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Curtain Closes on Community Run Summer Theatre

Playhouse-front-200x300(Source: Bancroft Summer Theatre ) After 24 years of building a live theatre program at the Village Playhouse, Bancroft Summer Theatre regrets to inform its patrons and sponsors that a community based summer theatre season will not be offered this season at the Village Playhouse.

While new management at the venue has made great strides in restoring the building, it has come at a price that is no longer affordable to community theatre groups and its members. “Celebrating our 25th anniversary in the dark is a stark reminder how money almost always trumps culture”, stated Daniel Boileau speaking on behalf of Bancroft Summer Theatre (BST).

Over the past 24 years, the venue was restored with original tiered seating and set up with state of the art lighting and sound equipment to improve the live theatre experience. With the help of provincials grants obtained through the Algonquin Arts Council and the founding members of Bancroft Theatre Guild and Theatrics’ Summer Theatre, the Village Playhouse became a local hub for live theatre, seating up to 190 patrons per evening for two months every summer.

The annual event provided community hours to local high school students and helped launch several careers for students who caught the theatre bug. Students were able to receive training in running a snack bar, selling tickets and running a theatre facility. Actors were encouraged to practice their craft while new tech people worked with professional lighting and sound staff to hone their skills. (It could take a pro up to 3 days to fully program the lighting board for a single production.) Local restaurants and shops benefitted with crowds of people coming into town for dinner prior to a show. Sponsors were able to reach summer cottagers easily and inexpensively. Members of St. Pauls Church raised funds by preparing pre-show dinner packages. Kids got to perform for the first time on a big stage. New talent arose from events such as The 24 Hour Theatre Project introduced by our very own November Theatre.

The Village Playhouse has served as a real community based venue which instilled a sense of cooperation, social skills and cultural growth for a current group of approximately 150 locals as well as past members who envisioned a real theatre in our little village. Kim Crawford, Chairperson of the not-for-profit Bancroft Summer Theatre and the Algonquin Arts Council, added “It is so unfortunate that progress has to be made at the expense of community. While there have been great changes and upgrades to The Village Playhouse, these improvements have come at the expense of our local theatre groups.”

Kevin Newman, President of the Bancroft Theatre Guild said “With 24 years of theatre infrastructure now inaccessible to community groups we have been forced to start from scratch”. People involved in theatre are taking this in stride and planning for the future quietly. “If 150 kids on ten hockey teams were to lose their ice time at the community arena there would be a riot in town”, added Daniel Boileau. “Theatre people take these events as a challenge because as we all know, everything changes”. Watch for a newly
re-invented, re-invigorated theatre scene to appear in the near future. To our 2,500 plus summer theatre patrons and many sponsors we offer our thanks for your past and continued support.

The Greatest Debate Ever Told

Bancroft is a cCroft-Talks-EPS-6-300x225ommunity that is rich with stories and each month, some of those stories are shared live on the stage of the Village Playhouse at The ‘Croft Talks. This month, a Christian, a Jew and an atheist will tackle questions about life the universe and everything as they participate in “The Greatest Debate Ever Told.”

Host Barb Shaw says the unscripted show is always worth attending.

“I invite community members to share their stories, their insights and then we get the audience to jump in,” Shaw says. “It’s really unpredictable which is why I think it ends up being such a rich experience.”

Guests for the March 29th show include Joey Shulman, Bill Kilpatrick and Rev. Lynn Watson and they can’t wait to debate the role of God in our lives and in our community. Read More

Here is a snippet from Rev. Lynn Watson’s blog on the upcoming debate.

IT’S NOT A DOG FIGHT! IT’S A GOD FIGHT!

 

What do you think of when I say the word: evangelical?  I’m pretty sure many of you will call forth images of too-white, toothy grins, $5,000 suits, and that bitter after-taste that comes from ingesting an artificial sweetener.  God is spelled with a “w”: Gawd! and Jesus has 3 syllables: Jaysuzuh!  And you remember what your mother always said: “Never trust a woman whose hair is bigger than her butt!”

It’s time to redeem the word, and the Outreach Committee of St. Paul’s United Church is trying to do just that by sponsoring the next Croft-Talks where a Jew, a Christian and an Atheist walk into a theatre…  sounds like the opening line to a bad joke; it isn’t, but hopefully we’ll get a few laughs.

