Derek Ritschel

Artistic Director - Lighthouse Festival

Derek Ritschel has become one of the most influential artists in the history of Lighthouse Festival. Before becoming the longest serving Artistic Director for Lighthouse, he was a crowd favourite, performing more than any actor in the company’s history

Derek has directed 24 Main Stage Lighthouse productions and has written and premiered three of his own original plays there which have subsequently gone on to be translated into both Polish and Spanish. In total, he has directly participated in close to 1,000 Lighthouse Festival performances in some way. 

Since taking over as Artistic Director, Ritschel has added a community production for local amateur actors to work in tandem with professional artists in the offseason, introduced the One Act Play Festival, expanded the Play Development program which focuses on original Canadian scripts, overseen considerable technical improvements at both Port Dover and Port Colborne locations, witnessed the most successful seasons in the theatre’s 40-year history, and made significant ambassadorial efforts by expanding the theatre’s participation in other community groups and events. 

Two of his biggest achievements as a Canadian theatre artist is welcoming both Showboat Festival Theatre in Port Colborne and Simcoe Little Theatre in Simcoe to the Lighthouse family by reaching out to their respective boards of directors and bringing each company under Lighthouse Festival management. 

Artistic Director Derek Ritschel

Lighthouse Festival Theatre Credits


Heatwave, The Drawer Boy, Mary’s Wedding, Bedtime Stories, Mending Fences, A Christmas Carol, Stranger In Our House, Between Friends, Outlaw, The Foursome, A Pack of Thieves


Perfect Pitch, Rum Runners, Fair and Square


Lunenburg, Sexy Laundry, Educating Rita, Stage Fright, When The Reaper Calls, Knickers, Melville Boys, Harvest, Rum Runners, Self Help, Trying, Corpse!, The Ghost Island Light, Perfect Wedding, Jonas and Barry in the Home, Baskerville; A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Five Alarm, Rumors, Odd Couple, Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii, The Drowsy Chaperone, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Beyond The Sea, Sugar Road, Tip Of The Iceberg, CLUE! The Musical, The Producers

Select Canadian theatre acting credits

A Gift to Last, A Christmas Carol (Theatre Orangeville); Mending Fences (Griffin Theatre, Theatre In Port, Theatre Aquarius); Strawberries In January (Theatre Aquarius); Waiting For Godot (Kytes Theatre); Crackwalker (Spadina Theatre) 


Traders, Prince Street, Glitter, True Crime Scenes, Queer as Folk, Traders, Men With Guns, Silent Hill, Doc 


Derek will be directing The Producers, Mary’s Wedding and acting in the upcoming world premiere of Norm Foster’s Lakefront.