Tag: lighthouse festival

Review: Where You Are on stage at Lighthouse Festival

Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre’s production of Where You Are opens with sisters Suzanne and Glenda sitting on their front porch on Manitoulin Island.

By Sharon Grose | Ontario Farmer Magazine

July 27, 2023

Lighthouse Festival Theatre’s summer production of Where You Are (by Kristen da Silva) opens with sisters Suzanne (Melanie Janzen) and Glenda (Susan Henley) sitting on their front porch on Manitoulin Island. Suzanne is bemoaning the fact that she doesn’t need a rooster to be her alarm clock. Glenda can get up at the crack of dawn with the rooster and chickens if she wants but Suzanne would just as soon sleep in until noon. Glenda just returned from church and Suzanne itching to find out the all the town gossip- why else does one go to church in a small town?

Front Entrance of Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover – Ontario Farmer Magazine

Sisters Glenda and Suzanne live a quiet retirement lifestyle selling homemade jam and hawthorn berry jelly on Manitoulin Island. This summer, their focusing on trying to orchestrate sightings of their handsome veterinarian neighbour and prepping for the visit of Suzanne’s grown daughter, Beth (Caroline Toal). But the things are complicated by a secret the sisters can no longer contain. Glenda and Suzanne apparently aren’t the only ones keeping secrets. When Beth lands on the island and admits to having some secrets of her own the three women realize it’s time to face things that will change the course of their lives. Secrets can no longer be secrets.

Suzanne and Glenda are totally devoted to each other and manage to share a house despite their different lifestyles. Suzanne raised her daughter – single handedly but continues to struggle to find the balance between mothering and smothering her daughter. Beth and Suzanne constantly clash. Suzanne is judgmental and critical of everything Beth does. They have a strained mother- daughter relationship. Glenda widowed, is a doting beloved Aunt to Beth and tries to keep the peace between mother and daughter which is not an easy task.

Then there is the cute guy who lives next door – the young veterinarian named Patrick (Gaelan Beatty) who is still getting over being left at the alter by his fiancé. There are some interesting connections between Beth and Patrick due to common denominators – both are rebounding from a recent break up, both are doctors – although one treats people while the other treats animals. Their various roles in the medical field make for some humorous moments. Will something develop between Beth and Patrick- only time will tell. If the two sisters have anything to say about it – definitely yes. But the two women have more things to deal with than budding relationships. Suzanne and Glenda start experimenting with weed – for medicinal purposes. The two are higher than a kite when they are discovered by Beth. Some candid discussions about life, love and mortality follow.

Caroline Toal, Melanie Janzen & Susan Henley in Where You Are by Kristen Da Silva

There is an interesting mix of funny and somber moments in this play. Simple lessons in life that gets you to thinking about appreciating people and the importance of family and community.

You won’t want to miss seeing this Canadian play at Lighthouse Festival Theatre. It is on n stage in Port Dover at Festival Theatre until Aug 5th and then on stage at Roselawn Theatre in Port Colborne from August 9th to August 20th.

Lighthouse Festival Theatre company was formed in 2022 bringing Port Dover’s Old Town Hall theatre and Port Colborne Roselawn theatre together as one theatre family.

Ontario Farmer readers can also attend two other Lighthouse Festival productions A Pack of Thieves by Norm Foster (Aug 16-Sept 2nd at Port Dover, or Sept 6-Sept 17 at Port Colborne, and Opry Gold with The Wayward Wind Band (Sept 5th-Sept 16 in Port Dover, Sept 20-Sept 24 in Port Colborne).

Tickets any of the show can be ordered by calling Lighthouse Festival Box Office 1-888-779-7703 or online https://lighthousetheatre.com/tickets/

Review: Lighthouse Theatre’s winning streak continues with Where You Are

By Mike Renzella | The Haldimand Press

July 27, 2023

PORT DOVER—2023 has been a year of great, emotional comedy at Lighthouse Theatre and Where You Are – the newest show to hit their Port Dover stage – is no exception, bringing another heaping serving of the laughs and pathos that are the bread and butter of Lighthouse’s ever-popular summer series.

