Blyth Festival – something old, something new in 2018
The Pigeon King
by The Company
May 30 to June 15
The Pigeon King proved so successful last summer, that it returns in 2018. Artist Director Gil Garratt was excellent in the role of Arlan Galbraith in this true story. Pigeon King International became a massive empire, worth tens of millions of dollars, only to collapse in a bankruptcy filing of epic proportions. Finally convicted of fraud in a Waterloo Court, Arlan Galbraith was sentenced to seven years, for his preposterous Pigeon Ponzi scheme. Full of original music, show stopping performances by the ensemble, and an incredible scope of real-life research by the actors themselves, The Pigeon King is a quintessential Blyth play.
The New Canadian Curling Club
by Mark Crawford
June 20 to August 23 – World Premiere
From Glencoe’s own Mark Crawford, the playwright who brought us the smash hits The Birds and the Bees and Stag and Doe, comes a hilarious new comedy with a rich heart. The essential premise is a small town in rural Southwestern Ontario with an ice rink, a refugee resettlement program, and a “Learn to Curl” class. In an effort to welcome sponsored Syrian refugees to the town, the municipality offers a free, introductory “Learn to Curl” program, open to anyone. Everyone who signs up happens to be a newcomer from across the globe. The duty to teach “Learn to Curl” falls on the custodian/Zamboni driver, Stuart, a former champion curler, and unfortunately, a man with some opinions about immigrants. What follows is a hilarious and inspiring story of an unlikely group of would-be athletes.
Judith: Memories of a Lady Pig Farmer
by Heather Davies
June 27 to August 11 – World Premiere
Based on the novel by Aritha van Herk
Adapted for the stage by Heather Davies
Based on Aritha van Herk’s award-winning 1978 novel, Judith, this is a play about a young woman who leaves the home farm (a pig operation) to move to the big city. Her parents plead with her to stay and take over the farm, but Judith wants none of it; she sees nothing but bright lights in her fantasy future. When her parents die suddenly, and the big city turns out not to be what she anticipated, Judith returns to her home county and uses her inheritance to start out on her own. With her own patch of land, a barn full of sows, and memories of her childhood, Judith rediscovers the true meaning of home.
1837: The Farmers’ Revolt
by Rick Salutin and Theatre Passe Muraille
August 1 to Sept. 15
Before the Blyth Festival was born, before the community saved the building, the first group of actors who rehearsed in Blyth Memorial Community Hall had to sign waivers in case the roof fell in on their heads. Well, 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt was the show those actors were working on at the time, with a young, upstart, hardly known, and heavily bearded director named Paul Thompson.
This is an epic Canadian story about a rebellion whose reverberations helped build the very Canada we know today. At its core, this is a play about farmers who distrust the government of the day, and rise up to take them down. Fighting against a class of entitled would-be aristocrats, the farmers in the play are frontier people, eager to break the bonds of tyranny and forge their own country, free of British rule, and featuring incredible turns by the likes of local historic titans Van Egmond, Tiger Dunlop, and William Lyon MacKenzie. Gil Garratt says, “this is a play that was born here, and helped inspire the creation of the Festival, and yet has never been produced on our Mainstage.”
Wing Night At The Boot
by The Company
August 8 to Sept. 15 – World Premiere
Working from local stories and memories of the now infamous Rubber Boot, we are creating a show that both celebrates and lampoons 141 years of the Blyth Inn. From Michael Ondaatje’s famous poem, The Concessions (which features a mid-70s portrait of the place), to the snowmobilers in the winter, to the Huron Idol karaoke contest, live bands, bubbly waitresses, crusty bartenders, and dollar draft night, Wing Night at the Boot promises a familiar portrait of an all too familiar place.