June 1, 2, 8 & 9 @ 8:00PM
June 3 & 10 @ 4:00PM
Neal Rantoul Blackbox Theatre
Lynn Arts, Lynn, Massachusetts

Guest Blog
EDGES director Catherine Bertrand's
return to Lynn, growing up in theatre,
& her powerful all-female cast

Catherine Bertrand, Edges Director

"[My] empathetic, if not very fiery, drama teacher found me...

asked me if I was okay and said 'I’ll see you at rehearsal...

every day.'"

When I left Lynn almost 20 years to head to undergrad, just down the road in Salem, I swore I’d never come back except to visit my mom. I would go to Salem State and then move on. At the time the city had little to offer so not coming back wasn’t a huge loss. Plus, I had hated so much about high school. Except theatre. I loved drama club. I am one of those kids, specifically a young woman, whose life was saved by theatre. But I had to get out soon after I started high school. And yet, I’ve come back a lot. In the last ten years I’ve attended a number of, what I’ve come to ironically think of as, high school reunions at Cuffe McGinn...yes, the funeral home. And now twenty years later here I am every other night driving past the hills I grew up on and learned to ride a bike on and hide from bullies on my way to rehearsal for Arts After Hours. 

Twenty years later I am driving through a downtown that is unrecognizable and transformed in some areas. 

Twenty years later I am creating a piece of art in a town I swore I’d never come back to for any reason. 

Twenty-one years ago I made a very poor choice at drama club audition and I should have been expelled from high school. A consequence that would have certainly set me upon a very different path. Instead an empathetic, if not very fiery, drama teacher said nothing to the administration. He found me the next day and asked me if I was okay and said “I’ll see you at rehearsal...every day. I’ll call your mother and take care of it.” 

That moment was a definitive edge of my life. I was clearly teetering on a brink that I had a no idea existed. Here’s where I attempt to bring us full circle. 

When Sam asked me to direct for Arts After Hours my instinct was to say no because it would mean coming home - a place full of edges, sharp ones. And I had spent a number of years creating theatre for a small company nearby and getting an enormous amount of pushback after the two older gentlemen who had run this company retired. I wasn’t sure I was up for it. What initially pushed me towards getting on board was Sam’s utmost enthusiasm to gather a team of female artists to lead the way on her first production as Producing Artistic Director of AAH. Gender parity in the theatre is a national conversation that I have been in the midst of for some time; and this opportunity to be an active part of it making it happen was one I couldn’t pass up. 

Over the course of auditions for EDGES it became apparent that we were not going to see the men we would need to fill traditionally male cast roles. Someone commented that we might need to cast all women and I immediately had an iron grip on the idea. The Musical Director, Sarah, and I started working through the vocals to see if it would work. Our callbacks consisted of eight very strong women from whom we knew could cast the four roles. Just before callbacks the conversation started to veer toward “How do we get the men we need?” With a certain amount of frustration and, admittedly hesitation, I put a stop to that. Why did we even have to go in that direction?! Our story, our vision, our throughline was in the callback room! We had a national conversation being represented right here at AAH. We had the chance to offer four women roles. We get to show the community a entirely female cast led by almost an entirely female creative team put up a company led by a woman...this is a unique situation that we couldn’t let pass us by. 

AAH’s production of EDGES is an both an incredible evening of stories sung by a group of brilliant leading ladies as well as symbolic of a world on the edge. Please join us and become a part of this endeavor and this narrative with us!
Catherine Bertrand

June 1, 2, 8 & 9 @ 8:00PM
June 3 & 10 @ 4:00PM
Neal Rantoul Blackbox Theatre
Lynn Arts, Lynn, Massachusetts


Arts After Hours is proud to announce our cast for Pasek & Paul's EDGES:

Catherine Benjamin
Concetta Russo
Krystal Scott
Nicole Viau

Production Dates: June 1-10, 2018

Tickets On Sale Now!


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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Lynn Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.






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