Melanie Janzen as Suzanne & Susan Henley as Glenda in Kristen Da Silva’s Where You Are, directed by Jane Spence.

Directed by Jane Spence from a script by Kristen Da Silva, Where You Are tells the story of Glenda and Suzanne, two aging sisters who live together and sell homemade jam out of their small home on Manitoulin Island. When Suzanne’s daughter Beth comes home for a summer visit, secrets are revealed, relationships are put to the test, and life-changing decisions are made.

The play stars Susan Henley as Glenda, Melanie Janzen as Suzanne, Caroline Toal as Beth, and Gaelan Beatty as their good-natured neighbour Patrick.

Janzen and Henley make for a great comic duo in the show, gamely throwing one-liners at each other throughout, and believably selling the play’s more dramatic moments, the most touching of which revolve around their long-lasting, genuine friendship.

Toal imbues her character Beth with a believable vulnerability, proving a great foil to Janzen and Henley’s comedic exploits. While her character may be a bit hard-headed at times, it’s clear that Beth deeply loves her mom and aunt, and the childhood home she has returned to.

As the neighbour Patrick, Beatty brings the charm, making a great straight man to the comedy flying around on stage and displaying a natural chemistry with Toal as the two character’s stories begin to entwine over the course of the show.

Director Spence stages the show lightly, making the best of a witty script and more-than-capable performers. She described what drew her to the show, “It shares a powerful message about the difficulties that arise when secrets are kept, even with the best intentions. It explores what it means to love unconditionally, examining the struggles we sometimes face to give our loved ones the room to live life on their own terms, especially when their choices may differ from the ones we would make for them.”

Where You Are marks Spence’s fifth show for Lighthouse, also taking on this year’s On The Air earlier in the season. 

Gealan Beatty as Patrick and Caroline Toal as Beth in Kristen Da Silva’s Where You Are, directed by Jane Spence.

Writer Da Silva is also no stranger to the Lighthouse stage, having also written Sugar Road, Beyond the Sea, and Hurry Hard, and appearing as an actor as well. Her shows have been mounted at several venues around Ontario, and for good reason; Da Silva’s shows are guaranteed to be two things: hilarious and sincere. 

Where You Are is playing at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Theatre until August 5. It then moves Port Colborne’s Roselawn Theatre from August 9-20.

For more information, visit lighthousetheatre.com, where you can find information on showtimes for this show and the remainder of Lighthouse’s 2023 summer season. 

Up next at the theatre is the Young Company production of Robin Hood, which is running from August 9-12, followed by the World Premiere of Norm Foster’s latest show, A Pack of Thieves, and the season topper, Opry Gold.

Review: ‘Bed and Breakfast’ a comedy grand slam for Lighthouse

By Mike Renzella | The Haldimand Press

July 6, 2023

PORT DOVER—Lighthouse Festival Theatre continues a great 2023 run with their latest production, Bed and Breakfast, a show with a community’s worth of memorable characters brought to exhilarating life by just two performers.

The show tells the story of Brett and Drew, a Toronto-based couple who leave their anxiety-producing, fast-paced lives in the city behind when Brett inherits his aunt’s home in a small-town community that they decide to convert into a bed and breakfast.

Told through flashbacks, the story plays fast and loose with its narrative structure, jumping quickly through a variety of hilarious scenarios where the couple, played by actors Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski (Brett) and Warren Macaulay (Drew), begin to connect with the community they have adopted.

The thing that sets this show apart is the impressive versatility of its two leading men. Both display an incredible ability to seamlessly switch between a variety of characters, often within the confines of a single scene. It’s the best kind of theatrical magic.

In the hands of lesser actors, some of these scenes could have become confusing and difficult to follow, but Macaulay and Shepherd-Gawinski are more than up to the challenge of keeping up with the script’s breakneck pace and non-stop jokes.

While frequently hilarious, the show tackles some tough issues as well, with Brett and Drew finding themselves targeted at times throughout the play by some less-than-friendly townsfolk who disagree with their lifestyle, leading both characters to face startling revelations before the curtains drop.

