Tag: 2024 Season

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 lighthousetheatre.com/event/murder-at-ackerton-manor/.

Lighthouse Festival launches summer season with Norm Foster comedy

Norm Foster’s comedic hit Doris and Ivy in the Home kicks off the 2024 summer season at Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover.

May 19, 2024

The Stratford Beacon Herald

By Postmedia Staff

Directed by Lighthouse Artistic Associate Jane Spence, the production runs from May 22 to June 8 in Port Dover, followed by shows in Port Colborne from June 12 to 23.

The play is a heartfelt comedy that examines friendship, age, and the transitions of life in a retirement home setting.

“Norm foster’s writing, rich with humour and poignancy, reminds us of the importance of seeking out meaningful connections at whatever stage of life we find ourselves,” Spence observed. “Through Doris and Ivy, we witness a dynamic and touching journey of self-discovery and companionship.

“Our talented cast brings a wonderful blend of authenticity and warmth to their roles, embodying the essence of Foster’s characters with grace and charm.”

Actor Ian Deakin portrays a charming retiree named Walter.

“I’ve known playwright Norm Foster for decades and have appeared in several of his productions,” Deakin explained. “My character in Doris and Ivy in the Home is an eccentric and heartfelt role, but essentially fulfills the playwright’s promise of lots of laughs too.”

Actress Melanie Janzen stars as the wise and witty Doris.
“Doris is very much ‘what you see is what you get.’ I like her brashness and her confidence. There’s no beating around the bush with Doris,” Janzen shared. “I could stand to be a little more like her!”

Brigitte Robinson portrays the ever-optimistic Ivy, and said she was drawn to the role for the chance to work again with director Jane Spence with whom she had acted in Calendar Girls at the Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, and with Janzen whose work she admired in their days together at the Shaw Festival.

“I thought Doris and Ivy in the Home was Norm Foster at his best,” said Robinson. “Not only is it very funny but it shines a light on the lives and relationships of women and men as they age.”

Tickets are available now at lighthousetheatre.com, by calling the box office at 1-888-779-7703 or by visiting the theatre.

Women take SLT stage for comedy The Savannah Sipping Society

Women bring to life a charming and relatable play that’s Simcoe Little Theatre’s second production of the season.  

February 21, 2024

Simcoe Reformer

By Postmedia Staff

The Savannah Sipping Society, a comedy written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, and directed by Sarah Finch, opens on March 7. 

The cast includes Roselle Slaght as Randa Covington, a perfectionist and workaholic who is struggling to cope with a surprise career derailment; Anna Reu as Dot Hangler, who is reeling from her husband’s recent demise and the loss of their plans for an idyllic retirement; Nancy Gibb as the earthy and boisterous Marlafaye Mosley, a good ol’ Texas gal who has blasted into Savannah in the wake of losing her tom-cattin’ husband to a 23-year-old dental hygienist; and Melinda Campbell as Jinx Jenkins, a spunky ball of fire who offers her services as a much-needed life coach for these women. 

Actors Melinda Campbell (left), Anna Reu, Nancy Gibbs and Roselle Slaght are featured in The Savannah Sipping Society, Simcoe Little Theatre’s second production of the 2023-24 season. The comedy runs from March 7 to 17. Contributed.

Together, these middle-aged women successfully bond and find the confidence to jumpstart their new lives. 

Gibbs said being part of the production has been an “absolute joy.” 

“The camaraderie among the cast and crew is palpable and I believe the audiences will be drawn to the heartwarming story and unforgettable characters.” 

Stage manager Susan LaBone said “even from early rehearsals, the energy and enthusiasm surrounding The Savannah Sipping Society has been incredible.” 

Tickets for the production start at $24 and can be purchased online at simcoelittletheatre.org or by calling 519-583-0505. The play runs from March 7 to 17 at Simcoe Little Theatre, 33 Talbot St. North in Simcoe.  

Simcoe Little Theatre is a non-profit community theatre dedicated to providing quality theatrical productions and fostering a love for the performing arts for more than 60 years. 

Lighthouse Theatre to showcase musician’s printmaking

Broadsides and Penny Dreadfuls is a printmaking show of artist and musician Ian Bell’s works.

February 14, 2024

Simcoe Reformer

By Brian Thompson

Local folk musician and songwriter Ian Bell is about to showcase another side of his artistic talents.

Broadside Ballads and Penny Dreadfuls is a printmaking show with a musical theme incorporating songs Bell has written.

The artist employed antique wooden and metal type, wood engravings and linocuts, and a 118-year-old printing press to create artworks inspired by the broadsides and street literature of the early 1800s.

“These prints are in the style of the song sheets that were hawked on the streets by ballad sellers in the 19th century, crated with hand-set type and illustrated with (my) wood engravings and linocuts,” said Bell. “Some were printed on (my) 1906 Pearl printing press; others were done on a 70-year-old Nolan proof press.”

Additionally, some songs are presented in tiny, hand-stitched chapbooks known as Penny Dreadfuls.

Bell notes that most of the equipment and type was rescued from newspaper offices that changed printing technology in the 1970s, along with items found at yard sales and flea markets.

A selection of printing artifacts will be included in the exhibit of artworks.

Broadsides and Penny Dreadfuls opens with a reception at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre, 247 Main Street in Port Dover.

The show will run throughout 2024 at the theatre.