Between Breaths show poster

Between Breaths

November 20 – December 8 2019, Mainspace Theatre


Running Time: 80 minutes
Recommended for ages 15+

Written by Robert Chafe
Directed by Jillian Keiley
Original Music Composed & Arranged by The Once

Factory presents an Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland production

Forty tons of muscle, fat, and bone, launched like a rocket. A Breach. No one’s entirely sure of why they do it. I might be tempted to say it’s nothing if not joy.

Inspired by the true story of Jon Lien – known as the Whale Man – Between Breaths is a profoundly emotional memory play that sails through Lien’s life and the dangerous, death-defying work of saving whales trapped in fishing nets off Newfoundland’s coast. Over his long career, Lien saved over 500 whales and earned the respect of the island’s fishermen, but his biggest fight came at the end of his life as dementia progressively conquered his body and mind.

Featuring an evocative live score by Newfoundland’s Juno-nominated The Once, Between Breaths is a beautiful and poignant play about the parts of ourselves we hold on to after everything else is gone.

Tues – Fri Performances

Regular Tickets: $40
Senior Tickets: $30
Student Tickets: $25
Artsworker Tickets: $25

Sat & Sun Performances

Regular Tickets: $50
Senior Tickets: $40
Student Tickets: $30
Artsworker Tickets: $25

Fans of Come From Away...[you] should make time for the latest from Newfoundland’s acclaimed Artistic Fraud company.

The Globe and Mail


The Telegram (St. John’s, NL)

Deeply moving, intimate, and intense

[Between Breaths] will bring you to tears and leave you in awe

NS Reviews (Halifax, NS)

About the playwright

Headshot image of Robert Chafe. Playwright of Between Breaths

Robert Chafe

Robert Chafe has worked in theatre, dance, opera, radio, fiction and film. His stage plays have been seen in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and in the United States, and include Oil and Water, Tempting Providence, Afterimage, Under Wraps, Between Breaths, and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (adapted from the novel by Wayne Johnston.) He has been shortlisted twice for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and he won the award for Afterimage in 2010. He has been guest instructor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, and The National Theatre School of Canada. In 2018 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the playwright and Artistic Director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland.

About the director

Headshot of Jillian Keiley, Director of Between Breaths

Jillian Keiley

Jillian was the founding Artistic Director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and became the Artistic Director for The National Arts Centre English Theatre in 2012. Her productions at the NAC included Andy Jone’s Tartuffe, Oil and Water, Colony of Unrequited Dreams, A Christmas Carol and Twelfth Night. For The Stratford Festival she directed Alice Through the Looking-Glass, The Diary of Anne Frank, As You Like It, and Bakkhai. She is a frequent collaborator with Robert Chafe and their production for Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, Tempting Providence toured internationally for over a decade. She has directed all but one of Artistic Fraud’s 23 years worth of works. She is the winner of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre and holds two honorary doctorates, from York University and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

About The Once

Image of the 3 members of The Once

The Once

Over the past ten years The Once has been quietly making a name for themselves in their

native Canada. The Newfoundland-based band has collected a trio of Canadian Folk Music Awards, been named Newfoundland & Labrador Art Council’s Artist of the Year and earned a Juno nomination for best Roots/Traditional album. For concert dates or where to find Time Enough (2018), We Win Some We Lose (2016), Departures (2014), This is a Christmas Album (2012), Row Upon Row of the People they know (2011), The Once (2010) visit

Cast & Creative Team

Darryl Hopkins


Steve O’Connell

Jon Lien

Berni Stapleton

Judy Lien

Brianna Gosse


Steve Maloney


Kevin Woolridge


Shawn Kerwin

Set & Costume Designer

Leigh Ann Vardy

Lighting Designer

Brian Kenny

Sound Designer & Technical Director

Sarah Garton Stanley

Additional Dramaturgy

Sharon King-Campbell

Assistant Director

Kellie Walsh

Music Director

Mara Bredovskis

Production Manager & Stage Manager

Patrick Foran

Managing Producer

Mallory Fisher

Associate Producer