In the more tender moments of the play, Shepherd-Gawinski and Macaulay share a believable vulnerability that keeps the audience firmly in their corner from the first scene to the last. 

Playwright Mark Crawford touched on the inspiration behind the show, explaining, “As we move towards a more open, accepting, loving society, we’re simultaneously experiencing a nasty backlash against LGBTQ+ people – around the world, but also here at home.”

He wrote the show for all audiences, noting, “Wherever you land on the wide and wonderful spectrum of human sexuality, I hope Bed And Breakfast tickles your funny bone and touches your heart.”

Crawford’s script is chalk full of witty one-liners, big, broad comedic moments, and biting observational-style humour. If you appreciate comedy in any form, you will find something to like with this one. And further, you’ll walk away in awe at live theatre’s continuing ability to celebrate human connection, challenge toxic cultural stereotypes, and still leaving you smiling from the simple joy of a good story well told.

Run, don’t walk, to the Lighthouse Theatre in Dover and get a set of tickets today – you won’t regret it.

‘Bed and Breakfast’ is the third show in Lighthouse’s summer festival series. It runs at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Theatre until July 15, and then heads to Port Colborne’s Roselawn Theatre, where it will delight audiences from July 19-30.

Check out lighthousetheatre.com for more information on show times, including Lighthouse’s unique, inclusive ‘relaxed performance’ program.

Meet the Cast | Ralph Small as Shaver in Come Down From Up River

We chatted with Ralph about his biggest challenge with the role of Shaver in Come Down From Up River, what will surprise people about this show, and how he spends free time during rehearsals.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

A: The personal challenge is to find the essence of the man, the soul of the character – in order to play him truthfully, not stereotypically. So I’m always looking for the parts of myself that best align with the part I’m playing. And then to creatively imagine the rest. The other challenge of course is to find the balance between the playwright’s intentions, the director’s vision and your own personal creativity. And to make sure that we’re having some serious fun, especially during rehearsals.

Q: What’s going to surprise people about this show?

A: What’s NOT going to surprise people is how genuinely funny this play is, because Norm is always striving to find new ways to make his audience laugh. Norm’s humour is built in. It comes from the circumstances and the characters, so it always feels truthful. There are certainly one or two significant surprises, by way of plot twists and delicate subject matter, but the real surprise comes from how deft Norm is in exploring serious topics in a humourous way. This play, for me, harkens back to one of his first plays, The Melville Boys. Yes, his prime motivation is to entertain, but he doesn’t shy away from offering up a few life lessons while he’s at it.

  • Q: When you have a five minute break during rehearsals, what do you spend your time doing?

A: You mean besides going to the bathroom? It depends really. Sometimes I just need to release some ‘actor’ tension with a few choice relaxation exercises or I’ll do a quick review of the preceding’s which usually has me sitting in a corner rehashing stuff. Other times I’ll just be contemplating the existential dread I feel for the world right now, which usually takes a lot longer than 5 minutes. I’ve also been known to leave the rehearsal hall and go for a short walk, especially if it’s a nice day.

Q: Besides this one, what’s your favourite stage show? 

A: Not Cats!

Q: What sort of person is going to love this show?  

A: Well, who doesn’t love Norm Foster? But this is a play for people who are not afraid to laugh and to laugh at themselves.

Meet the Director of Come Down From Up River by Norm Foster, Sheila McCarthy

Canadian stage and screen legend Sheila McCarthy makes her Lighthouse directorial debut this May

Lighthouse Festival is pleased to welcome Canadian stage and screen legend, Sheila McCarthy, as the Director for our season premiere, Come Down From Up River by Norm Foster. McCarthy’s list of credits is vast and she is one of Canada’s most honoured artists, having won two Genie Awards, two Gemini Awards, an ACTRA Award, and two Dora Awards, along with numerous nominations. Her credits include Sarah Polley’s Oscar®-winning movie Woman Talking [MGM], Umbrella Academy [Netflix], Little Mosque on the Prairie [CBC], Stratford and Shaw festivals, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, Die Hard 2, Being Julia, and The Day After Tomorrow.

