CBC Information Morning

Post Date: May 21/14

Adele Warner and Joanie Cunningham were on CBC Information Morning today!


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Tortoise & The Hare

Post Date: Apr 16/14

The Tortoise & The Hare

The classic tale of the Tortoise & Hare is retold in a very weird way by our very own Mr WeirdBeard! Shelly the tortoise, Chase the hare, Ms Jazzy Bear the music teacher, and Iggy the sly salesman …. all part of the Big Race. There are a few distractions along the way and a big surprise waiting at the finish line! Curious? You'll have to come to the show and see for yourself. Just be prepared for some great music and maybe even a sing-along!


Boardmore Playhouse

 – Friday … May 23, 7pm 
 – Saturday … May 24, 2pm
 – Sunday … May 25, 2pm


Ticket Information

CBU Playhouse Box Office 563-1652
The box office will open one week prior to performances and during the week of performances. 1:00pm to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and one hour before show time.
General Seating for all plays.
$12.00 general, $8.00 students and seniors, $6 CBU students


Mr WeirdBeard

The Evolution of…  Mr WeirdBeard started as a green puppet, four-feet tall, with an orange beard that could float around on its own.  This time, we decided to go with something that looked more like this guy.  So, in the summer of 2013, this graphic was sent to Out Of The Box Puppets in Texas who built our new Mr WeirdBeard.   He arrived in Cape Breton a few months later, complete with a fuzzy beard and a star at the end of his hat.




WeirdBeard recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Culture Division to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.


WeirdBeard sends out a huge Thank You to Seaside Communications for helping WeirdBeard realize the potential and talent of our puppeteers!


WeirdBeard has been camped out at the former Holy Angels High School since January… singing songs, practicing with puppets and pulling our show together.  Thank You New Dawn for helping our Troupe!

Community Donation

Post Date: Feb 05/14

The WeirdBeard Troupe receives a $500 donation from the RT. HON. Vicent Massaey CH Chapter IODE (money raised from their "Autumn Treasures Art Show).


IODE Donation

In photo back row: Ninja's Maggie Musgrave, Emily Musgrave Middle row: IODE member Stephanie Gouthro, WeirdBeard.org producer and founder Joanie Cunningham, Mary Frances Brennick. Front row: Cast members (Left to Right) Chad Edwards, Jonathan Vassallo, Adele Warner, Jillian Dunn and Emma Wilson.


Next production is "The Tortoise & The Hare" opening in May 2014!

WeirdBeard Troupe looking for new members and volunteers

Post Date: Sep 16/13

Our Troupe made it in our local newspaper…



WeirdBeard is Back!

Post Date: Sep 09/13

Sydney, NS, Canada
September 9, 2013


WeirdBeard is back!


The WeirdBeard volunteers have been hard at work on our new show since the fall of 2012. A new script has been written, new puppets have been made, and new music has been recorded. But we still need more of everything to get the show ready.


If you have ever considered being part of this very dynamic troupe, come to our next open meeting and talk to our members. We will have some of the new puppets on hand, and will play the first song recorded for the new show!


We are especially hopeful that folks living large with Down Syndrome would like to join our troupe – we need you!


   When: September 18, 2013 from 6pm until 8pm
   Where: The former Holy Angel High School in Sydney, main entrance.
   Why: To get your giggle on


Notice that the meeting is being held at the former Holy Angels High school? New Dawn Enterprises, the community development organization, has recently purchased the site and will be drawing up plans in the coming months to create a center for arts, culture and innovation and are happy to have us on board. Soon they'll have a website and social media presence to keep up to date on the project, but for now, stop by to see the space we're calling home!


For more information, please contact
Joanie Cunningham
Founder, WeirdBeard Troupe Society



WeirdBeard Troupe Society is a group of creative and passionate volunteers who have come together to produce theatrical experiences using life-sized puppets in blacklight. Our puppeteers are youth and adults with Down Syndrome and their families. In April, 2012, our inaugural production of The Three Little Pigs opened to sold-out audiences at the Cape Breton University Boardmore Playhouse. A second run of the Three Little Pigs was just as successful, playing to local school children, as well as the general public.


New Dawn Enterprises Limited, incorporated in 1976, is the oldest Community Development Corporation in Canada and is a Founding Member of the Canadian CED (Community Economic Development) Network. It is a private, volunteer directed business dedicated to community building. New Dawn seeks to identify community needs and to establish and operate ventures that speak to those needs.






