By Jerelyn Craden
Without hoopla or fanfare, something momentous took place on March 31/April 1 at the
Northern Lights Pavilion – the launch of Haliburton’s new millennial-based theatre company,
Ctrl-ART-Del, its world premiere of Cherubs, a wickedly dark comedy by British playwright, Toby
McShane, and the directorial debut of local veteran theatre actor and producer, Tim Nicholson.
“I’ve been working in theatre a long time,” Nicholson said, “the last few years primarily in
Haliburton, and I noticed that the young people cast in major roles in the county were from out
of town. Young locals weren’t being given opportunities to be on stage. Getting older, I realized
the need for younger people to be able to step into my shoes when I decide not to work on
Last July, Nicholson felt compelled to do something about it. He drew together a group of
young talented local actors: Amy Leis, Andrew Case, Kelsey Crowe, Alexander Kocot and
Hannah Klose who, with himself as Artistic Director and mentor, founded Ctrl-ART-Del in
Haliburton. The new theatre company’s name springs from the action of pressing three
computer keys together to reboot an operating system: Ctrl-ALT-Del. The company’s goal is to
hit refresh/restart on theatre in the county by producing contemporary works centered on
young and working age adults as cast, crew, and audience.
“We want to promote contemporary theatre,” Nicholson said. “Anything written after 2010,
very current. We’re looking for new works, published/unpublished pieces. We’re willing to
workshop. We’re talking about doing scene study and character workshops over the course of
the summer for people who want to get involved and don’t know how to get started.”
Straight from their website at: www.ctrlartdel.ca, Theatre at its best is made up of innovative
new ideas. It pushes the envelope and challenges the status quo. And that’s exactly what the
team delivered with their first production of Cherubs. Fresh, edgy, performed with high energy
and comic panache, four young actors: Kelsey Crowe, Alexander Kocot, Amy Leis, and Andrew
Case brought it home.
In an old farmhouse set amongst the hedgerows of Southeast England, (set, designed and built
by Nicholson) two disgraced angels, Montmartre and Gottlieb, plot to get back into Heaven.
However, their negligence puts them at loggerheads with a new supervisor, Screwtape.
An attempt to cover up a serious act of unscrupulous bureaucratic behavior puts Montmartre
and Gottlieb at risk of permanent exile, but Screwtape’s self-interest offers them a lifeline. If
successful, her scheme could return all three to Heaven. If not, it could totally wipe out
humanity. The scheme – blackmail God.
Amy Leis who developed the character of ultra buttoned-down, Screwtape, in a U.K. workshop
of McShane’s early script, delivered a stand-out performance capturing every comical nuance
on the palette.
Andrew Case as Jasper, rounded out the fine comic performances in the four-hander play, with
Kelsey Crowe (as Montmarte) and Alexander Kocot (as Gottlieb) setting the tone from lights up
to sparking McShane’s edgy comedy throughout. Nicholson’s direction impressed, and as
Artistic Director, producer and founding member, he has pointed Ctrl-ART-del in the right
direction – toward a future of fresh, cutting-edge, contemporary shows made by and produced
for young and working-age adults who will get their chance to come aboard and take the stage!
Behind the scenes support was provided by: Sandy Slote, Stage Manager, Hannah Klose and
Kendra Korpela, Assistant Stage Managers, Tasha Willis, Lighting Technician, and Front of House
Team: Emily Klose, Jennifer Jackson-Korpela, and Quinn Salverda.
For more Ctrl-ART-Del information, news, and opportunities visit: www.ctrlartdel.ca