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.

Wilson Timber Mart reveals new bathroom at Village Playhouse

009After taking over the lease of the Village Playhouse in the spring, the team from Hospice North Hastings started making a list of big and small repairs that were needed in the historic theatre. With a quick refresh done for the kitchen, Hospice Coordinator Heather Brough decided that the three tired-looking unisex bathrooms in the theatre also needed some love.

That’s when Kim and Nicole Trolley from Wilson Timber Mart offered their assistance.

Nicole Trolley is studying business administration and marketing at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Home for the summer and working at Wilson Timber Mart, Nicole loves interior design and she’s pretty committed to Hospice where she has spent time over the past three years working on the huge Hospice Gala. And in the midst of Gala craziness, Heather Brough says there is no better assistant than Nicole.


So it just made sense for Nicole, with the help of her mom, Kim, to take on the bathroom project. Heather gave a few guidelines to start with. The colour had to be bright and the theme had to have an art deco feel. With these suggestions, Nicole hit Pinterest and started looking through catalogues at Wilson Timber Mart.

The space is small so Nicole had a challenge when it came to deciding on what to do with the fixtures and fittings. She and her mom had been looking at suppliers’ websites and when they compared what they had found they had the same vanity at the top of each of their lists.

Nicole describes the vanity as compact but really rich in its look. The piece acts as an anchor and provides a nice contrast to the brightly painted walls. Getting creative, Nicole also created a whimsical sign that asks guests to remain seated during the performance.

Completed in time for the recent Jane Bunnett jazz concert, music lovers were delighted with the new bathroom because it looked great but also because it’s one more sign that things are coming back to life in the beautiful theatre.

“We are so thrilled with this bathroom,” said Hospice Coordinator, Heather Brough. “Nicole, Kim and Wilson Timber Mart have been so supportive in this new endeavour and they’re really making sure that this theatre remains as a vibrant part of the community.”

Nicole says she had a great time working on the bathroom. She estimates the refresh cost under $1,000 and she is really happy with the results.

“I love interior design and I really love doing things in the community,” Nicole explained. “We really wanted to help with this project and to do this for Hospice and for the Village Playhouse.”

The other two bathrooms in the Playhouse will be refreshed by other supporters in the community in the months ahead and Nicole Trolley is ready for some competition.

“I’m excited to see what the other bathrooms will look like and I’m sure our creation will stand-up against any competition.”

For additional details:

Barbara Shaw


Curtain rises on new Playhouse partnership

Playhouse-front-200x300After weeks of meetings, discussion and speculation, the Board of St. Paul’s United Church has made a decision to partner with Hospice North Hastings to operate the Village Playhouse. The church commends the Playhouse Operating Committee on their past eighteen years of management.

The Playhouse, owned by the United Church, has worked over the years with the Algonquin Arts Council (AAC) and the Playhouse Operating Committee (POC) to keep the historic building open but with the AAC decision to give up the long-term lease, new possibilities emerged.

“We love using the Village Playhouse for our monthly North of 7 Film Fest Movies and whenever we’re in the building it’s easy to start thinking about more uses, programming and exciting events,” explains Hospice coordinator, Heather Brough.

In addition to their regular Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) screenings, Hospice has run a one-day Doc Fest, featuring four renowned films and for Hockey Day in Canada, programming included a family film as well as featuring the Canadian film, “Goon.” Read more

Show your “Pride” at TIFF Tuesday

The-Pride-movie-posterThe North of 7 Film Fest protests the winter blahs with the screening of the riotous film “Pride” on Jan. 13.

In this newly released film from the UK, we’re transported back to Margaret Thatcher’s iron-fisted rule over Britain that prompted waves of political protest. “Pride” lands us right in the middle of an amazing response that occurred in 1984 when Welsh coal miners and London lesbians and gays found a common cause.

“Pride” boldly tells the story of this unlikely alliance led by out and proud Mark (Ben Schnetzer). With the help of his compatriots, more interested in partying than protesting, they form the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The joy of the film comes in waves of warmth and humour as the miners accept this bold, loud and colourful new support.

Get more

Christmas The Broads’ Way

What can I say but….what an amazing performance by these ladies. It never ceases to amaze me of just how talented the people in this area are. The voices on these ” Broads” brought laughter and tears to all that attended.

Joe Shulman
Joe Shulman

The emcee was Joe Shulman and it was my first time to meet him and yes I fell a wee bit in love with the man. His sense of humour was priceless and you could just feel his dedication to the night.

I was fortunate to be asked by Barb Shaw who was attending on Hospice North Hasting‘s  behalf to this concert. Hospice North Hastings is a non-profit community based organization. It is committed to providing support for terminally ill persons or those with life threatening illnesses, and their families. This service is provided by specially trained volunteers, working in conjunction with professional and family caregivers.”

Bill Kilpatrick was there representing North Hastings Community Trust. If you are not aware of this Trust, they provide non-judgemental, confidential services to clients who need help to meet their basic needs fir food, shelter, heat and transportation.

My one question is …..what is with all the “hugs” Barb & Bill? Sorry … but Bill you have to be quicker than that to get me…lol


The “Broads” of the night were Mary Burbudge, Valerie Switzer, Linda Walt, Cate Meder, Hannah Crawford, Elizabeth Emmerson, Dianne Winamall, Heather Johns, Caitlin O’Connor, CT Rowe and Jaqueline McLean.

The concert featured a special performance of Dvorak’s 3 Romantic Pieces performed by CT Rowe and Cate Meder, as well as each of the “Broads” performing their favorite Christmas Music – everything from ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’ to ‘I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’. The Grand Finale was a selection of Handel’s Messiah ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’

Many thanks to the Broads for sharing their love of music, and for making a difference for the community.


The Broads


I’d like to give a shout out to the ladies of St. Paul’s Church for the treats at intermission as well as the sponsor of the night G.I.S. Tech Spot