Information Morning Cape Breton

Post Date: Apr 22/13

Hi All

We are nearing our performances of The Three Little Pigs.  Nicole MacLennan from CBC Information Morning Cape Breton attended one of our rehearsals.  She watched our troupe and talked to our performers and a few other folks.  Here is the resulting story: 








CBC Information Morning

Post Date: Dec 20/12

An interview with Steve Sutherland on CBC'c Information Morning, Dec 19.  








WeirdBeard Live Puppet Show Coming Soon

Post Date: Apr 12/12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Sydney, NS, Canada | April 12, 2012 – It's here!  WeirdBeard Troupe is launching their first black-light puppet show – The Three Little Pigs – at the CBU Boardmore Playhouse.  This theatrical experience features life-size puppets in black-light. The puppeteers are youth and adults with Down Syndrome and their families.


This unique adaptation of the Three Little Pigs includes lots of great music, including five full-length songs.  Two songs were written and produced by local musicians, including Billie Yvette, Jalen Borden, Jamie Foulds, Albert Lionais, Monica MacNeil, and Jim Guy.  A third song was written and produced by New York musicians Joseph Langham and Robert Huott.  The score also includes music from the ECMA award-winning CD Timeless Lullabies, and Calgary blues musician John Rutherford and the Highwater Jug Band.


The Three Little Pigs, DJ Jazzy Hogg, Beoinkse Hogg, and Mick Hogg, each try to build their own houses, only to be interrupted by the ukulele-playing BB Wolf.  Their story is narrated by Mr. WeirdBeard, who happens to have a very weird beard!  


A special event will take place after intermission where the audience will dawn fake beards and sing "If Your Happy and You Know It," in an attempt to set a world record for the most people wearing a fake beard and singing a song at the same time!  


This 1-hour show opens Friday, April 27, 7:00pm at the CBU Boardmore Playhouse.  A second showing will be Sunday, April 29 at 2:00pm.


Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for children and students, and can be purchased through the WeirdBeard website:  www.weirdbeard.org


WeirdBeard Troupe is a group of creative and passionate volunteers who have come together to nurture and showcase the talents and abilities of individuals in our community with Down Syndrome.  The production is made possible through sponsors RE/MAX Park Place, Wendy McElmon Photography, The Winning Shot Photography and Design, Mayflower Dental Group, The Cape 94.9, Cape Breton District Health Authority – Northside The Lakes Health Board, The Boardmore Playhouse, De.A.F. Audio, Kyle MacDonald, and many others.






CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton

Post Date: Dec 16/11

Wendy Bergfeld, from CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton interviewed me this moring.  We talked about many different aspects of our troupe.


The intervied aired and can be heard here:  http://www.cbc.ca/mainstreetcb/blog/2011/12/16/the-weirdbeard-puppet-troupejoannie-cunningham/






WeirdBeard Troupe Launches Theatre Society

Post Date: Dec 11/11

Media Release: April 18, 2011


Sydney, NS – There is a new light (black light to be exact) about to focus on CBRM. The WeirdBeard Black Light Theatre troupe will hold its inaugural meeting Tuesday, April 26 at 7pm at the McConnell Library in Sydney. The troupe plans to produce an adapted version of The Three Little Pigs, featuring life-size puppets and lots of great music. Persons with Down Syndrome, who are interested in joining the group, are invited to attend this first Meet and Greet Session to learn more about the troupe and its mandate.


Organizers believe a theatre program will provide a sense of community, purpose, and fun for members. The black light format offers many opportunities to participate onstage or behind the scenes. The first meeting will provide the opportunity for persons with Down Syndrome and their families to meet the WeirdBeard organizers and learn more about the theatre program and how they may be able to participate.


Founding Member, Joanie Cunningham hopes the Down Syndrome community will want to join the society, “WeirdBeard Theatre is based on the renowned Famous PEOPLE Players, located in Toronto. Our participants will help develop the production, will work together to bring it to the stage, and will celebrate their accomplishments in the “big pay off” at the end by performing the show for the public.” Cunningham’s reasons for developing the program begin with her family, “My son, Nico, was born with Down Syndrome about 2 years ago. Since then, our family has had so much fun, so many belly laughs all the time. His outlook on life, already present at this early age, is truly enviable. I am hoping that the community we are pulling together will have just as much fun and will see this as an opportunity to be wildly creative as we work together to put on a fun show.”


The first Meet and Greet is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 2011 from 7 – 9 pm in the Program Room of the McConnell Library in Sydney. All ages are welcome. A second meeting will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2011 from 12 – 1pm also at the McConnell Library.