Jeremy Webb just crossed a year at the helm of Neptune Theatre: He received the nationally coveted job last August, helping to walk George Pothitos out—while also handing Eastern Front Theatre to Sam Rosenthal—and settling in on his own in January.
"I've been in this community for 20 years—I moved here in '98, I've worked in this building in a lot of capacities," says Webb, a Brit. "Now I've got this job and get to use it give back a little."
Giving back on this day—a Monday, the theatre person's traditional day off; Webb is planning the 2019-20 season—includes directing an all-local production of Shakespeare in Love, which opened September 4. "It's the first play in a long time that's got an entirely local cast. A few have come home from Toronto to be in the show," he says, "but some people haven't been on this stage for 10 or 15 or ever years. To see that cast in that show on opening night with a big full audience of the local community proved that buying local is exactly the right thing to do."
He's also implemented The Chrysalis Project, offering 10 emerging artists the chance to work on Neptune shows; the four directors will be given a budget to produce their own next year. "That really encapsulates and symbolizes what I want to do with Neptune," says Webb, adding part of his job is also to expand and enhance the company's national presence. "We've always brought in other plays and artists from other places. It's not just stories from Nova Scotia, and not just stories from away, it's both equally."
The mainstage fall season will be rounded out by the drama Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story and Cinderella, adapted and directed by Webb. He's also excited about the second stage production, a co-pro with Eastern Front, of the queer WWII musical KAMP, which opens October 23.
"Neptune may be seen as a big archaic institution at the corner of Argyle and Sackville—yeah it has bricks and mortar all around it," he says. "But it's full of of artists doing their best to make theatre. Everyone in this building is a disturber."