by Keith Tomasek, October 18, 2018
The Blyth Festival 2019 playbill is out and it promises lots of laughs as well as a deep dive into the impact of the Elizabeth Wettlaufer murders on the community.
Speaking at the annual fundraising launch Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt said “This will be a season on an epic scale, a season of triumphs, trials, tolerance, team work…and…tusks.”
Here’s the lineup:
June 12 to August 10
By Sean Dixon
It’s one of the biggest stories in the history of South Western Ontario. Literally.
From playwright Sean Dixon (“The Wilberforce Hotel,” “Lost Heir,” “The Outdoor Donnellys”), comes the story of one of the biggest icons in show business, the one, the only, Jumbo the Elephant.
A cast of larger-than-life characters, including PT Barnum himself, the elephant trainer Matthew Scott, Bearded Annie Jones, and a world-famous taxidermist, fill this riveting play that brings Ontario history to life.
June 26 to August 10
By Colleen Curran
In celebration of their 45th anniversary, the Festival is bringing back one of the sweetest, most requested revivals in their history. “Cake-Walk” by Colleen Curran is a delicious comedy that premiered at the Blyth Festival in 1984 and went on to international acclaim.
In honour of Canada Day, a small town decides to hold a cake baking competition at the local fairgrounds and everyone from the community is lining up for the chance to win a dream vacation and county-wide bragging rights.
With five hilarious roles for women there is much to look forward to in Blyth’s casting announcement.
Team on the Hill
By Dan Needles
July 31 to September 5
“Team on the Hill” combines all of Needles’ wit and unparalleled observation of farm life into a rich, funny, and moving family drama about life on the home-farm, complete with succession struggles.
As son and grandson wrestle over the future of the land, a developer with motivated investors and blueprints for a golf course arrives to complicate matters. Are there ever enough acres for father and son to work side by side?
In the Wake of Wettlaufer
August 7 to September 6
Conceived by Kelly McIntosh, written by Kelly McIntosh with Gil Garratt and others.
Between August of 2007 and September 2016, nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered eight people in her charge and attempted to take the lives of six others.
The testimony of colleagues, patients, union reps, physicians, surviving families who lost loved ones, and victims who survived her attempts, has revealed damning truths about this serial killer and the environment she exploited, right here in South Western Ontario.
The play follows a group of siblings who are in the process of moving their elderly father into long-term care. The care home where their father has been placed turns out to have been the same as one Wettlaufer killed in. After the case breaks, and the confession has been made public, the siblings become deeply concerned with the details of the small-town murders, and ultimately attend the inquiry and take in as many of the commission’s proceedings as they can.
Bed and Breakfast
By Mark Crawford
September 18 to 28
In five short years, Mark Crawford has gone from a never-produced playwright making his debut with Blyth Festival as the author of 2014’s Stag and Doe to being one of the most produced playwrights in all of Canada.
“Bed and Breakfast” is a slap-down, drag ’em out comedy about being truly “out” in small-town Ontario; a heartfelt knee-slapper about the secrets that we keep, and the sometimes challenging joy of choosing a place to call home.
Passes are now on sale for the 2019 season.
Purchase by phone 1-877-862-5984 or online at blythfestival.com.
Save up to 23% over single ticket prices by purchasing before Dec. 25.