I’m thrilled that Northumberland Players has added my play to their upcoming season. Once Upon a Rocking Chair has been staged once before, having a successful run with StoneCircle Theatre in Pickering Village in 2008. Since then my writing has improved, my life experience has expanded so I am taking this opportunity to update the script, strengthen the play and present an updated, refreshed version of the story that goes deeper into the play’s themes. I’m excited to share this story and these characters with my community.
Produced by Matt Kowalyk
Directed by Jessica Outram
The De La Roche women have an annual summer Georgian Bay tradition. Three retired sisters and their three grown daughters spend a week at the cottage drinking wine, reminiscing, and making plans for the future. But this summer is different. Deep-rooted secrets are revealed as the annual festivities become ones that nobody will ever forget. It is a play about family, relationships, work, aging, life, and the validity of ‘happily-ever-after.’ A Northumberland premiere by a local playwright with a new, updated script.
May 26-June 11 2017 at The Firehall Theatre, Cobourg, Ontario.
Tickets are selling. Don’t miss out! Here are my top 10 reasons why you should click here and buy your tickets for “The Secret Garden” right now:
10. To experience truly gorgeous music. The lyrics and score are stunning. The vocalists and musicians are outstanding. If I’m regularly getting goosebumps up both arms in rehearsals, then I know that the music will melt you with its dynamic, red velvet texture.
9. To celebrate generous volunteers. Community theatre is as much about community as it is about theatre. It’s amazing how many volunteers stream in and out of rehearsal. For every person onstage it seems to take two people behind the scenes to bring a quality production to life. It’s inspiring to see people give so much of their time and talents.
8. To witness incredible talent. We are blessed in Northumberland to have a strong arts community. A big show like this one pulls in people from across the region who bring it all to the stage and leave it all on the stage. I’m in awe of the dedication, perseverance, and professionalism of my fellow cast members.
7. To become part of the story. If you saw “Les Miserables” last year at the Capitol Theatre you may know what I’m talking about. The storytelling was so engaging there were moments I stopped breathing as I sat in the audience. At the end of the show, I turned to my friends and said “people will be talking about this show for a long time.” It set a new bar for community theatre. “The Secret Garden” is brought to you by the same creative team as “Les Miserables”: Valerie Russell, Marie Anderson, and Alina Adjemian. It also features many of the outstanding actors from last year’s production.
6. To see springtime in winter. Get out of the house. Invite some friends. Have dinner at one of the many tasty restaurants in Port Hope. Resist Netflix and that cozy fire. Remember gardens and all the beauty and magic they offer. This show can do all that.
5. To be entertained. Watch this clip to see “what I mean…” Notice our joy. We want to share that with you.
4. To reflect on a powerful metaphor. Maybe my fellow poets, artists, and English teachers will join me in recognizing the power of metaphor. Metaphor makes my soul sing! The Secret Garden offers such a rich tapestry of lessons about love, loss, and living. Click here to read about what I’m learning from this story.
3. To connect with people. Theatre can do things television and wifi cannot. Theatre is about people. Living, breathing, right-there-in-front-of-you people! Theatre is transformative for those of us onstage and for the audience. Together we become theatre. Winter can be lonely. Go to the theatre. It’s always transformative for me in ways I couldn’t have predicted whether I’m onstage or in the audience. This is a show for all ages.
2. To support community. Supporting the arts in our communities is important. Community productions interest me far more than the big productions in the city. When I start to think about people in a place coming together, sharing their talents, and creating something to share with their neighbours, I get excited. This isn’t about a bottom line. This is about delighting you, our neighbour.
1. To receive the gift we have carefully prepared. A musical like this takes months of preparation. The cast and crew have dedicated their evenings and weekends to attend to every aspect of the show from designing costumes to lighting, from learning songs to accents, from building characters to building sets. We are all volunteers. We do this because we love the art of making theatre, but mostly we do this because we love to give to you. Over the years I’ve learned the people involved in community theatre feel really great when all the seats are filled by people enjoying the show.
See you there!
I’m thrilled to join the cast as a Dreamer in this winter’s production of The Secret Garden with Northumberland Players.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book was a childhood favourite of mine: haunting, magical, transformative. Even as a child I loved stories that showed a movement from darkness to light. The last show I directed as a high school drama teacher was a student version of “The Secret Garden,” so joining this production has special meaning to me on a couple levels.
Mark your calendars! Community theatre adds so much value to our towns. We are lucky that we have wonderful local theatre companies all offering amazing upcoming seasons.