Lighthouse Festival has announced it will be taking a giant stride forward in its artistic leadership. Celebrated and veteran actor/director Jane Spence has been appointed as Lighthouse Festival’s first Artistic Associate.
With guidance from Artistic Director Derek Ritschel, Spence joins the theatre as no stranger to the Lighthouse Festival community. Patrons will remember her from many past productions, including acting in 2010’s When the Reaper Calls and Norm Foster’s The Melville Boys. She was the Assistant Director for 2017’s First Name Basis, workshopped Hurry Hard with Kristen Da Silva in 2018, performed in Beyond the Sea through 2021 and most recently directed 2022’s fan-favourite production of Norm Foster’s Halfway There.
“In many ways, Jane has always been with Lighthouse,” shares Ritschel. “I have brought her to our theatres as an actor, director, and dramaturge without hesitation. Bringing her in to help Lighthouse with our artistic future is one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made as Artistic Director.”
Spence will work closely with Ritschel to propel Lighthouse Festival forward and enhance its product for patrons while fostering and promoting the Canadian theatre industry. On top of the day-to-day contributions and focus on play development, she’ll also be directing two productions for the 2023 summer season: the world premiere of On the Air by Ephraim Ellis and Where You Are by Kristen Da Silva.
We sent Jane over five questions to help introduce her to patrons:
Where might Lighthouse Festival patrons remember you from?
“I first performed at Lighthouse in 2010 in two shows that season: When the Reaper Calls, and The Melville Boys by Norm Foster. I was the Assistant Director on First Name Basis by John Spurway in 2017 and I workshopped Hurry Hard by Kristen Da Silva in 2018. A few years later I performed in Beyond the Sea by Kristen Da Silva and most recently I was the director of Norm Foster’s Halfway There this past summer.”
What will be your role as the Artistic Associate?
“For the summer of 2023 I will be directing two productions: the world premiere of On The Air by Ephraim Ellis and Where You Are By Kristen Da Silva. I will also be focusing on new play development, generally contributing where I can and learning about all aspects of running a theatre.”
What was your initial reaction when Derek Ritschel approached you about this position?
“I was elated that he invited me to join this amazing team! It is a dream come true for me. As Theatre Artists we spend most of our careers working in many different places for short periods of time, Lighthouse is giving me a theatre to call home.”
As a theatre artist, what draws you to Lighthouse Festival?
“I have always admired the vision, passion and dedication with which Derek and the rest of the Lighthouse family run their theatres and I have witnessed Lighthouse grow enormously since 2010. A rehearsal hall has been built, many renovations to the theatres have been made, and Lighthouse has acquired 2 more venues. These are massive accomplishments that wouldn’t be possible with out the hard work of that incredible team and the support of the audience and funders who recognize value of the entertainment Lighthouse provides, and of course the community that it brings together.”
What do you see for the future of Lighthouse Festival?
“I see Lighthouse continuing in the direction Derek has been guiding it. The home of comedies with heart. A place where new Canadian works are created and premiered. A place where you are guaranteed to laugh and be moved. A place where great memories are made.”
Learn more about the plays Jane Spece is directing next summer by clicking the buttons below: