Fiddleheads Musical Theatre
Chelsea, QC, Canada
Fiddleheads Musical Theatre is a group of energetic, talented performers in the National Capital Region who sing, dance, act and fiddle! The young artists, ranging in age from 5 to 18, produce full-length musical performances in collaboration with professional artists from the region. Fiddleheads Musical Theatre is currently led by Artistic Director Kyle Burghout, an award winning fiddler from Ottawa, ON. Supported by an active Board of Directors, talented and committed local musicians and performers, and an engaged community of volunteers, Fiddleheads Musical Theatre continues to thrive and bring a love of music and theatre to a wide range of audiences across the region. We have maintained a strong membership base since the group’s founding in 2011, a testament to the commitment and engagement of everyone involved.
Fiddleheads Musical Theatre members meet weekly during the fall, winter, and spring terms, coming together to practice and learn new music, develop acting skills, and prepare for performances throughout each year. Each year, we also host a variety of workshops in fiddle, step dance, and stage presence, which provide additional opportunities for our budding artists to acquire new skills, expand their interests and talents, and build their confidence as performers – valuable skills for life.
Fiddleheads Musical Theatre has successfully produced four full-scale musical theatrical performances over the past 6 years... These include:
- Gatineau River Reel (2011)
- Fiddler’s History of Canada (2013)
- Fiddler’s History of Canada II (2014)
- The Sparks Street Ballad (2017)
Our first performance, Gatineau River Reel, was a foot-stompin’, home-grown, historical musical theatre performance to enthusiastic audiences in Chelsea and Wakefield. In 2013, the group performed A Fiddler’s History of Canada, Gordon Stobbe’s masterful musical production about the history of the fiddle in the provinces, territories and cultures of Canada. Gordon Stobbe is a Master fiddler from the East Coast of Canada. In 2014, with financial support from Centre local de developement (CLD), Fiddleheads created and performed The Fiddle History of Canada II, a spirited play adapted by Trish Barclay (the group's founder)which was also based on a narrative and musical arrangements by Gordon Stobbe. The Fiddleheads’ most recent critically acclaimed performance, the Sparks Street Ballad, offered audiences a view on the work of Thomas D’arcy Mcgee in his final months of life in Ottawa as told through the perspective of a children’s fiddling circle, weaving together Canada’s diverse fiddling traditions, cultural and linguistic heritage, and political history. The play was written and directed by Cynthia Sugars with musical direction from James Stephens and Kyle Burghout.
In addition to these large productions, Fiddleheads Musical Theatre is regularly invited to perform fiddle music at fundraising and community events such as the Ottawa Children’s Festival, Great Grannies benefit concert, In Concert for Cambodia, and the annual Angel Share benefit concert. In addition, Fiddleheads has performed at numerous community events such as Canada Day at the Canadian Museum of History, Chelsea Days, the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, as well as performances in local schools and an occasional house party!
Our performances attract audiences of all ages and interests. As experienced by one audience member: “Every province and its flag were represented. A full house of enthusiastic young and old applauded, tapped their feet and hummed to the tunes….but it was like a dream come true to hear all those memorable tunes. I will cherish the memory forever” Huguette Foubert, The Low Down, 2015.
Artistic Director & Fiddle Instructor
Having performed across Canada, the USA, Ireland, Italy, Austria, and Hungary, Kyle has established himself as one of Canada’s best young fiddlers. Kyle and his music have been featured on CBC radio and television, as well as in Irish Music Magazine and The Canadian Fiddler. His many awards include North American Irish Fiddle Champion, runner-up at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship, and a winner of the Canadian Songwriting Competition.
Kyle holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Ottawa, and is also the Co-Director of the Gatineau Hills Fiddle Festival. He has recorded two albums--a solo album in 2017 and an EP in 2015 with trio Branches of Silver.
Fiddle Instructor & Guitar Accompanist
James is known both for his work as a performer and as a producer/recording engineer. In performance, he plays a multitude of stringed instruments with an emphasis on fiddling. He has an abiding interest in various traditional styles, and also works extensively with singer-songwriters. He was the principal songwriter in critically acclaimed pop/roots band Fat Man Waving and has performed with many Ottawa area singer/songwriters such as Lynn Miles, Ian Tamblyn, Melwood Cutlery, and Terry Tufts. James is also a former member of Texas Swing group, The Black Donnellys, and neo-traditional Celtic group, Six Mile Bridge. Currently, he performs with The Brian Pickell Band, Finest Kind, Ecosse (Bobby Watt, Duncan Gillis and Rob Graves), renowned clawhammer banjo player Ken Perlman, and JIIG (James, Ian Robb, Ian Clark, Greg T. Brown) whose self-titled CD won a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2005. James also teaches regularly at fiddle camps throughout Canada and the U.S.
Megan is an Ottawa born and raised actor and drama educator. She received her professional theatre training at Studio 58 in Vancouver after falling in love with theatre creation at Canterbury High School. Megan has travelled across the country for different performance tours and contracts and was most recently seen in Up to Low on the National Arts Centre English Theatre main stage. She is the founder and artistic director of multi-award winning local company Cart Before the Horse Theatre. She has been passionate about acting since she was four years old and is so excited to pass on this passion to her students at OST.
Rebecca Benson is a theatre artist and educator who landed in Ottawa in 2016 after many adventures that took her to Scotland, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Kingston. She has taught drama to children for Ottawa Children's Theatre, Ottawa Acting Company, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, KinderDrama for the Tett Centre for Learning and Creativity and the City of Kingston. This summer she is thrilled to be performing in Bear and Co's A Midsummer Night's Dream with her son.
Ellen Daly (fiddle)
Jane Cory (fiddle)
Karson McKeown (fiddle & guitar)
Trish Barclay (fiddle & theatre)
Past Guest Instructors:
Louis Schryer (fiddle)
Gabor Desmond Hegedus (theatre)
Shane Cook (fiddle)
Pierre Schryer (fiddle)
Julie & Kerry Fitzgerald (fiddle & step dance)
Gordon Stobbe (fiddle)
Natalie MacMaster (fiddle)