Drama, comedy, puppets: Our 2018 lineup has something for everyone

UPDATE (Wed., Oct. 17): We are sorry to report that troupes from two countries have been denied travel documents to enter Canada. The groups from China and the Central African Republic will not be participating in this year’s festival. We have scheduled a replacement show on Sun., Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. for the Chinese troupe. If you have tickets for that show, you can hold on to your tickets and use them for the new show. Or you can exchange those tickets for another show.

We have no replacement for the play from the Central African Republic. If you have tickets for that show, you may exchange them for another performance. Or, you can use your tickets to the China or Central African Republic shows to attend all of our coffee critiques or our social events on Friday or Saturday night at the Liverpool Curling Club. Please contact the Astor Theatre box office at 902-354-5250 or visit the box office to make the change. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we deal with these last-minute developments. (Because of the international nature of our festival, the schedule and lineup are subject to change, depending on individual troupe visa applications and travel issues.)

The 2018 Liverpool International Theatre Festival will still feature many compelling plays from around the world, including a Mexican play featuring puppets with a political message, a Bengali retelling of the Moliere classic The Miser and a sweet, affecting non-verbal play from Liverpool’s own Winds of Change. 

Opening night is Thurs., Oct. 18. The festival runs to Sun., Oct. 21. All plays are at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

Here is a quick look at each of the plays we are pleased to bring you this year. For tickets and all-access passes, visit the Ticketpro link here, or call the Astor Theatre box office at 902-354-5250.


oliver's bench, al steele, drama, theatre, winds of change
Al Steele stars in Oliver’s Bench, by playwright Greg Tutty, an entry from Liverpool, Nova Scotia’s Winds of Change.

OLIVER’S BENCH, Drama, English, All Ages

Winds of Change Society, Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada

Thurs., Oct. 18, 8:30 p.m.

Written by Greg Tutty

This beautifully rendered non-verbal play tells the story of Oliver, a simple, unassuming man who happily spends his days in solitude sitting on a bench in a park beside a lake. A man of routine habits and order, he tries his best to put up walls to protect his safe little world. Despite his best efforts, however, a quirky woman manages to find her way in. Conflict arises as Oliver is forced to adjust to new situations and accept the consequences – both positive and negative – of letting his guard down and trusting a stranger. 

theatre, egypt, litf
An image from The Seven Days, a production by East-Voice for Arts, a theatre troupe from Egypt invited to the 2018 Liverpool International Theatre Festival. (East-Voice for Arts)


THE SEVEN DAYS, Comedy, Arabic, All Ages

East-Voice Group for Arts, Alexandria, Egypt

Fri., Oct. 19, 2:30 p.m.

The play explores colonialism and oppression rampant in parts of the eastern community in general, in the context of black comedy as it focuses on three brothers always in conflict with each other.


LES ANCIENS COMBATTANTS, Compagnie Les Perroquets, Central African Republic

Fri., Oct. 19, 4 p.m.



The Ruins of Talgarth from the Blackwood Little Theatre Company from Wales tells a powerful story of mental illness and abuse.

THE RUINS OF TALGARTH, Drama, English, Adult (14+)

Blackwood Little Theatre, Blackwood, Wales

Fri., Oct. 19, 7 p.m.

Written by Vic Mills

The Ruins of Talgarth tells the story of a female patient, incarcerated and committed by her abusive husband to one of six huge “lunatic asylums” which existed in Wales up until the 1970s.

The play explores issues of gender abuse and misuse of power; it examines historical practices in the treatment of mental health and explores very contemporary issues about mental health, too. 

The play has won numerous awards for its writing, performing, direction and staging. This is a powerful story based on real events concerning the great, great aunt of the playwright.


Resiliencia Fragmentada by Peru’s Cuerpos y Alma theatre company.


Cuerpos y Alma, Lima, Peru

Fri., Oct. 19, 8:30 p.m.

By Cuerpos y Alma (inspired by the works of William Shakespeare), Julia Thays and Sergio Arrau

Resiliencia Fragmentada is a new creation based on three plays: Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Yo Rio by Julia Thays and Ella se llama Micaela by Sergio Arrau. This is the result of two years of research about the reconstruction of the identity of our generation. The play is a game between the audience and the actors who try to understand the social problems in Peru. This troupe won four awards at the 2016 Liverpool International Theatre Festival.


THE SILENT HOUSE, Drama, Farsi/Persian, All Ages 

Iran Saye Theatre, Tehran, Iran

Sat., Oct. 20, 2:30 p.m.

Written by Mehdi Mashhour

A story of immigration and being caught between two worlds. Marjaneh is leaving Tehran for New York and Reyhaneh is leaving New York for Tehran. They can’t decide whether to go or stay. Reyhaneh is 28. She was born in Tehran. Her family immigrated to New York when she was 13. Now, she lives in Tehran but she often thinks of New York. Reyhaneh is torn between her home country and her adopted city. Marjaneh is a 35-year-old woman. She lives in Tehran with her husband and she wants to leave for New York. She is pregnant and eager to give birth to her daughter in New York. Marjaneh believes her child will have a better life in America.



