KAZAN Brings New Solo Show to Halifax!

Award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage with the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Unconfined, a compelling contemporary drama by Canadian playwright and actor Liz Richardson, presented in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. 

Based on real events, Unconfined is a moving story that connects three people – a professor, a painter, and a prisoner – through their relationship with a man on death row. All three characters are masterfully played by Richardson in a narrative that celebrates love, connection, and redemption. The play is directed and dramaturged by award-winning writer/director Ed Thomason, who worked with Richardson for two years to develop Unconfined for the stage.  

According to Richardson: “This play asks ‘Are we at our core fundamentally awake and kind and therefore, even if we commit a terrible act, can we still uncover that basically good, wise person? And if so, how does this happen? And most importantly, how does it affect those close to us?’ From the moment I began interviews, people were fiercely passionate that this story MUST be told and they never held back in unconditionally sharing their amazing and very personal experiences.”

KAZAN artistic director Kathryn MacLellan says: “I love Liz’s work as both an actor and a writer. We presented her show Going On at The Waiting Room in 2016, and we’re very excited to bring her work to the stage again. She draws you in as she transforms from one character to another.”

Thomason says: “Liz’s immersion in this story, after several years of interviews, visiting locations of the real events, and her burning desire to tell it, was what sold me on the idea. Her commitment was the heartbeat, the essential stuff of the project, and the idea of a solo performance flowed from that.” 

MacLellan adds: “It’s also very exciting to be performing at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Partnering with them is a great fit for us. It’s a beautiful, intimate 80-seat space. And although restrictions are lifting, we’ll be mindful of social distancing and maintain space between seats for patrons who feel more comfortable that way.”

Unconfined features work by Janet MacLellan (costume design), Vicky Williams (lighting design), and Mabel Wheeler (stage management), an original soundscape by Josh Cruddas (composer), and is produced by KAZAN artistic director Kathryn MacLellan.  

Says MacLellan: “It’s a dream team that includes KAZAN veterans – Liz Richardson’s talent on both the stage and page, and Janet MacLellan’s amazing costume design and co-production – as well as fabulous newcomers to the KAZAN family: Ed Thomason, Vicky Williams, Mabel Munroe, and Josh Cruddas.” 

Unconfined opens Thursday, March 31 and runs to Sunday, April 10 at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Windsor Foundation Theatre), with a preview on Wednesday, March 30. Entrance is 1728 Bedford Row. Shows begin at 7:30PM (doors open 7:00PM) except Sunday; Sunday shows are matinees at 2:00PM (doors open 1:30PM). PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN shows Wed March 30, 7:30PM and Sun April 3, 2:00PM. No show on Mondays. Runtime: 70 minutes without intermission. For tickets: http://www.tickethalifax.com (search “KAZAN” or “UNCONFINED”).


Nova Scotia’s KAZAN CO-OP has produced award-winning theatre in Halifax, Ottawa, and Toronto. Founded in 2011 by Artistic Director Kathryn MacLellan, who partners with her sister Janet, KAZAN has been nominated for 26 Merritt Awards and won five. Productions include Communion, I, Animal, His Greatness, and The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor, Alone by Sherry Lee Hunter, Heaven Above/Heaven Below by Linda Griffiths, Concerto Suite from Frida by Hilary Blecher and Robert Xavier Rodriguez and Going On by Liz Richardson, The Weekend Healer by Bryden MacDonald, Miss Conception by Kevin Levesque, and The Realistic Jones by Will Eno. 

KAZAN is grateful to BMO Financial Group, Arts Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, Halcraft, and The Coast for their continued support. KAZAN is a registered not-for-profit cooperative working with professional actors, directors, playwrights and designers. KAZAN’s motto: “Be in the room.”



Kathryn MacLellan



KAZAN Brings a Broadway Play to Park Place Theatre!

