With the close of community theatre festivals in central and eastern Ontario over the past weekend, we are thrilled to announce the four plays that will make up this year’s Theatre Ontario Festival in Kingston, opening Wednesday, May 15. Featuring three shows by Canadian playwrights and a new international drama, and with a mix of new and returning theatre companies, this year’s Festival promises to be a great celebration of community theatre in Ontario. Festival tickets are now on sale.
Traditionally, the host region opens the Festival, and representing the Eastern Ontario Drama League will be Theatre Night In Merrickville with their production of Having Hope At Home by long-time Theatre Ontario member David S. Craig. The play is a side-splitting look at a family learning to love again. On a winter night in a drafty farmhouse a baby is about to arrive. But modern medicine meets midwifery head on in a torrent of family feuding. As tensions rise between three dysfunctional generations, so does the laughter. This is Theatre Night In Merrickville’s first show at Theatre Ontario Festival in three decades.
On Thursday, May 16, we welcome Windsor’s Theatre Intrigue to their first Theatre Ontario Festival. Theatre Intrigue will be presenting Dennis Kelly’s Orphans (not to be confused with Lyle Kessler’s Orphans currently playing on Broadway and most memorably presented at Festival in 1999 in Newmarket by Woodstock Little Theatre.) Helen and her husband Danny's night in is interrupted by Helen's brother Liam, who arrives covered in blood claiming to have found a young lad injured on the street. When Liam's recollection of the event begins to change under questioning, suspicions are aroused followed by increasing concern that he may have been more involved than first thought. This play premiered at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is described as a riveting and violent exploration of urban fear and a moral dilemma. Theatre Intrigue represents the Western Ontario Drama League.
Friday, May 17 features Markham Little Theatre’s presentation of Mending Fences by Norm Foster. Harry Sullivan hasn't seen his son Drew in thirteen years. And now Drew is coming to Harry's Saskatchewan ranch for a visit. This poignant comedy tells the story of two men who are too stubborn to give in to feelings of the heart. Markham Little Theatre last represented the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario in 2008 in North Bay, with a presentation of another Norm Foster show—Outlaw.
The Festival performances finish on Saturday, May 18 with a second Norm Foster comedy, as Espanola Little Theatre presents Looking. Val’s an OR nurse, Andy’s in the storage business, Nina’s a police officer and Matt’s a radio morning show host. They’re middle-aged, single and looking. Val agrees to meet Andy after answering his personal ad in the newspaper. Nina and Matt are coaxed into joining their friends for support. High romance and contagious laughter are the result. Espanola last appeared at Festival in 2011 in Richmond Hill, presenting David Fennario’s Balconville. They won the Elsie Award for Outstanding Production in 1997 in Cornwall for their presentation of Romulus Linney’s A Woman Without A Name, and are representing QUONTA, the community theatre association of northeastern Ontario.
Theatre Ontario Festival 2013 is co-hosted by Kingston’s Domino Theatre and the Eastern Ontario Drama League. The annual Theatre Ontario Festival is a showcase of outstanding community theatre productions chosen from regional festivals, bringing together theatre lovers from across the province. It’s also an educational experience featuring adjudications, workshops, networking, and play readings by Canadian writers. We celebrate community theatre, with awards recognizing outstanding achievements and lots of parties! Festival tickets are now on sale by telephone at 613-546-3415. Accommodation details are available on the Domino Theatre website.