hiatus, HomeFirst returned in October 2018 with its fifth production, the world-premiere of Mary Vingoe’s Some Blow Flutes at the Bus Stop Theatre. The play deals with the effects of memory loss, both that brought on by illness and that which is self-induced as a way of numbing pain. The play asks the question: How can we forgive when we cannot remember? The play was a triumphant return for the company, garnering four Merritt Award nominations including Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian.

Now, our sixth production – which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic – is finally on the horizon. HomeFirst will produce the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Colleen Murphy’s The December Man at the Bus Stop Theatre in late November 2021.

HomeFirst has been fortunate to receive consistent funding from The Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Nova Scotia and the Craig Foundation for all of its productions. We have also received project funding from Halifax Regional Municipality and are grateful to have many loyal sponsors and supporters.