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”).

KAZAN Celebrates Canada’s Birthday with Miss Conception – Three Shows Only!

Award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage this summer with the return of Miss Conception – the beloved Toronto-based entertainer touring the world with his one-woman live singing shows.

In addition to fan-favourite The Immaculate Miss Conception, Miss Conception will also perform a new piece in tribute to The Dumbells – the legendary WWI troupe that brought drag artists to perform for Canadian soldiers on the front lines.

“I’m thrilled to come back to Halifax with a new show, and celebrate Canada Day in Nova Scotia!” says Miss Conception, aka Kevin Levesque. “I’m in the midst of developing a tribute to The Dumbells, who were an important part of the rise of drag performance in our country during the First World War and through the 1920s. It’s going to be so much fun!”

Miss Conception has had audiences across the USA, Mexico, South America, Europe, and Canada howling with laughter – and leaping to their feet with applause. He has opened for Will and Grace’s Leslie Jordan, performed with RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Courtney Act, had her own show with Second City Toronto, been featured on Queer as Folk and Degrassi, The Next Generation and won “Miss Gay Universe” and “Entertainer of the Year” and “Miss Gay Toronto.”

“I am so happy to bring this iconic Canadian artist to Halifax during a celebratory weekend” says KAZAN’s artistic director Kathryn MacLellan. “I saw Miss Conception perform this latest work in Mexico and immediately wanted to book it.

Added MacLellan: “Last July, Miss C, as his fans call him, received critical and audience acclaim. Many of our patrons returned multiple times to see the show. One woman came the first time with friends, then brought her husband the second time – they had a fantastic evening of entertainment. Miss C is hard to resist.”

When not touring, Miss Conception donates his spare time to fundraising events, including the People with Aids Foundation, Friends for Life Bike Rally, and his own charity fund with Fife House called the Miss Conception Resident Comfort Fund.

Miss Conception’s Halifax performances are supported by Louisa Adamson (lighting design), Janet MacLellan (co-producer) and Kathryn MacLellan (producer). Miss Conception designs her own costumes and creates the show.

KAZAN will present three shows coinciding with Canada Day Events. Miss Conception opens Friday, June 30 and runs to Sunday, July 2 at The Waiting Room, 6040 Almon Street. Show begins at 7:30PM (doors open at 6:45PM, cash bar). Runtime: 105 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

For tickets: tickethalifax.com (search “KAZAN” or “Miss Conception”).

KAZAN is grateful to BMO Financial Group, Joan Craig, Halprint, and The Coast.


Kathryn MacLellan

KAZAN Heals All Troubles

Halifax’s award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage this spring with Bryden MacDonald’s The Weekend Healer – an electrifying glimpse into the lives of an estranged family of three.

Lindalou (Stephanie MacDonald) is packing up to return to Cape Breton after visiting her mother Betina (Kathryn MacLellan) in Ontario for the first time in five years. When Lindalou’s son Curtis (Allie MacDonald) steps out for a pack of smokes and does not return, she fears the worst, and Curtis’ disappearance is the catalyst for a harrowing weekend.

“This play began with a desire to explore the ideas of babies raising babies, the definitions of family, and the nature of lies,” says two-time Governor General Nominee MacDonald. “But ultimately The Weekend Healer is about the birth of reluctant heroes in a very confused world.”

Directed by Dora-winner Dean Gabourie, who directed last season’s hit The Best Brothers, The Weekend Healer features Mayor’s Award and two-time Merritt Award winner Stephanie MacDonald, Mayor’s Award and KAZAN artistic producer Kathryn MacLellan, and Des McAnuff award-winner Allie MacDonald, making his Halifax professional debut.

The Weekend Healer is one of my absolutely favorite plays,” says MacLellan. “I’ve wanted to produce it since founding KAZAN. Bryden is one of Canada’s greatest voices: original, brilliant.”

MacLellan adds: “I was fortunate to play Lindalou in the Neptune Studio production in 1995. It is a very special role in my career. I gave it to Stephanie to read when she joined our team – I knew that she had to be the next Lindalou.”

The Weekend Healer also features work by Andrew Cull (set design), Janet MacLellan (prop and costume design), Ingrid Risk (stage management and lighting design), Louisa Adamson (production management), Heather MacLellan (marketing), and Kathryn MacLellan (producer).

