Highlands youth theatre company, Ctrl-ARTDel, is bringing its second offering of 2024 – Mustard, to the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton May 2-4.

For those unfamiliar with the play, it is not about the condiment, but a dark comedy that blurs the lines between reality and imagination to save a family from its own destruction.

Kat Sandler is a Canadian playwright who won the 2016 Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding new play for this magical bedtime story about friendship, love, desire, growing up and moving on.

Mustard is an imaginary friend of Thai. The premise of the play is that we are all born with an imaginary friend that sticks around for a few years and then goes away. Thai is 16 and her imaginary friend, Mustard, is still around. The idea is she isn’t able to grow up because Mustard hasn’t moved on. The longer he stays, the more visible he gets, until one day Thai’s mother can see him too. The plot twist comes as Mustard is falling in love with Thai’s mom.

Amy Leis, co-founder of the theatre company, and producer for Mustard, said the play fits right in with the company’s mission to find and present more contemporary and edgy plays.

Leis outlined one of the biggest goals for the company is to provide opportunities for young people to be in positions of creative power.

“Our core six co-founders are in their 20s and 30s. We will be running the show for the next five years but, we are trying to replace ourselves right now so, a big emphasis is on providing education on-stage and behind the scenes,” she said. “This is so young people in this community can see themselves in producing-type roles and directing-type roles.”

They believe that young people need to see themselves, and their world, reflected on-stage. “There are other theatre companies in the area, however they primarily produce older, or more family-oriented content, and we felt there was a gap,” Leis said. “Especially content that was representative of the stories of young people, and teenagers, rather than stories of the past.”

Tim Nicholson is the company’s artistic, and this play’s, director.

“Everybody is saying they really are enjoying it, on-stage and behind the scenes.” He added it is important to have a good tech crew behind every production. “I can’t do anything without the people behind me, supporting me. It is a totally thankless job. People come in who are really interested and care, are dead keen to get it right, and do a good job.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at tickets.ctrlartdel.ca or cash purchase at the door. For ages 14 and up.