Read More

This Hour Has 22 Minutes Star coming to Hospice North Hastings

Cathy-Jones-Final-page-001-232x300Canadian cultural icon, comedienne and one of the funniest women on television, Cathy Jones, is set to bring her one-woman show, “Stranger to Hard Work” to the Bancroft Village Playhouse on Thursday, February 18.

In this new show, Cathy shares her unique perspective on a variety of topics from food to money and the troublesome people in her life. It’s a funny, thought provoking look at what she’s learned in life so far.

Master of a thousand voices, Cathy Jones is a Canadian television icon and an audience favourite for an unprecedented 25 years. She’s a founding member of the award-winning comedy troupe CODCO, past member of the Wonderful Grand Band, and has starred in every season of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Cathy is as popular with her peers as she is with fans, winning an incredible 18 Gemini Awards for her work as a writer and performer. Cathy is a passionate advocate for the environment, a Buddhist, a mother, and a proud grandmother who works and writes from her eco-home on the East Coast.

“This is an incredible opportunity to see this Canadian icon in such an intimate setting,” says Playhouse Manager Heather Brough. “We can’t wait to see Cathy on our stage and because we like to get up close and personal with our favourite Canadian stars, we’ve invited Cathy to do a live audience Q &A right after the performance and she agreed!”

Tickets are now available at Hospice House, Posies, Harvest Moon or online atboxofficebancroft.com for $35 plus HST. This is a licensed event and all proceeds go to the Bancroft Village Playhouse Repair Fund. Please note, this is Cathy Jones so there is an “adult language” advisory in place.

Barbara Shaw

NowPlanB

613.334.4164

bjshaw@sympatico.ca

Legends ready to answer questions at ‘Croft Talks LIVE

Croft-Talks-Legends-Bancroft OntThere are some people that just seem to be a foundational part of our community and three of them have agreed to join ‘Croft Talks LIVE host Barb Shaw on Jan. 26 at the Village Playhouse to talk about how they became legends in North Hastings.

The January line-up features local Funeral Director Tim Baragar and while many know Tim for the support, comfort and care he provides to those at difficult times, he’s moving into a new role as a political advocate.

Over the past year Tim has been doing interviews and spreading the word about the provincial Estate Assessment Tax. Newly rolled-out at the start of 2015, Tim has been getting some traction educating people and pushing the Wynne government to consider changes to the tax that targets people in their deepest moments of grief and despair.

Joining Tim Baragar to share stories is Nan McGhee. Nan will be making time in her busy travel schedule to share stories from her CJNH days, insights from her council adventures and she’s also going to give the audience a sneak peek into some of her current projects and plans.

“I am really looking forward to interviewing both Tim and Nan,” says host Barb Shaw. “They are fabulous storytellers and they truly could each have their own show. I am also thrilled to have Joey Shulman returning for another visit. Joey was such a hit at the last show that we really needed him to come back – and thankfully he agreed! He’ll be doing a community update for us and joining everyone for a Q & A segment. I really think these three legends are going to deliver a great experience for our audience.”

‘Croft Talks LIVE is a monthly talk show hosted at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft. The show is recorded and released as a podcast but being part of the live, interactive show is something you don’t want to miss.

‘Croft Talks LIVE is sponsored this month by Deuce Tattoos and the Bickert Family and Marlow Bickert will be on stage to do the sponsor’s welcome. For those who don’t know Marlow, this future legend managed to steal the last show from the comfort of the audience with his tough questions and fabulous humour.

“Croft Talks LIVE is produced by Plan B Communications Consulting in partnership with the Bancroft Village Playhouse. Tickets are $5 and the door and the bar open at 6pm on Jan. 26.

For additional details:

Barbara Shaw

bjshaw@sympatico.ca

613.334.4164

 

Trip of a Lifetime

photo of winnersBetty and John Pilgrim enjoyed their trip of a lifetime to Ireland compliments of WestJet after Betty won the Gift of Flight at last year’s Fall Hike for Hospice. All hikers who raised $1,000 or more were entered to win this great prize. It was a great day for Betty to win because it was also her 80th birthday and her family joined her on the hike to celebrate. Visiting Ireland has always been a dream for Betty and we’re happy that this dream came true. Travelling with Betty and John were some much needed yellow Hospice umbrellas.

The Fall Hike for Hospice runs on October 4th and for those who raise $1,000 or more in pledges this year, Hospice North Hastings is offering a chance to win a one-week stay at an ocean front cottage in PEI.