How Leif became lucky

Diane Crocker
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Youth instructor pens play for winter carnival show

Adam Brake (back) of Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s youth theatre’s winter carnival dinner theatre, watches over a rehearsal with actors (from left) Mira Buckle, Jack Regular and Samantha Thorne. — Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star

 When Adam Brake was tasked with handling Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s (TNL) winter carnival production he decided to do something a little different.

“I was trying to think of something that related back to TNL and back to Corner Brook,” said Brake, an instructor with the group’s youth theatre program.

“I wanted to do something about winter carnival. I thought if TNL was going to do a winter carnival show, it’d be nice for us to have a little comment on winter carnival or do something related to it.”

So in October, the director also became the playwright. He had been interested in Leif the Lucky and, when looking for the story behind the carnival icon, decided to make up his own story about Leif’s journey.

“The big arc I was looking for was that Leif the Lucky didn’t realize he was lucky until he got to Corner Brook,” said Brake. “Because Corner Brook is such an awesome place to live and all the people here are so wonderful.”

The result was “Leif the Unlucky.”

The dinner theatre for children, presented by TNL and Louis Gee’s, will be staged at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on Saturday.

For those involved, Brake said it will be their Broadway premiere.

He said the script for “Leif the Unlucky” is very much geared toward children.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s very slapsticky, children’s theatre kind of stuff.”

The show actually features two Leifs — an older version played by Stuart Simpson from the Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland’s theatre program, and young Leif as portrayed by Aaron Bryne.

The setup for the show is that Old Leif is being interviewed by Tom Cochrane of

The majority of the cast and crew come from the youth theatre program, and Brake said they’ve really taken ownership of the production.  

“When I finished writing the play, I was feeling like there’s something missing. There was always something missing,” said Brake. “When I got into the first rehearsal that thing I realized (was missing) was their imagination and their voice, which I had no idea would bring so much to the words that I’d written.

“When you put it in the kids’ hands they make it come to life.”

That’s helped him create the kind of experience he wanted for his students — an experience he once had as a member of TNL’s youth theatre.

“I believe the youth theatre program is such an important part of what TNL does,” he said. “It creates artists. I think that’s an important thing for TNL to be a part of.”

There’ll be two sittings for the pizza dinner theatre, one at 1 p.m. and a second at 4:30 p.m. The deadline to purchase tickets is today and they can be obtained by calling 639-7238.


The Western Star

Organizations: Palace Theatre on Broadway on Saturday.For, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Broadway, Western Star

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