KAZANJonesesCoverPicture.jpgAward-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage this spring with the Atlantic Canadian premiere of The Realistic Joneses, a comedic drama named “Best Play on Broadway” by USA Today. The play will be the first production in the newly renovated Park Place Theatre in Point Pleasant Park.

In The Realistic Joneses, written by the acclaimed American playwright Will Eno, we meet Bob (Christian Murray) and Jennifer (Kathryn MacLellan), and their new neighbours John (Matthew Lumley) and Pony (Gil Anderson), two suburban couples trying to keep up with hiding their own secrets while attempting to learn the secrets of the others. As their lives intertwine, they discover that they have much more in common than the same last name.

“I absolutely love this play,” says KAZAN artistic director Kathryn MacLellan. “It’s smart, it’s modern, it’s original…the language is real. I knew it would be our next show as soon as I read it.”

The KAZAN production will be directed by two-time Governor General’s Award nominee Bryden MacDonald, who recently returned to Nova Scotia after completing his Master of Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. KAZAN’s 2017 production of MacDonald’s play The Weekend Healer was nominated for three Merritt Awards and named the year’s top show in The Coast.

“Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses is a masterfully crafted play.” says MacDonald “It begins with a standard sit-com set up that gradually goes off the rails. There are elements of the absurd, comparable to Beckett and Pinter—and though a feeling of existential dread does bubble beneath the surface, the play is ultimately a comedy—a very funny comedy about the difficulty we have communicating. The play seems to live in the gap between what people feel and how they are able to express those feelings. After I read the play for the first time, lines and images resonated long after—as if the play was following me around. It’s always a good sign when a script grabs you and doesn’t want to let go.”

MacLellan adds: “It’s also very exciting to be at the new Park Place Theatre – we are grateful to Elizabeth Murphy and Jesse MacLean. Halifax has limited venues for intimate theatre and they came to our rescue when we lost The Waiting Room this past fall.”

Elizabeth Murphy, Co-Artistic Director of Shakespeare by the Sea, says: “We’re so happy KAZAN is kicking off our new space. We really hope it will be a vital new home to work by the Halifax theatre community – we have 80 seats, climate control, and of course lots of free parking.”

The Realistic Joneses features work by Victoria Marston (set design), Janet MacLellan (costume design), Alison Crosby (lighting design), Donny Walls (sound design), and KAZAN Artistic Director Kathryn MacLellan (producer).

“It’s a dream team that includes some of our KAZAN veterans back,” continues MacLellan, “like the incomparable Victoria Marston, who set-designed Communion, I, Animal and His Greatness,  Donny Walls, who created the sound design for The Weekend Healer and His Greatness, Janet MacLellan’s continued excellence in costume design and co producer. We also have some fabulous newcomers, including Alison Crosby (lighting) and Tessa Pekeles (stage management).

The Realistic Joneses marks the Broadway playwriting debut of Eno, whose works include MiddletownTitle and Deed and the solo show Thom Pain (based on nothing), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Will Eno is a Residency Five Fellow at the Signature Theatre in New York. The Realistic Joneses won a Drama Desk Award, was named USA Today’s “Best Play on Broadway,” topped the The Guardian’s 2014 list of American plays, and was included in The NY Times’ “Best Theatre of 2014”. The New York Times said of the broadway production: “Mr. Eno’s voice may be the most singular of his generation…humane, literate and slyly hilarious.

The Realistic Joneses previews on Thursday May 9, opens Friday, May 10 and runs to Sunday, May 19 at Park Place Theatre, 5480 Point Pleasant Drive (lower parking lot; free parking). Shows begin at 7:30PM (doors open 7:00PM) except Sunday; Sunday shows are matinees at 2:00PM (doors open 1:30PM). PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN is Sunday, May 12, 2:00PM matinee. No show Monday. Runtime: 90 minutes without intermission. For tickets: www.tickethalifax.com (search “KAZAN” or “Realistic Joneses”).