IATA Nepal, Lowell, Mass.

Seto Putalli tells the story of a man trying to save enough money for his daughter’s tuition.

Sat., Oct. 20, 4 p.m.

Written by Rajan Upreti

There is an old saying in Nepal that elders tell their children, “Don’t kill butterflies as they are spirits of your ancestors.” This story follows a simple, hardworking man from Doti, Nepal, who works as a cremator in a temple. Coming from a low-­caste background, Gole struggles to put food on the table and pay for his daughter’s tuition. Even though Gole works as a cremator only as a side job, each body that is cremated brings him one rupee closer to what he needs to keep his daughter in school. Gole’s daughter Putali (Butterfly) is not only his pride and joy but he truly believes she is his grandmother, reincarnated in this life. Everything he does in life, he does it for her. Gole has a ritual of releasing a butterfly every time he cremates someone’s body. He believes a butterfly captures the soul of the dead and guides it to heaven. As sad as the ritual is, he also knows that with every butterfly he releases, he is earning more money for his daughter’s tuition.


AMÁNDONOS, Comedy, Spanish, All Ages

En Movimiento, Mexico City, Mexico

Sat., Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

Written by William Shakespeare and Jose Martinez Queirolo

AmándoNOs is a staging inspired by texts by the Ecuadorian writer José Martínez Queirolo and William Shakespeare. The work is divided into two parts, each centred on a particular couple, so different but so similar. In the first part, we find an old Romeo and Juliet after years of marriage, now lamenting the state of unhappiness in which they live. In the second part, a modern couple of millionaires regain consciousness after death to discover that they continue to exist in another plane and remain united in the superficiality, indifference and lack of values that distinguished them in life.


KANJOSH (The Miser), Comedy, Bengali, All Ages

Loko Natyadal, National Centre of IATA/AITA, Bangladesh

Sat., Oct. 20, 8:30 p.m.

Written by Moliere

Haider Ali Khan is 60 years old and spends most of his time hoarding money and devising ways to reduce or avoid paying household expenses. He has one son Kajim Ali Khan and one daughter Laily Begum. Kajim falls in love with Morzina, who is a neighbour. Laily falls in love with their male servant Badiuzzaman after he saved her from drowning. 

The miser Haider reveals that he has chosen his best friend Aslam Beg, who is 50 years old, as Laily’s future husband and he has selected a widow for Kajim to marry. Meanwhile, Haider plans to marry Morzina, who is the beloved of his son Kajim.

The plot reaches a climax when another male servant of Haider’s named Lal Miah steals a money jar in the garden and secretly gives it to Kajim. Meanwhile, it is known to everybody that Badiuzzaman is the beloved of Laily, and Morzina is the beloved of Kajim. Badiuzzaman and Morzina are the children of Aslam Beg. That means both friends, Haider and Aslam, plan to marry their son’s beloved.


A performer from the troupe Compania de Teatro Itinerante from Mexico.

MORONITAS (Debris in my Heart), Drama, Spanish, All Ages

Compania de Teatro Itinerante, Mexico City, Mexico

Sun., Oct. 21, 2:30 p.m.

Written by Ricardo Castro Mendoza

Moronitas tells the tragedy of the earthquake in Mexico on Sept. 19, 2017, and the humanitarian work and acts of kindness or greed that followed. This project arose as a result of looking for a way to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake, seeing the situation through the eyes of a child, an old man, a woman and a foreigner who gather in the weeks after the earthquake. The play pays tribute to the rescuers, to the citizens who donated food, to the foreign aid bodies who traveled to help in the rescue work. It also documents the people who took advantage of the tragedy to instill fear in the population and to misuse resources. With a message of hope, this troupe tried to serve and help. Living only 40 kilometres from the epicenter of the earthquake, troupe members witnessed the events of the 2017 disaster. Using puppets, they interacted with the public to break down psychological barriers, especially among children, who were traumatized by the earthquake. This production debuted in October 2017 in one of the many emergency shelters for victims in Jujutla, Morelos.


Chinese Culture and Art Club of Nova Scotia, Dance/Opera, All Ages

A performer with the Chinese Culture and Art Club of Nova Scotia.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sun., Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

The Chinese Culture and Art Club of Nova Scotia will perform a set of eight numbers, including Chinese classical dance, Chinese ethnic and folk dance, Chinese folk music with traditional Chinese instruments, and Chinese Opera. This group has performed at many cultural festivals around the Maritimes. 

**This is a replacement show for the Yue Diao Opera Troupe, whose members were denied entry into Canada. If you have tickets for the Yue Diao troupe, those will be honoured for this show. Or, you can exchange them for another show. You can also use them instead to attend our morning-after coffee critiques or our social events on Friday or Saturday night at the Liverpool Curling Club.**

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