We spoke with McCarthy on a range of topics including what drew her to Come Down From Up River, what she thinks audiences will take away from the play, and what being a part of the Oscar®-winning filmWomen Talking was like.

Q: What drew you to this production as a director?

A: I was drawn to this play because I love delving into Norm Fosters work as a playwright. He writes more complicated stories than people think and I love discovering all the many layers of his words. Plus I love the idea of this incredible cast and working in beautiful Port Dover. 

Q: What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after seeing this show?

A: I think audiences will delve into stories about their own families as they drive home. The secrets and unsolved questions, the skeletons rattling in their own closets about misinterpreted moments and generational misunderstanding. I hope they also drive home with smiles on their faces about a great night in the theatre!

Q: When you have a five minute break during rehearsals, what do you spend your time doing?

A: During my five minute breaks I like to walk and stretch and drink more coffee and have a few laughs with the team in rehearsal!

Q: What’s going to surprise people about this show?

A: I think audiences will be surprised by how moved they are as they get to really know and love our three flawed characters in Come Down from Up River. I think they might also be surprised by recognizing themselves in this piece and wondering if they also need to mend a few family fences.

Q: What was it like to be a part of the Oscar-winning production of Women Talking and to be part of strong female-led cast and crew?

A: Being a part of Women Talking, the movie I did with Sarah Polley that went all the way to the Oscars, nominated fro Best Film and winning for best adapted screenplay was an incredible ride for me. I am so proud of the work in it and having had the opportunity to work with such a star studded stellar cast not to mention the wonderful crew. Having the ‘Queen’, Claire Foy, washing my feet on the first day of shooting is a memory I will not soon forget! Spending the last six months travelling with the cast on the press junkets was so much fun. And the response people have to the movie is very moving to me. Being in such a female driven project and having it so widely recognized and appreciated makes me feel very lucky indeed. 

Review: ‘Clue The Musical’ brings board game to life on stage

Clue Cast
Cast of Clue: The Musical

A fun night of dance, song and superb acting… it’s a “must see”

By Donna McMillanPort Dover Maple Leaf

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

It was hilarious! It was boisterous! It was suspenseful! Above all, it was thrilling to see the launch once again of the Lighthouse Festival Theatre’s community play after a three- year Covid absence. A stellar cast of local actors energized the theatre as they sang, danced, connived and bantered their way through “CLUE The Musical”, bringing CLUE, the sleuthing Parker Brothers board game, to life.

Directed by Derek Ritschel, LFT Artistic Director, CLUE The Musical, is a Classic “Who Done It” Mystery with a possible 216 answers of who did what with what and where to keep the audience guessing. The cast of eight, with six suspects who skulk from room to room to complicate the crime scene diorama, are iconic CLUE characters and include: Mr. Boddy – JP Antonacci; Mrs. Peacock – Julie MacLeod; Professor Plum – Charly Buck; Miss Scarlett – Carmen Davis; Colonel Mustard – Brian Reichheld; Mrs. White – Robyn Cunningham Edl ; Mr. Green – Adam Liefl; and The Detective – Jason Mayo.  Literally, each actor “killed” their part.   

Mr. Boddy is the host of the event and planner of mayhem.  “It’s his house.  It’s his game.  He is going to be killed and he delights in being murdered,” JP told the Maple Leaf in an earlier interview.    Mr. Boddy, with sinister intonations, narrates, confuses and provides riddled clues to help the collective audience solve his heinous murder.    Each suspect finds him to be an odious character for varied reasons.   They all have axes to grind.  JP was superb in this role.

Clue Cast
L-R Jason Mayo, Robyn Cunningham-Eld, Julie Macleod, Charly Buck & Carmen Davis

Each of the suspects represent colours in the board game.    Mrs. Peacock, elegant in blue, has lost four husbands under mysterious circumstances and now husband number five, Mr. Boddy, is dead.   Miss Scarlett, flashy in red, dates wealthy bachelors.  Was Mr. Boddy on that list?    Both Julie MacLeod and Carmen Davis were flamboyantly wicked in their respective roles. Smooth talking Mr. Green and Colonel Mustard, smitten by Mrs. Peacock, were well performed by Adam Liefl and Brian Reichheld. Over worked and underpaid, Mrs. White, played by Robyn Cunningham Edl, was hysterical as she aired her complaints with a heavy cockney accent. Professor Plum certainly offered a “degree” of suspicion; so ably played by Charly Buck.   

