BROADSIDE BALLADS & PENNY DREADFULS – Lighthouse Festival presents Ian Bell’s Printmaking Show & Opening Reception

Ian Bell’s Printmaking Show Opens at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre on February 18th

Port Dover, ON – February 10, 2024 – Using a 1906 printing press and a collection of antique wooden and metal type, local artist Ian Bell combines old technology with his own wood engravings and linocuts to create new artworks inspired by the broadsides and street literature of the early 1800s. These are now on exhibit at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover.

The show takes music as its main theme, and features illustrated “broadsides” of songs written by Ian. (Who is also well known as a folk musician and songwriter) These works are in the style of the song sheets that were hawked on the streets by ballad sellers in the 19th century – with hand-set lead type, and are illustrated with Ian’s wood engravings. Some were printed on Ian’s 1906 “Pearl” printing press; others were done on a 70 year-old Nolan proof press.

In addition to the broadsides, some songs are presented in tiny hand-stitched chapbooks (“Penny Dreadfuls”) – also printed with handset type and woodcut illustrations. The show also includes other musically themed linocuts and wood engravings.

Art Gives New Life to Old Technology

Much of the type and equipment used in the printing of Broadside Ballads & Penny Dreadfuls has come from the dark corners of local weekly newspaper offices who moved on from letterpress technology in the 1970s. The 1906 Pearl press and drawers of 19th century wooden type were rescued from the Cayuga printshop of the Haldimand Advocate (now the Haldimand Press) just days before the building was demolished in 2022. Other type, borders, and useful pieces of printing equipment were generously supplied by the Port Dover Maple Leaf. Still more has come from yard sales, barns, and flea markets across southwestern Ontario. A few examples will be on display along with the art.

The Printmaking Show opens with a reception on February 18th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at Lighthouse Festival Theatre, located at 247 Main Street in Port Dover. It will remain at the theatre throughout the 2024 season.

For more information on Ian Bell’s artwork, please visit his website at

Media Contact

For media inquiries, cast interviews and further information, please contact:

Don Kearney-Bourque,
Marketing & Communications Manager
Simcoe Little Theatre & Lighthouse Festival
Direct: (226) 290-0070
Cell: (289) 541-7410