The Weekend Healer opens Saturday, May 7 and runs to Sunday, May 22 at The Waiting Room, 6040 Almon Street. Pay-what-you-can preview Friday, May 6.

Show begins at 7:30PM (doors open at 6:15 PM).

Runtime: 85 minutes without intermission. Mature subject matter.

No show Mondays. For tickets: tickethalifax.com (search “Weekend Healer” or “KAZAN”)

KAZAN is grateful to BMO Financial Group, Harvey and Marie Crowell, Jack and Joan Craig, Zephyr Home, and The Coast for their support.


“If you need proof that Glace Bay’s Bryden MacDonald is one of the best playwrights in the country…The Weekend Healer is more than compelling evidence.”
Ron Foley MacDonald, The Daily News

“I believe if Tennessee Williams were from the Maritimes and writing today, he’d sound a lot like Bryden MacDonald.” Richard Ouzonian, CBC Radio

The Weekend Healer is possibly the best thing I’ve seen (Neptune do) this decade. Seriously. It’s that good.” The Coast

“First-rate: great characters…excellent dialogue, both comic and dramatic.”
The Globe and Mail

“Vibrant and pulsating with life…The Weekend Healer emerges as one of the most exciting new plays of the season.” The Toronto Sun



Kathryn MacLellan

KAZAN Doubles Up at the Waiting Room

Halifax’s award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP continues its 2015 season with Stacey and Liz – an intimate evening of theatre in two acts.

Act one features New Glasgow-born, California-based soprano Stacey Fraser in the Canadian premiere of Concerto Suite from Frida by Roberto Xavier Rodriguez, tracing the life of Frida Kahlo.

Act two features Elizabeth Richardson in her show Going On, counterpointing her struggles as a young actress on tour with Peter O’Toole in the 70s with her later challenges as a Buddhist on a three-year meditation retreat.

“These are true stories, told by two talented performers, about artists who lived a century apart” says Kathryn MacLellan, artistic producer of KAZAN. “Going On is modern story, and Frida is about an eternally modern woman – someone unafraid to cross boundaries to define herself.”

Accompanied by celebrated musician Holly Arsenault on piano, Ms. Fraser’s piece follows the chronology of Kahlo`s life and loves at the turn of the century, in a contemporary style that crosses from theatre to opera. Ms. Richardson returns to Halifax to perform Going On fresh off performances in both Mexico and Stratford.

Acclaimed director Linda Moore, recent Merritt winner for best direction in KAZAN’s production of His Greatness, rejoins KAZAN to direct both solo performances in The Waiting Room.

Stacey Fraser says: “My career has taken me from theatre to opera, from La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York to the Vancouver Symphony. Concerto Suite from Frida holds all that crazy eclecticism together – it’s modern, zany, and wonderful. I’m thrilled and grateful KAZAN has brought this to Halifax.”

Liz Richardson says: “Going On is autobiographical, filled with ups and downs. And as both an actress and a Buddhist, I’ve had my share of both. I can’t imagine a better – or more terrifying – place to perform this piece than at The Waiting Room. My thanks go to Kathryn and Janet.”

Stacey and Liz also features work by Janet MacLellan (set and costume design), Stephanie MacDonald (stage management), Leigh Ann Vardy (lighting design), Holly Arsenault (musical direction and accompaniment), Garrett Barker (projection), Louisa Adamson (production management), Heather MacLellan (marketing), and Kathryn MacLellan (production and choreography).

Stacey and Liz opens Wednesday, July 15 and runs to Sunday, July 19 at The Waiting Room, 6040 Almon Street. Pay-what-you-can preview Tuesday, July 14. Show begins at 7:30PM (doors open at 6:45PM). Runtime: 1 hour and 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Frida is English-language. For tickets: tickethalifax.com (search “Kazan”), The Coast office (2309 Maynard St), or at the door. Regular: $30, student/artist: $20. Six performances only; early bookings encouraged to avoid disappointment. Seating capacity limited to 45. For information: 902-429-1610

KAZAN is grateful to BMO Financial Group and Harvey and Marie Crowell for their support.


Heather MacLellan

Kathryn MacLellan