L-R Carmen Davis, Julie MacLeod, Robyn Cunningham-Eld, JP Antonacci, Brian Riecheld, Charly Buck & Adam Leifl

“So, I’m dead” at the start of Act 2 confirms the demise of Mr. Boddy and brings the hilarious “hard nosed detective”, Jason Mayo in drag, onto the stage.   He was added comic relief that had the audience roaring.   “Rub a dub dub; six suspects in a tub” was his puzzle to solve.    The detective scurried from room to room with the big question on stage: wrench, candlestick, pipe, knife, revolver, rope……and by whom.   

The play gave the audience a fun night of dance, song and superb acting. It’s a Must See!

L-R Adam Liefl, Carmen Davis, Robyn Cunningham-Eld, Julie MacLeod, Charly Buck, Brian Riecheld & Jason Mayo

 Heather Reicheld is Stage Manager for CLUE The Musical.    Meredith Woods is Musical Director.  Hailey Parker is Technical Director.  Kiri – Lyn Muir is Choreographer.   Sally Bellamy and Jan Rainey are responsible for Costumes and Props. Colin Mahon built the stunning set.   

CLUE runs until April 21 and is a Must See.   For tickets, visit the Box Office in Port Dover, online at lighthousetheatre.com or call 519 – 583 – 2221.          

March 2023 Lighthouse 50/50 Winner Announced

Congrats to our March 2023 winner Darlene Quigley of Brantford!

Darlene was the holder of ticket #Q-2145555 and took home the jackpot of $3,435!


The 50/50 draws support Lighthouse Festival

Lighthouse Festival is dedicated to fostering and promoting live professional theatre in Southern Ontario. Devoted to the development and production of new and existing Canadian plays for our audiences in Port Dover and Port Colborne, Lighthouse strives to be artistically excellent, support and encourage local and regional artists, and be a source of enjoyment and pride in our communities. Operating in two port towns on Lake Erie, our theatres operate under a central policy of hospitality, accessibility, and affordability for all.

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Blog: The Home of the Canadian Sense of Humour has a Season to Celebrate!

Here’s what’s ahead at Lighthouse Festival in 2023

Laughter is coming your way this summer in Port Dover and Port Colborne as Lighthouse Festival raises the curtain on comedy in 2023. Get ready for some of the finest and funniest live theatre in the country with a playbill that brings two world premieres to the stage along with some of Canada’s best and brightest writers, directors and acting talent.

Our season starts off with Come Down From Up River, a tale by comedic bard Norm Foster, set at first in the wilds of New Brunswick, where a man who’s lived in the wilderness for most of his life suddenly finds himself at his estranged niece’s house that she shares with her wife. A fish-out-of-water tale becomes a reality for all three of them. It’s a sweet and emotional account of family reconciliation and working to understand each other better. Directed by renowned Canadian performance artist Sheila McCarthy, who recently starred in the 2023 Oscar®-winning film Women Talking and the Netflix® hit Umbrella Academy, and stars Lighthouse favourite Ralph Small, who brought Buying the Farm to life in our 2022 Season and Sexy Laundry in 2019, Come Down From Up River shows that with a little give and take, no obstacle is insurmountable.

Next up, we find ourselves at a small radio station in Lake Kashagakaganee where there are nearly zero listeners and an assortment of staff who are in over their heads. Throw in a new and determined station manager, along with a meddling former station manager’s son and voila! A recipe for comedic disaster. On The Air was written by first-time playwright, Toronto born and raised screenwriter and actor Ephraim Ellis. Most often recognized for his role as the troubled Rick Murray on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Ellis was introduced to Lighthouse by his wife Meghan Speakman, a stage manager in the summer seasons. Ellis worked with Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Ritschel to sharpen the script before bringing it to the Lighthouse stage this summer. He most recently played the role of Tom in the 2016 Lighthouse production of Perfect Wedding, directed by Derek Ritschel. On The Air is directed by Lighthouse Festival’s Artistic Associate Jane Spence, and is a relatable story where hard work, new ideas and forging relationships is the key to turning things around.

