Mission: To engage audiences with stories that represent the history and diversity of our region and its people.
For 57 years, Neptune Theatre has contributed to the cultural, social and economic well-being of Halifax and the province. For generations audiences have delighted in the stories we share on our stages. As we look to the future, under the vision of Artistic Director Jeremy Webb, Neptune Theatre will embark on a journey of creative growth in which audiences will see more work from Atlantic Canadian and Canadian playwrights; stories that represent the diversity of our communities and region; accessible programming so that all can enjoy the experience of live theatre; and increased opportunities for the growth and development of emerging, local artists.
As Neptune moves into a new generation you will see new works that delight you, inspire you and challenge you. We invite you to be a part of an unforgettable theatrical experience.
In the early 1960’s, when a regional theatre was being imagined here in Halifax, some inspiration at that time was taken from the title of a 400-year old play by French settlers “Theatre De Neptune.” It was later proclaimed the first piece of European theatre in North America.
The play depicts the god Neptune bidding the French port’s founders welcome, as they returned from explorations. Members of the Mi’kmaq community participated in the play which included a series of four welcoming speeches by the elders, accepting the sovereignty of the French, which undoubtedly puts into question the authenticity of the scripted representation.
“There is no consensus as to whether this was the case or whether the play was enacted with an all-French cast, as Lescarbot’s script suggests,” writes Kailin Wright. “The historicization of Le Théâtre de Neptune as “Canada’s first play” ultimately threatens to reinforce Euro-colonialist theatre traditions that obscure the Mi’kmaq people’s pre-colonial performative rituals.” *
Four centuries later the imperialist sentiments expressed in the masque led to the rightful cancellation of a re-enactment considered in 2006 for the play’s 400th anniversary by a group of local theatre artists.
While many assume Neptune Theatre is named simply after the god of the ocean, there is clearly a link to this unpleasant moment in history and the piece of ‘theatre’ it spawned.
At this time, Neptune Theatre is examining every aspect of its operations and its legacy. Management is working with a committee, made up of the Board members, staff representatives with a plan to include external community members, to guide this work and to ensure the theatre upholds its vision of better reflecting the community it serves.
We have been using this time to listen, learn, give space and join with colleagues to continue our process and create plans for progressive change.
We have much to do. We have many lessons to learn and we encourage all members of the theatre community to join us in doing the same.
Neptune Theatre’s name and its historical meaning will also be the subject of discussion and investigation.
Neptune Theatre is located on sacred land that has been the site of human activity for over 12,000 years. We are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People, and we acknowledge them as the past, present, and future caretakers of this land.
As artists, we are grateful to work and build community here. As stewards of culture, we are in the process of learning more about how our company can improve our relations with Indigenous People and uphold the values of collaboration and inclusivity in all that we do.
Neptune Theatre is committed to fostering an environment of equity and diversity, and factor this into every decision we make. We encourage submissions from artists of all genders, ethnicities, abilities and identities.
Neptune is also committed to maintaining a positive, harassment-free work culture. Applying artists should be aware that we do not tolerate any form of harassment of our employees, clients, volunteers, or any persons visiting or spending time on its premises.
Neptune Theatre takes part in the Not in Our Space! initiative, a national anti-harassment and respectful workplace collaboration campaign between Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), which seeks to ensure healthy and productive working conditions for all professionals working in live performance across the country.
We are committed to fostering an environment of equity and diversity do not tolerate any form of harassment on our online platforms. A violation could result in being blocked or banned from posting on the theatre’s social media accounts.