Summertime plays at Lighthouse Theatre popular with audiences (Port Dover Maple Leaf)

June 26, 2024

Port Dover Maple Leaf

Port Dover Maple Leaf Staff        

LIGHTHOUSE Festival puts on six plays at Lighthouse Theatre in Port Dover each summer, drawing about 40,000 visitors to our community annually. The theatre bills itself as Home of the Canadian Sense of Humour. The organization’s success has made the town a destination for theatre-goers across Ontario. With two plays already over in Port Dover, Lighthouse Festival’s summer season is well underway. It’s a great time to take stock of remaining shows and pick up tickets.

Mary’s Wedding

The season’s third show is Stephen Massicotte’s play Mary’s Wedding. The drama explores the themes of love, loss, and the lingering shadows of war set against the backdrop of World War I. Mary’s Wedding begins the night before Mary is to be married. As she dreams, she revisits her memories of Charlie, a young soldier she fell in love with. The audience is taken on an emotional ride through their budding romance, the trials of separation, and the heartache of war, all told by blending reality and dream.

Daniel Reale, who plays Charlie, shared his thoughts on the play: “I think the audience will leave thinking about a few things. The absolutely stunning poetry and writing in the piece, the impacts of the First World War, the social constructs of the early 20th century — but mostly I hope they leave thinking about all those incredible sensations that come with first love. All of the joy, ease and excitement of finding a person that you can’t ever imagine living without. I love this show for giving me the opportunity to live in that world.”

Evelyn Wiebe, portraying Mary, added: “Mary reminds me of Juliet. Young, in love, passionate, fiery, witty and curious. She feels everything so deeply and that’s just the most satisfying thing as an actor. To hear a woman in the 1900s being bold. A lot of folks tend to dismiss a woman falling in love as ‘typical’ or trope-like. Mary is so much more than that. She’s just a beast of a woman. It’s just the most fun to play.”

The production is helmed by Lighthouse Festival’s artistic director, Derek Ritschel, who brings a unique perspective to the play, having starred as Charlie in a 2005 production. “Directing this play has been a deeply rewarding experience and a passion project of mine,” Mr. Ritschel said. “I fell in love with the show over 20 years ago and I’m thrilled to bring the show to the Lighthouse audience. The cast and crew have poured their hearts into bringing this story to life, capturing the delicate balance between the sweetness of young love and the harsh realities of a world at war. Their dedication and passion are evident in every scene.”

Mr. Ritschel continued: “Mary’s Wedding is not just a love story; it is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of dreams to transcend time and space. Through Mary’s dreams, we experience the beauty of love and the harrowing impact of war, all while navigating the ethereal boundaries between reality and imagination.”
Mary’s Wedding runs from July 3 to 20 in Port Dover’s Lighthouse Theatre and from July 24 to August 4 in Port Colborne’s Roselawn Theatre

Upcoming shows

The fourth play of the season will be The Sweet Delilah Swim Club, a story about lifelong friendships. Audiences can enjoy the show at Lighthouse Theatre from July 24 to August 10 and at Roselawn Theatre from August 14 to 25.
Fifth this season will be the world premiere of Norm Foster’s Lakefront, which is about a pair of recently acquainted septuagenarians renting a lake cabin together. Open in Port Dover from August 21 to September 7 and in Port Colborne from September 11 to 22.

This year’s season topper is Memphis to Motown: from Soulsville to Hitsville, a live concert with music from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, and more. See it in Port Dover from September 10 to 28 and Port Colborne from October 2 to 13. 

For more information on what’s on stage at Lighthouse and to purchase tickets, visit or contact the box office at 519-583-2221 or 888-779-7703.