Now we come to a familiar old tale; two men try and fail to buy a house in Toronto. Two men inherit a bed and breakfast in a quaint yet blinkered village. Two men attempt to run their new B&B and fit into said small village. Does hilarity ensue? You bet it does! Bed & Breakfast was penned by the talented Mark Crawford, who currently stars in the Mirvish production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and who wrote the hit production of The Gig, now on stage at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton. With a cast of 24 characters being played by 2 people, the talented Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski & Warren Macaulay, you’ll have to ask for your eggs over easy and your laughter on a plate at Bed & Breakfast.

Where You Are, wonderfully written by Kristen Da Silva, who wrote Lighthouse favourites Hurry Hard & Beyond The Sea, tells the tale of two sisters selling jam in their retirement years on Manitoulin Island who have their sights set on a local (and handsome) veterinarian for one of their daughters, however a secret they can no longer contain, along with new secrets from the daughter, complicate matters which will change their lives forever. We promise this is a comedy! Directed by Lighthouse Artistic Associate Jane Spence, who directed last summer’s hit comedy Halfway There by Norm Foster, and who has acted in a number of Lighthouse productions including When The Reaper Calls, The Melville Boys, and Beyond The Sea, Where You Are will illicit tears of joy and heartache and leave you with urge to call family members just to hear their voice.

Our main season ends with another play from Canada’s king of comedic theatrical compositions, Norm Foster, making its world premiere on the Lighthouse stage. In A Pack of Thieves, two troubled, middle-class souls, Robert & Jeff, decide that their need for extra cash can be solved by stealing a racehorse and holding it for ransom, which is what MOST people think of immediately when the need for extra cash arises, right? After enlisting the aid of Padre, an experienced criminal, and a pair of dim-witted twins named Chip and Dale, everything goes exactly according to plan… Which, of course, it does not. Starring Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Ritschel, along with Brad Austin, who brought the house down in last summer’s Halfway There, as well as Lighthouse favourites Jeffrey Wetsch, Brad Rudy and Allan Cooke, the world premiere of A Pack of Thieves is an outstanding way to close out the season.

You’ve got a lot to look forward to this summer at Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover & Port Colborne. A season of great Canadian laughter on the shores of Lake Erie surrounded by food, friends, and the knowledge that you’re supporting one of this country’s finest theatre festivals is coming your way.

Volunteer Sign Up Days are Coming Soon!

You’ll laugh… You’ll cry… You’ll show someone their seat!

Volunteers are vital to the Lighthouse experience, welcoming patrons at the doors, scanning tickets, handing out programs and ushering theatre goers to their seats. Volunteers are needed to support Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover and Port Colborne all year round.

If you’re been thinking of volunteering for Lighthouse, you’re in luck! We’re hosting a Volunteer Sign Up Day on Wednesday, April 5th from 10 AM to 1 PM in Port Colborne and April 12th from 10 AM to 1 PM in Port Dover. Spend your summer surrounded by laughter… in a good way!

If you are interested in volunteering at one of our locations, Port Dover – Lighthouse Theatre or Port Colborne – Roselawn Theatre, and you’re unable to make it to our Sign Up Days, please fill out the form linked below or contact our box offices.

Auditions Announced for Lighthouse Festival’s Young Company Production of Robin Hood

Audition Poster for 2023 Young Company show Peter Pan!

Hear ye, hear ye! Auditions for the Lighthouse Young Company’s production of Robin Hood are nigh! Convey thyselves to the theatre on the 24th of May but prithee contact the box office first to book thy time! May you find success in your thespian quest! Call 519-583-2221 or by electronic post at portdover@lighthousetheatre.com!

