• Hannah Sabourin

Local talent takes stage for TaDa!


Rae-Anna Maitland stars in the one-woman production ‘Mayfly’. She will perform on May 29 at La Fab sur Mill. Maitland is one of many participating local performers at the TaDa! Performing Arts Festival May 26 to 29. Courtesy Lindsay Germano

Theatre Wakefield’s TaDa! Performing Arts Festival returns for the first time since 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic halted festival plans.


From May 26 to 29, attendees will be able to enjoy many theatrical performances at Le Fab sur Mill in Chelsea and at the Centre Wakefield La Pêche.


According to festival organizer Andrea Rowe, there is “something for everyone” at this event, which is “created by the community, for the community.” She explained that the festival “features and honours local artists [whose performances] encourage everyone to be themselves.”

Launching the festival on May 26 at La Fab sur Mill is a play called “Bloodline”. In collaboration with Phil Jenkins and Indigenous elder and poet Albert Dumont, it’s a play about the spiritual journey of an Indigenous man.


On May 27, at Centre Wakefield La Pêche, Mary Ellen MacLean will perform a one-woman show entitled “Frankie”. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, MacLean has performed, produced, and directed in theatres around the world, including the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Just for Laughs in Montreal, and the Hong Kong Arts Centre in China. In MacLean’s upcoming performance, where she plays eight different characters, she will tell the story of what happens to Frankie when she goes to her high school reunion.


In a performance for children under the age of 10, Derek McKinley will host “Sing Song Party Time” at the Wakefield community centre. During the show, which takes place on May 28, McKinley said he plans to sing about the importance of protecting the environment. He will also sing about the importance of taking care of one’s health.


On the evenings of May 28-29, four drag queens and one drag king, Aimee Yoncé Shennel, Kashmir Doll, Kimmy Couture, Oliver Twisted and Ruby Foxglove, will take to the Le Fab sur Mill stage. In spectacular outfits, these performers will lip-sync and dance to iconic songs from the world’s greatest divas. Before Yoncé’s May 28 performance, she will host a Q&A session, where guests can ask questions about her art form while she applies her stage makeup.


At the Wakefield community centre on May 29, members of Seniors Create, a group of artists over the age of 60, will perform in a morning performance called “Once Upon Our Time”. Guided by Tedd Robinson, Diane Lemire and Elizabeth Emond-Stevenson, performers will reveal their true selves through a blend of dance, poetry, music, dance, and visual arts.


In “Mayfly”, the final performance of the festival on May 29 at Le Fab sur Mill, Gatineau Hills local Rae-Anna Maitland will tell a contemplative, coming of age story in another one-woman performance; she’ll do so using the mayfly, an aquatic flying insect, as a metaphor.


“This is a play about reaching maturity as a woman,” explained Maitland. Through physical theatre, she said she reflects on the value of artists in society. “I first had the idea for this play during the pandemic when I started to think about how artists were seen as non-essential workers,” she explained.


When Maitland performs this piece, she said she feels that it is “a very vulnerable process. What I’m putting out there are my anxieties — they are woven into the play.”


To learn more about the performance lineup and to buy tickets to the TaDa! Festival, visit tadafestival.net/.