Telephone: 604 444-4889
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Fax: 604 444-4119
Niall McNeil has been involved with theatre from an early age through his long association with the Caravan Farm Theatre. As a youngster he performed in Romeo and Juliet, Bull by the Horns, and Strange Medicine.
In 2011 Leaky Heaven and Neworld Theatre co-produced Peter Panties, a play written by McNeil and Marcus Youssef which was performed in the Vancouver Push Festival. Peter Panties won a Jesse Richardson Critics Choice Award for Innovation in theatre.
McNeil loves researching new ideas, writing music and writing plays. Niall also enjoys teaching acting with his friends at the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.
QUOTES OF NOTEKing Arthurâ€™s Night and Peter Panties
Praise for King Arthurâ€™s Night:
â€œEnchanting images, sounds, and words wash over you in King Arthurâ€™s Night â€¦ Take a deep breath and enter another world. Itâ€™s Camelot like youâ€™ve never seen it before. And itâ€™s for everyone. â€¦ A bracingly fresh, radically inclusive take on the Arthurian legends. [The script] is original, poetic, and full of surprises. â€¦ Elements of the story thread in and out in a nonlinear, dreamlike fashion â€¦ The play is a poetic collage of powerful theatrical moments; its dialogue is terse, contemporary, and full of surprising images. â€¦ King Arthurâ€™s Night is a rare opportunity to see what inclusion really looks like â€“ and to let its beautiful sounds and images wash over you. Donâ€™t miss it.â€â€”Kathleen Oliver, Georgia Straight
Itâ€™s â€œCamelot, chromosomally enriched â€¦ [Four of the] actors have Down syndrome, a congenital condition in which an extra chromosome can constrain physical growth, mobility and speech production. None of which in any way impairs their intelligence, ad-libbing wit, [or] performative zest â€¦ Far from merely muddling through an impaired version of their roles, the Down syndrome cast brought a whole new kind of stage presence to the Arthurian legend. Their compact stature and economy of speech and motion lend them a certain density that compels a sharper focus on any scene where they appear. The supporting cast of theatre professionals â€¦ seem almost wispy and insubstantial in contrast. And all of them â€“ chromosomally augmented and neurotypicals alike â€“ are canny enough to play off these contrasts.â€â€”Lincoln Kaye, Vancouver Observer
â€œAn epically imagined work of theatre, a revolutionary act of inclusion, and a moving story of friendship â€¦ The project, created with composer-musician Veda Hille and directed by James Long, doesnâ€™t patronize and it defies preconceptions. â€¦ Mythical, highly musical, and lavishly designed. It is also a rallying cry for change in theatre. But more than anything, itâ€™s an extraordinary story of friendship.â€â€”Georgia Straight
â€œPicture the legend of King Arthur â€˜made fresh for our eyes,â€™ where lovers give birth to an upstart goat, a sixteen-piece choir accompanies phone-recorded melodies, and the cast features actors with Down syndrome.â€â€”Metro Vancouver
â€œA lovingly made adventure â€¦Â a refreshingly diverse reimagining of a well-known story â€¦ King Arthurâ€™s Night weaves together elements recognizable and personal: it is based on Arthurian legend while incorporating elements of the life of McNeil, who also plays King Arthur. â€¦ The characters are lovingly drawn and well-rendered by their actors. â€¦ McNeilâ€™s Arthur is commanding and compelling, both traits juxtaposed by his confident, impatient and humorous dialogue. â€¦ [The songs] are powerful and atmospheric â€¦ Ultimately a play about friendship and loyalty, King Arthurâ€™s Night reflects the long-running partnership of its co-playwrights and invites the audience to share in that warmth â€¦â€â€”The Ubyssey
Praise for Peter Panties:
â€œPeter Pantiesâ€™s frankness and freedom are liberatingly funny â€¦ McNeil and company loosen the corset of Barrieâ€™s Victorian masterpiece and let its flesh hang out. â€¦ McNeilâ€™s syntax is eccentric and his language forceful; the result is poetry. Nowhere is this more exciting than in [Veda] Hilleâ€™s songs. â€¦ The tremendous thing about [this play] is that it acknowledges the audienceâ€™s involvement in creating the theatrical reality. Weâ€™re included. And inclusion is what this show is all about.â€â€”Georgia Straight
â€œIf Veda Hilleâ€™s extraordinarily deviant musical reworking of Peter Pan was noticed by a savvy, Broadway-connected producer there would be little keeping Peter Panties from being a bigger smash than the Rocky Horror Picture Show. â€¦ Hilleâ€™s slithery melodies and punchy rock tracks are fleshed out in the most deliciously lurid fashion by artfully devious lyrics from Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef â€¦â€â€”Toronto Star
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.