Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2011... here we come!

Well, we're done. We have built the perfect theatre season.

Please smile now...

We know nothing is ever perfect; however hard one may try to achieve perfection, nothing works out that way. But, my, we have been trying. We've tried to find a balance between music and theatre, between laughter and something a little more serious, between country and city, between.... well, you understand.

We do not believe that everyone will like everything in the 2011 season, but we do believe that there everyone will find something to like in the new season, so we expect to see everyone here, at least once!

SFT members will receive their newsletter announcing the new season sometime in the next few days. We truly have had technical difficulties with our printer and apologize for the lateness in getting the newsletter posted off. The season will be going on sale Monday, October 25th, and all the information about it will be posted on the website sometime through this weekend.

In the newsletter you will find information about the changes we've made in the Membership program - not huge changes but refinements to reward our Members and to remind our Members of how valued you are to us. Truly, without our Members and our corporate Sponsors, we couldn't do what we do. So... thank you. And, after you've looked at the info, if you have any questions about your current Membership status, or what the changes might provide you, please give us a call at 613.395.2100

And before I go.... 2010 isn't over yet!

Our annual Panto opens November 19th and runs to December 31st. Some shows are getting very close to selling out - some shows still have some very good seating left - still, don't delay in getting your seats to see HANSEL & GRETEL this holiday season. The Family version could become your own special family tradition... and the Naughty version makes a great holiday celebration with friends and colleagues! Please call 613.395.2100 to order your tickets to a great show of laughter, song, silliness & utter delight.

FYI: The special New Year's Eve buffet dinner is sold out but we do still have a few tickets left for that performance.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Elvis Is In the Building!

Well, he will be... Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday... four different concerts, one hugely entertaining experience!

Just in case there's any confusion - this is not actually Elvis. It's an incredible Elvis impersonator/tribute artist named Stephen Kabakos. But the show isn't just Stephen dressed in white jumpsuits and black leather jackets. He travels with a full band, back-up singers, and a seeming trunk full of scarves to hand out to the fans. I am so looking forward to this! And I hope you have your tickets, because there's one seat left for the Saturday night now (one!) and not many left for the other two evenings... still some good seats for the matinee show.

Plus, we are having three "Southern Comfort Suppers", before each of the evening performances, with a few of Elvis' favourite foods, including banana pudding - southern style. That means 'nilla wafers on the bottom, custard, fresh sliced bananas, topped with baked meringue. I lived in the US South for a few years - actually was living there when Elvis died - and fell in love with the crazy desserts they (used to) make there, including peanut butter pie, Lady Baltimore cake and banana pudding.

If you're interested in good home cookin' followed by great entertainment, please call our box office at 613.395.2100 or toll-free 1.877.312.1162 for more information and tickets.

So I have to tell you about living in northern Florida, practically Georgia, definitely deep south, the summer Elvis died. But I should preface my story by saying I'm an Elvis fan - I like most of his music, love his gospel singing, and certainly have enjoyed watcing his movies because they were fun bits of light entertainment - but I am not inclined by nature to be a FAN! - of anyone really; I think I'm just too Canadian for that. So the reaction of the world around me to the news that Elvis had died actually took me by surprise.

All the local tv and radio stations ran endless bulletins about the latest news. His music was played pretty much non-stop on most of the radio stations for the first few hours, even days, after his death. I knew grown women who cried buckets when they first heard, and again for weeks afterwards whenever his name came up. It was very personal for them.

I have to admit, at first I chuckled a little bit, but then I began to wonder if maybe I was missing the boat somehow. Not about Elvis himself, although he was a remarkable entertainer, and he was certainly going to be missed by a lot of people for the joy his work brought to them. No, I began to think that there was something special about the community that being a FAN! can create and make you part of. Certainly the people I knew or met who were most affected by his death seemed to gather great comfort from the stories and experiences they shared with other fans around them.

There have always been people in show business, in literature, in politics, even in journalism whom I have admired, but until that summer, I had never written a fan letter, never looked for a fan club to join. Never even looked to my group of personal friends to see if they shared any of my deep interests in certain people and their work. It was Elvis and his fans, the people who didn't know him except through his music, but who mourned his loss deeply and personally, who got me to thinking about being a better fan. Maybe not a FAN! - remember, I am very Canadian - but at least someone who wants to say thank you to those performers and others who have touched my life somehow.

That's when I started writing fan letters. Oh, not many of them, a few. And I missed some along the way. I never wrote to David Niven, not as an actor (although I do like his films) but as a writer - I adore his memoirs and his novel "Go Slowly, Come Back Quickly" - and then he died. And a couple of times, I've made phone calls. To broadcast journalists, especially when I was working as one, they were the easiest to do. And you'd be surprised how imporant those calls were.

Ned Potter, formerly of ABC News, did a story about farming which I thought was incredibly good. So I called ABC News in New York right then. Just picked up the phone and called. And he was there, in the newsroom! Someone else answered the phone first, and after I'd given my name & explained why I was calling - just to say congrats for a really well-done story - she put Ned on the phone. I could tell he was prepared to be defensive when he got on the line, but 10 seconds into my little spiel, he relaxed, and we had a great chat for 4 or 5 minutes, ending with his profuse thanks for calling with a compliment!

