Mermaid Spring

deep co-creation, eco-design & Hustle

Mermaid Spring is a serialized musical in co-creation by designer and performance maker Kyla Gardiner, writer Barbara Adler and musical director/producer James Meger, featuring compositions by Peggy Lee, Leah Abramson and Alicia Hansen. Over three episodes of live theatre, Mermaid Spring will tell the story of Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida - a real-life deep water springs attraction where since 1947, women have donned mermaid tails to perform underwater shows.

From our vantage point in the Pacific Northwest, Florida is chimeric; an unlikely land of working mermaids and orchid smugglers, vanishing plume birds and nursery-bred palm trees, gator wrestlers and engineered swamps. As in British Columbia’s lower mainland, Florida’s unique landscapes and climate inspire environmentally destructive and gentrifying land-use projects. Astonishing ecosystems exist as unsettling hybrids with tacky tourism, development schemes, and agro-business, selling nostalgia for what they will soon displace.

Equal parts pleasure and panic, investigating Florida helps us ask: how is our enjoyment of a place complicit in its destruction?

Supporters: SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, Barking Sphinx Performance, Canada Council for the Arts, The Hamber Foundation, Sawdust Collector.


We invite you to hear music in progress from Episodes 1 & 2, June 8, 2019 at The Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Vancouver.

In Tune Showcase: New Musicals in Development (Touchstone Theatre)

5-7 pm, CBC Studio 700

Double-bill with with Songs for Lifeboats by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille.

More info at Magnetic North Theatre Festival

Featuring Debra-Jean Creelman (voice), Amanda Sum (voice), Emily Millard (voice), Hilary Ison (voice), Lucien Durey (voice), Ashley Aron (voice), Peggy Lee (keys, cello) Gavin Youngash (guitar).

Book & Lyrics: Barbara Adler

Music: Peggy Lee & Leah Abramson, with arrangements by James Meger

Dramaturgy: DD Kugler