25th Street Returns Home for the Holidays with Fruitcake

*Video by Matthew Olson

25th Street Theatre is synonymous with the annual Saskatoon Fringe Festival but, its roots run much deeper, and this holiday season the company is returning to its origins with a brand-new play; Heather Morrison’s Fruitcake on the BackStage Stage at the Remai Arts Centre.

Executive and Artistic Director Anita Smith is excited about 25th Street’s return to the stage after a 22-year break. (Photo Provided)

“25th Street Theatre is the oldest professional theatre company in Saskatoon and is interwoven into the fabric of the Saskatchewan theatre scene,” says Artistic and Executive Director Anita Smith. “As an organization, we were built from many peoples’ strength and thanks to financial support from the Robert Steane Funds for the Arts, we can now step back onto the stage for the first time in 22 years.”

Morrison was inspired by a news story about a family that kept a fruitcake as an heirloom. (Studio D Photography)

Sticking to supporting local talent, 25th Street’s return has chosen Fruitcake by Saskatoon playwright Heather Morrison with production dramaturgy by Lenore Claire Herrem. It’s the story of a family who’s lost its matriarch and is trying to find a way through the holidays without her.

“It’s about a loss of traditions and a search for understanding and love.”

“It’s about a loss of traditions and a search for understanding and love,” says Morrison. “I was inspired by a Globe and Mail article about a fruitcake that a family had passed down for 137 years. The story of generational loss really hit me, and the fruitcake became a rock-hard reminder of what we leave behind.”

The loss of their mother isn’t the only complication this family faces; Si has recently come out as trans-femme but her father has asked her to go back in the closet “just for the holidays”, Jill and Michael are struggling with infertility while their sister-in-law carries her new baby around on her hip, and newly widowed Henry just wants it all to be over so he can go back to his regular visits at the coffee shop.

Actor Lenore Claire Herrem plays “Katie” and also worked as dramaturg for Fruitcake. (Photo Provided)

Actor Lenore Claire Herrem serves as the dramaturg for Fruitcake and worked closely with Morrison to develop the show. She says this production is important and refreshing in both storytelling and casting.

“At first glance, this is a Christmas story but once you’re invested in the play, it becomes much more”

“At first glance, this is a Christmas story but once you’re invested in the play, it becomes much more,” Harrem explains. “The backbone of the play is the coming out story of a young trans person, and the obstacles presented at the often-difficult holiday season. It’s actually less about coming out of the closet and more about granting your loved ones the privilege of being let in.”

“At its heart, Fruitcake is about acceptance,” Morrison says, “When we can meet people where they are at and understand who they truly are, then we can have the loving relationships that make life so rich.”



Dec. 8th – 19th

BackStage Stage – Remai Arts Centre

Tickets – Pay What You Can $16/$26/$41

For more information & tickets, follow this link.