And that sort of cemented for me how imporant being a fan is, especially when you make the opportunity to tell the person whose work you admire about the way you feel. Now, I'm not recommended throwing yourself, or your underthings, at them on stage. But a nice note or card... some personal message... that's pretty cool. And it will be appreciated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Possibilities... The Possibilities...

How did this happen? How did the middle of September fall out of the sky and onto my calendar? I'm quite sure it was only last week we were eating fresh local strawberries and wondering where asparagus season went. And weren't we just pondering the excitement of summer theatre to come, and thinking "all those fall concerts are soooo far away..."?

Ha! Now they are upon us.

This is why I like making New Year's Resolutions for Labour Day. I'm still a child of the school year, I suppose, but I really do feel there is a renewal which comes every autumn, the promise of new starts and new ideas, new people and new possibilities. My list this Labour Day weekend consisted of three things: pickles & relishes, finish unpacking the home office, work on 2011 ideas for SFT. The home office is still a mess. Otherwise... we're looking good.

There's going to be a Sponsor Reception at the theatre tomorrow night (September 14) to which our current and would-be sponsors are invited. It's a chance for us to say thanks to our sponsors, and to remind them that they are valuable partners in making theatre possible in Stirling. The sponsorship program has been tweaked a little for 2011, but all for the good. It's important to remind everyone that sponsorship isn't just about advertising... it's also about being part of something that means a very great deal to a very large number of people.

We're going to offer our Sponsors a bit of a sneak peek at what's happening here in 2011 - not that everything is completely confirmed BUT... we've got some great things coming for our 15th Anniversary. And everything should be confirmed by the time the autumn edition of our Members' Newsletter is ready to be mailed.

That's another thing that's being refined for 2011 - our Membership program will be offering people who love the theatre, who support the Stirling Festival Theatre, the chance to get more theatre-related experiences from their membership. Look for that info to come with the next newsletter as well.

Finally - but with a big smile on my face - I wanted to pass on a letter we received from patrons Michelle & Dan G. of Marmora:

"Just wanted to let you know that my husband and I attend the Theatre on 19 August to see THE LAST RESORT. We both thought it was great. The humour was wonderful and the characters were classic. Very well done."

Thanks, Michelle & Dan. We thought THE LAST RESORT was a huge amount of fun ourselves!

Coming up at the Stirling Festival Theatre....

THE COMMODORES IN CONCERT ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 @ 8pm. If you haven't heard The Commodores, you've been missing great 'big band' sounds. A ROAST BEEF SUPPER WITH FRESH LOCAL VEGETABLES WILL PRECEDE THE CONCERT. Proceeds from this evening will benefit the Community Cupboard, Stirling's food bank. For more information or to order tickets, please call 613.395.2100 or toll-free 1.877.312.1162

Later this month... ELVIS WILL BE IN THE BUILDING. Do I have an Elvis story for you...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Slipping from Summer into Autumn

So the second Annual Water Buffalo Cheese Festival has come & gone. It seemed like it was over in an hour or two...

SFT had a small table on the Farmer's Market side of the event, and handed out brochures, a few bottles of water, and free theatre tickets! Congratulations to Hilda Dean of Belleville, who won a Family Pack to the family version of our 2010 Panto, HANSEL & GRETEL, and also congratulations to Nancy Boersma of Stirling and Michael Medgyessy of Frankford, who each won a pair of tickets to see SUDS, the rockin' 60s musical soap opera!

It was wonderful to meet so many people who had such lovely things to say about the theatre, the shows they've come to see and enjoyed, even the show or two they didn't have such fond memories of! That's also important for us to know. If we don't hear back from you, for good or for bad, we can't be sure that we're providing the very best programming you want to see. So please, if you loved THE LAST RESORT or DRIVING MISS DAISY, or any of the concerts we've brought to you so far this year, then tell us. But also, if you had issues or challenges with those shows, or anything else that happens here at SFT, then please tell us that, too.

Coming up next for the Stirling Festival Theatre is SUDS, Sept 9 - 16. And on September 18th, The Commodores are in concert with a fundraiser for the Community Cupboard, the local food bank. The concert will be preceded by a roast beef supper, with fresh, local veggies... and again, the proceeds from this supper will go to the Community Cupboard. Please call 613.395.2100 to order your tickets today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love You Forever...

So these are the people who brought to life our production of LOVE YOU FOREVER... AND MORE MUNSCH.

We've had two full houses, filled with children who love this show, who love hollering at the dragon, who laugh at the lady with 17 cats, who giggle with delight when Mortimer keeps making noise! And we have the moms who get a little misty eyed during the LOVE YOU FOREVER part of the story.