Art Open House – The Artwork of Cristina Zanella

Cristina Zanella Open House
Cristina Zanella Open House

Lighthouse Festival invites you to join us in celebrating
the work of Port Dover artist Cristina Zanella

Join us as we unveil Cristina’s new art pieces that will hang in the theatre’s long bar for the 2023 summer season at Lighthouse Festival. The Open House will take place on Sunday, March 1st, 2023 from 1 PM to 3 PM in the Long Bar on the 2nd floor of the theatre.

Cristina Zanella is a Port Dover-based artist who, for several years, was the art curator at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, Halifax, Brantford, Sarnia and various communities throughout Southern Ontario. 

She received her B.F.A from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Zanella has been the recipient of various awards including the Hazel Race Award for the Norfolk Visual Arts competition and the Peoples’ Choice Award at the Glenhyrst Gallery in Brantford.

Please note tickets are not required to attend this open house. This is a drop in event.

We hope you will join us, 

The Lighthouse Team

Important Update to Lighthouse Festival’s 2023 Playbill

2023 Lighthouse Festival Season

New Play to be Featured this Summer!

 February 14, 2023. Port Dover, ON: There is an old saying in the theatre world about how the show must go on despite any possible hindrances. If a cast member is ill, you call in the understudy. If a sound system malfunctions, the actors just talk louder. If the theatre catches fire, the production is moved to the front lawn and continues… You catch our drift. 

The same cannot be said for replacing irreplaceable actors in order to stay true to the very personal and local story of Port Dover resident Kobi Kobayashi for our 2023 season production of Sakura: The Last Cherry Blossom Festival. Despite valiant efforts, we could not acquire cast members of Japanese descent needed to authentically tell this tale because of the depth and breadth of roles available for these actors right now; it’s a great problem to have if you’re an actor! We are, however, pleased to announce that this production will move to our 2024 Main Season in order to ensure our casting, and the story we’re telling, receive the attention they deserve. 

At the same time, we’re very pleased to announce that Bed & Breakfast, a comedic play about two men whose failure to buy a house in Toronto leads them to inherit a bed and breakfast in a small town which, of course, results in all sorts of hilarity in a touching story about fitting in. Written by accomplished playwright and actor Mark Crawford, who wrote Stag and Doe and Birds and The Bees, which were both hits with Lighthouse audiences, and who currently appears in the Toronto production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Bed & Breakfast will run on the same dates and times that Sakura was schedule for. 


Brett and Drew want to move out of their tiny downtown condo and into a house, but they just lost their seventh bidding war in Toronto. When Brett’s beloved Aunt Maggie dies, he unexpectedly inherits the historic family home in a quiet little tourist town. Unhappy with their careers and frustrated by life in the fast-paced city, the couple decides to make the move and start up a B&B. But when the guys face friction in their new community, they discover the simple life is more complicated than they thought… 

With more than a few unexpected and hilarious plot-twists, we follow Brett and Drew over the course of one year— through the real estate rat race, renovation hell, a farcical opening weekend at their B&B, and encounters with small-town prejudice—all the way to their big decision: do they stay here, or do they pack it all in? 

With dozens of characters—male and female, young and old—all portrayed by two men, Bed and Breakfast is a theatrical tour de force. As riotously funny as it is deeply moving, this is a heartfelt comedy about “being out” in small town Canada, skeletons in the closet, and finding a place to call home. 


Lighthouse Festival regularly welcomes upwards of 60,000 people through our doors each summer season with 52% of our attendees travelling more than 40km to come to our theatre. As a charitable organization, we recognize the value of strong community partnerships and local support. We encourage anyone planning a visit to Port Dover to utilize the “visit” section on Lighthousetheatre.com and add some local attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and more to your itinerary. 


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. Operating in two towns on Lake Erie, our theatres operate on a central policy of hospitality, accessibility, and affordability for all. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Artistic Director Derek Ristschel, please contact: Don Kearney-Bourque, Marketing and Communications Officer at 519-583-1031 x 225 | 289-541-7410 or don@lighthousetheatre.com