Co-founders of Kitbag Theatre (l-r): Melissa MacKenzie, Jacob Hemphill and Rebecca Paren

Kitbag Theatre Company

New PEI company makes “theatre you can carry with you”

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PEI’s newest theatre company, Kitbag Theatre, is co-founded by Island theatre professionals Jacob Hemphill, Melissa MacKenzie and Rebecca Parent. Their goal is to create, produce and present professional theatre year-round, with a commitment to hiring locally, and investing in the Island’s artistic community. They provide accessible, professional theatre to Islanders, believing it can be a transformative experience for everyone.

Kitbag first appeared on the Island theatre scene with their production of Tuesdays & Sundays at North Rustico’s Watermark Theatre in November 2020. “It was clear that Islanders were itching to get back out to the theatre,” shares Parent. “It was important to us that neither the content of the piece, nor the ticket pricing be an obstacle for audience members.”

For the company’s founders, the mandate of accessibility goes beyond ticket pricing. “Accessibility to us means meeting the needs of our community, whether it be financial, physical, or educational,” explains MacKenzie. “We are seeking to foster a safe and exciting theatrical experience for everyone—and we’re learning as we go!”

Another goal for these three young artists is to provide year-round theatre in their home province. “We want Island audiences to see Islanders performing on stage,” says Hemphill, “Not only to showcase the immense talent that exists here, but to demonstrate to young Island artists that they don’t need to leave PEI to share their art and their stories.”

Kitbag is already producing four shows so far in 2021—three in April alone. Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World runs at the end of March, followed by The Princess & the Handmaiden for young audiences by Leslie Arden in April. MacKenzie’s cabaret good girl and Final Wave: A Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre (written by Parent) will also take place in April. Kitbag plans to remount Tuesdays & Sundays in the coming months.

Kitbag Theatre shows at a glance:

Songs for a New World at Trailside Music Hall, March 30–31 at 8 pm.

The Princess & the Handmaiden at Trailside Music Hall, April 10–11 and 17–18 at 2 pm.

good girl at Trailside Music Hall, April 20 and 21 at 8 pm.

Final Wave: A Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the Delta Prince Edward, April 23–24 at 7:30 pm.