This year, next year

This year, next year
"And you might as well try to empty the ocean with a teacup as try to stop it." Brother and sister Kieran More as Harry and Marilyn Nicholas-Dahan as Maggie remember one of their mother's sayings. Photo submitted
Posted on: May 18, 2022

It’s an age old struggle, children needing independence vs parental instincts to protect.  In Studio Theatre Perth’s upcoming production of This Year, Next Year by Norah Harding, this thorny issue is deftly handled with love and compassion.

Norah is a young woman who has met a Canadian soldier in the final days of World War II.  He has proposed to her, but she’s under 21 and needs her mother to sign papers that would allow her to get married.  Maggie, the mother is not receptive at first, so Norah seeks her sisters support, but Ivy her eldest sister, like their mother wants to protect her.

“Ivy is in a time of grief.  She married her high school sweetheart and then he ran off to war and didn’t come back. Her mother tried to warn her but of course she didn’t listen at the time. Meanwhile the Admiralty didn’t want people to know which ships were being sunk so she had to hear about it from the German news, and it was months later before official word was sent to the widows.  So she’s bitter, and grieving and trying to protect her younger sister from the same heartache,” explains Janice Reid, who portrays Ivy, the eldest sister.

The three sisters bicker, tease, laugh, lend each other clothes, and cover for one another – in short they are typical sisters who love and take care of their aging mother.  The characters are so well fleshed out, we get to know their likes, their dislikes, their character flaws and strengths as the play unfolds.  As serious as the subjects are, there is plenty of laughter to be had in this portrait of a family and Harding, a natural playwright, introduces two additional family members that add both humour and hubris into the mix.

“Girlie isn’t evil, she’s just over the top.  She cares about social status and she’d like to be slightly higher class than she is.  She’s bossy and tries not to let her husband say more than three words, but in her heart she means well,” says Norma Cummings, director.

Girlie is Uncle Harry’s social climbing wife and something of a family embarrassment.

“Girlie is a hoot, she’s loud and obnoxious and has no edit button or self-awareness. I’m having a lot of fun with her, I know how she walks and how she looks,” says Joanna McAuley Treffers, who brings Girlie to life on stage.

As the play nears production day, the actors have learned their lines, Bournemouth accents and can dance the jitterbug.  Period costumes are being sourced, hair styles researched, sound effects gathered because soon all the elements will have to come together for this heart warming production.

“For a while I worked with a woman who was a War Bride and her stories intrigued me, which is probably why this story drew me.  I fell in love with the play because it was real, it’s a true story, it’s the author’s story and when I read it, it felt like a real family,” says Cummings.

The play highlights the deprivations of World War II, the dangers people faced on a daily basis, and the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

The play opens on Thursday May 26 and runs May 27, June 2nd, 3rd and 4th at 7:30 pm.  Out of respect for the Perth Night Market there will be three matinees instead of the usual two.  This time, there will be matinees on Saturday May 28, Sunday May 29 and Sunday June 5.  There will be no evening performance on Saturday May 28.

All performances will be held at Studio Theatre Perth on Gore Street. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased at, or by calling 613-485-6434. Tickets are also available at the door.  For more information visit

This Year, Next Year is sponsored by Mariposa Design in Perth.

Article submitted

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News