Original musical Love, Peace & Hairgrease is set to delight Dartmouth audiences during its run at Eastern Front Theatre.
The play – from local Tara Taylor – has been a work-in-progress and passion piece for a long time, and it's finally coming in its entirety.
“Tara has been working on this for years through our Emerging Playwright's Unit. She did a great excerpt for STAGES 2021 and then did one at the National Arts Centre through the Black Theatre Workshop's Artist Mentorship Program,” said Eastern Front Artistic Director Kat McCormack.
“It's about a local woman who takes over her grandma's hair salon and the idea there's this locally-made brand new musical here is huge. We don't do these often, especially with a largely Black cast and telling incredible stories like this.”
It's a play about afro-textured hair, and Lauren Johnson, who takes over the salon and renames it Love, Peace & Hairgrease. It's about finding her way and making the spot her own.
“This seemed like a perfect fit. We've moved back to Dartmouth now and we're so lucky that Tara wanted to work with us on this,” she said.
Now that Eastern Front Theatre has returned, it's celebrating a homecoming. McCormack couldn't be happier to be back.
“I'm a Dartmouth girl myself. This area is thirsty right now for arts and culture and it's exciting to have a professional theatre company come back home. We feel an amazing ownership over the space,” she said.
“The theatre at Alderney Landing is Dartmouth's best kept secret. Everything is so nice and this experience has been great. The neighbours are also amazing. People have reached out to welcome us and I truly think this is a place for theatre lovers.”
It's amazing to McCormack that all these incredible things are culminating during the company's busy 30th year.
“It's just so wild. I was talking to the creators of the company the other day and inviting them to opening night,” she said. “I was overcome with the fact that because these three women decided local stories were so important, we're able to put these things on-stage. They've brought quite a legacy forward.”
There's been a huge amount of work to make the production accessible, in every meaning of the word.
“Theatre is expensive to make, but we know art should be for everyone. Accessibility does refer to ideas, mobility, and a wide range of things. That also includes cost. There are sometimes things I want to see and sometimes I can't go due to finances,” she said.
“We have a Pay What You Can Afford option and it's nice to see people choosing from all tiers. We also encourage people to volunteer, as we'll let you watch the show for free that way. If people need to talk about affordability and want to come, I'd also love them to email me.”
McCormack can't wait for people to come in and see Taylor's incredible show, opening Friday.
“We want to open the doors, let people in, and have them hear this incredible story. The talent involved will really strike people. The music is outstanding, and the cast and band are having a great time. There's so much joy and it's a fantastic show,” she said.
“This is a homegrown piece and it's a story of finding your own way through love and familial relationships. I hope people support it and we can't wait to see everyone there.”
Eastern Front Theatre presents Love, Peace & Hairgrease: The Musical from October 21 to 30 at the Alderney Landing theatre.
Ticket information can be found online.