Murder mystery to take the stage at Lighthouse Festival (Brantford Expositor)

Murder at Ackerton Manor

Murder at Ackerton Manor, a murder-mystery-comedy written and directed by Steven Gallagher, will take the stage at Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover from June 12 to 29.

June 6, 2024

Brantford Expositor

By Postmedia Staff

The acclaimed Canadian playwright’s latest creation is the second production of the season for Lighthouse and will also be performed July 3 to 14 at Roselawn Theatre in Port Colborne.

“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,” said Gallagher. “I wrote this play for my mom. It’s an homage to the first summer stock plays she brought me to and 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.”

Set in a gothic manor with a dark past, the plot thickens as secrets are unveiled, and the body count rises, according to Lighthouse communications manager Don Kearney-Bourque.

“With its blend of mystery and comedy the play keeps audiences guessing until the very end,” he explained, “Gallagher’s direction ensures that the humour is sharp, and the suspense is palpable. The set’s intricate, gothic elements add an eerie backdrop that enhances the overall experience.”

Each cast member will play multiple roles in the production.

“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,” said actor Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski, who takes on the role of Curtiss, among others. “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.”

Lighthouse theatregoers will recall Shepherd-Gawinski in last year’s production of Bed and Breakfast.

Actor Andrew Scanlon – playing the role of Roger Ackerton – describes Gallagher as an old friend and favourite artist with whom to collaborate.

“Much like the work he creates, he is thoughtful, creative and incredibly funny,” noted Scanlon. “When he invited me to join the company of his joyful, original, zany play at Lighthouse, I immediately jumped at the chance.”

Rounding out the cast is Eliza-Jane Scott with various roles including that of Ariadne Ackerton.

“The comedy aspects of the play definitely drew me to this role,” she said. “It’s such a fun and zany comedy… it’s absurdity at its best and I so love comedy.”

Tickets for Murder at Ackerton Manor are now on sale by calling the box office at (888)779-7703 or online at