For Immediate Release: Lighthouse Festival presents Murder at Ackerton Manor as the second production of the 2024 summer season

Production runs from June 12 to 29 in Port Dover and from July 3 to 14 in Port Colborne

June 3, 2024 – Port Dover, ON | Lighthouse Festival is thrilled to announce its 2024 summer theatre production, Murder at Ackerton Manor, a murder-mystery comedy written and directed by acclaimed Canadian playwright Steven Gallagher, as its second production of the season. This side-splitting, suspenseful play promises to keep audiences on the edge of their seats and rolling in the aisles from June 12 to 29 in Port Dover and from July 3 to 14 in Port Colborne.

Steven Gallagher brings his latest creation to life with an exceptional cast and crew. “In the case of Murder at Ackerton Manor, I feel like I understand this genre very well, and I know how I want it to be played,” says Gallagher. “I wrote this play for my mom. It’s an homage to the first summer stock plays she brought me to and to all the Agatha Christie novels she had stuffing our bookshelves. My goal is to combine my love of murder mysteries with my love of Mel Brooks, and I hope audiences enjoy the ride along the way!” 

Murder at Ackerton Manor writer and director Steven Gallagher.

The play features a talented ensemble cast, each of whom play multiple roles. Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski, who takes on the character of Curtiss, among others, is excited about the production’s many roles. “I’m a simple man who loves doing silly voices, and switching between them is just like learning a dance, a knitting pattern, or driving stick. The real challenge with playing multiple characters is making sure I’m not having so much fun with the silly voices that I forget to think about them as real people.” Shepherd-Gawinski was last seen on the Lighthouse stage in 2023’s groundbreaking production of Bed and Breakfast, which received rave reviews from patrons and theatre critics alike.

Andrew Scanlon, who portrays Roger Ackerton and other characters, echoes this sentiment. “Steven is an old friend and one of my favourite theatre artists to collaborate with. Much like the work he creates, he is thoughtful, creative and incredibly funny. When he invited me to join the company of his joyful, original, zany play at Lighthouse, I immediately jumped at the chance!”

Eliza-Jane Scott rounds out the cast as Ariadne Ackerton and various other roles, demonstrating remarkable adaptability and humour. “The comedy aspects of the play definitely drew me to this role,” says Scott. “It’s such a fun and zany comedy….it’s absurdity at its best and I so love comedy!” Her performance is sure to captivate and amuse!

Maquette of the set for Murder at Ackerton Manor designed by Megan Cinel.

The story of Murder at Ackerton Manor is set in a gothic manor with a dark past. The plot thickens as secrets are unveiled, and the body count rises. With its blend of mystery and comedy, the play keeps the audience guessing until the very end. Gallagher’s direction ensures that the humor is sharp, and the suspense is palpable.

“What I love about new plays is their constant evolution during rehearsals,” says Gallagher. “Working with great actors helps me shape a new play, and the prospect of changes always keeps me on my toes. I’m often fine-tuning scenes and dialogue right up to the opening night, and even during the run, I’m observing and making mental notes for future drafts.”

Murder at Ackerton Manor set designer Megan Cinel

The set, designed by the talented Megan Cinel, brings the gothic manor to life with stunning detail and atmosphere. “Megan’s design is a character in itself,” says Don Kearney-Bourque, Lighthouse Festival’s Marketing & Communications Manager. “The set’s intricate, gothic elements add an eerie backdrop that enhances the overall experience. It’s a visual feast that that will keep audiences enthralled.”

Tickets for Murder at Ackerton Manor are now on sale, with performances running from June 12 to 29 at Lighthouse Theatre in Port Dover and from July 3 to 14 at Roselawn Theatre in Port Colborne. Don’t miss this unique theatrical event that combines mystery, comedy, and masterful performances in one unforgettable show.


Andrew Scanlon as Roger Ackerton + others
Eliza-Jane Scott as Ariadne Ackerton + others
Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski as Curtiss + others

Creative Team

Director: Steven GallagherPlaywright: Steven Gallagher
Set Designer: Megan CinelCostume Designer: Alex Amini
Lighting Designer: Steve LucasStage Manager: Daniele Guillaume
Assistant Stage Manager: Sara Allison 

About Lighthouse Festival
Lighthouse Festival is a charitable organization devoted to the development and production of new and existing Canadian plays. Lighthouse Festival strives to be artistically excellent, support and encourage local and regional artists, and be a source of enjoyment and pride in local communities while promoting local tourism. Located in two beautiful towns on Lake Erie, our theatres operate on a central policy of hospitality, accessibility, and affordability for all.

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

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