Luisa Appolloni has directed this amalgamation of five of Munsch's most-loved stories with joy and finesse, finding the delight in tiny details and the life in the big moments. Bridget Bezanson, Stuart Constable & Brianne Tucker get to be silly and wise and noisy and charming, often at the same time, and wear cool costumes while doing it! Our resident technical genius, David Vanderlip, scored again with a great, simple set design and beautiful, simple lighting design, and then he & Donna Moorman & Nancy Garrod found all the bits & pieces to dress the set so it's all these wonderful books in one go. Donna Carlisle did much the same thing in creating a paper bag dress, or two, and working with (resident technical genius) David Vanderlip and the amazing FANCY PANTS KIDS company to put together a superior dragon. Kudos to two kiddos - Travis Whiteman & Bronson Kozdas - for their efforts all summer long, with & without compen$ation. Stefan Patterson again created a great sound for the show and Darrell Nelham is brilliant at painting posters - no, really, painting posters! We have our own little Tolousse Latrec in house! And Mare Lawrie has managed to keep her sanity and the show running by apparently giving up anything else that might be of interest to her; we understand that the daisies & the weeds in her garden are in a duel to the death but knowing Mare, we expect the daisies to win out!

Speaking of Nancy Garrod, as I was a minute ago... I love volunteers who want to have new experiences. Bless 'em all, those volunteers, because we could do nothing without them but especially thanks to those who want more from their volunteer experience and want to give more to it in return. That's Nancy...

Our ushers for this show have been young people - kids ages 13 - 18 or so. I think that's just plain cool. I really do. For them, to get some work experience to add to their (currently) slender c.v. but also for the youngsters in the audience. A bit of an easy-to-imagine role model working right in front of them.

Had a very tiny little boy stand in line for about 10 minutes yesterday to get autographs of the cast and as he was leaving, I asked him if there was anything about the show that he especially liked. He nodded his head, and his mother encouraged him to tell me what. So he did: "Ev'thing!" His mother said it was his first live theatre production, and she expects to take him to lots more now that he had such a good time with this one. Yea!!

More kids, more young adults, more boomers, more cotton tops... theatre needs you all, so come out and have fun, enjoy the experience, share the moment with friends.

And say hello to me coming & going... I'm almost always around.

LOVE YOU FOREVER... AND MORE MUNSCH runs August 24 - 28. Adapted by Stephen Colella & Sue Miner, directed by Luisa Appolloni, starring Bridget Bezanson, Stuart Constable & Brianne Tucker. Call 613.395.2100 for more info & to buy tickets.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010



There is a new word here at the Stirling Festival Theatre.


Given how many Naughty Pantos and how many lacy bits of lingerie we've seen over the years, I am most surprised that the word has not been invented before... but there you go.

Cleavageable. As in, a device or procedure to adjust one's blouse or dress top in order to better display what your mama gave you, without crossing the line into bad taste or reality television.

Please feel free to spread the word.

And do come see how we apply it in THE LAST RESORT, running August 11 - 14 and August 17 - 21.

THE LAST RESORT, by Leslie Arden (music & lyrics) & Norm Foster (book), directed by Luisa Appolloni, musical direction by Charlene Nafziger, choreography by Christina Gordon. Starring J.P. Baldwin, Allan Gillespie, Christina Gordon, Jon-Alex MacFarlane, Siobhan Richardson, Ian Simpson, Bruce Tubbe, Viviana Zarrillo. Marilyn Lawrie, Stage Manager & Brittney Vandersel, Apprentice Stage Manager. Set & Lighting Design by David Vanderlip. Set Construction Darrell Nelham, Carol Robertson & Travis Whiteman. Sound design by Stefan Patterson. Foley Effects by Bruce Tubbe. Prop & Set Decoration, Donna Moorman. Donna Carlisle, Costume Designer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Close to Opening

It's opening week. It's frantic around here - in a controlled sort of way. There's an undercurrent of excitement, a little bit of nervousness, a little bit of satisfaction that everything is in place, or close to it.

Oh, I love this feeling.

And I'm not even in the auditorium for more than a few minutes at a time!

Catching moments of rehearsal here and there since I attended the first read through (and hearing even more of the singing parts of the show), I know I'm not getting anything like a real sense of this production, but I have seen enough to know that everyone involved is working their hearts out to create an incredible production. And you need to know that some really big hearts are involved in creating this show.

We have a volunteer named CAROL ROBERTSON who is a really gifted carpenter. I mean, this woman loves to have a hammer in her hand! Besides loaning us a few set dressing items for DRIVING MISS DAISY, she worked very hard with Darrell Nelham on building the set for that show and for THE LAST RESORT. When you come into the theatre, and have a chance to absorb our fabulous set, do note the "reception desk" for the Last Resort. David Vanderlip's design, but Carol Robertson's execution. She has, by the way, told David either don't design curves again, or only give her squares & triangles to work on.

I don't believe her, but we're humouring her for now.

We also want you to know about LEONARD WIGGER from Springbrook Restaurant who has the most weirdly wonderful collection of... stuff at his place. You're going to love the boat/case! And we hope Leonard loves the chandelier.

Kudos to David V & Donna Moorman (Original Donna we call her now) for their shopping and set dressing skills. David thinks we should offer a prize to the person who guess exactly how many ducks are on the boat/case.

We're getting ready for the Tech/Dress, so I'm going to close now. But do plan to come see this show... it's wicked good fun!