Canada’s Sto­ry­teller com­ing to Stanstead

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

ing to the Town­ships, this time to the fa­mous Haskell Opera House, in Stanstead.

Reached at his ho­tel room in Hal­i­fax, Mr. Mclean ex­plained why he was com­ing to Stanstead to put on a show. “We were down at North Hat­ley last sum­mer and it’s a beau­ti­ful part of the world. I was raised in Mon­treal but we al­ways went to the Lau­ren­tians so I wasn’t fa­mil­iar with the Town­ships. The sec­ond fac­tor is that we wanted to do some­thing about the bor­der,” he said. When asked if he would look at is­sues like the tight­ened se­cu­rity, Mr. Mclean com­mented: “I don’t think those prob­lems are longterm. Storms blow through towns, some­times through our lives, but I want to speak about deeper things, abid­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween friends. I’m talk­ing about the two coun­tries. We have a lot to learn from each other; some­times we pick up bad traits but we can pick up the good stuff too. There’s a con­ver­sa­tion to be had be­tween Canada and the United States, there’s been a lot be­tween politi­cians, but it’s time the con­ver­sa­tion ex­panded to in­clude oth­ers. I’m happy that our show can con­trib­ute to that con­ver­sa­tion.”

Asked if it was un­usual for the Vinyl Café pro­duc­tion team to tape shows in small com­mu­ni­ties, the widely ad­mired sto­ry­teller replied: “No. We do con­certs in big cities, all the ma­jor cen­tres, but some­times the great sto­ries are in the smaller towns. Work­ing for the CBC, it is our job to re­flect the coun­try to it­self. And in small lo­ca­tions we can touch on the big themes, like our re­la­tion­ship with the United States.”

It’s been sev­eral decades since Mr. Mclean has been to Stanstead. “As a school­boy I played hockey and foot­ball against Stanstead Col­lege. That was the last time I was there,” he ad­mit­ted. Be­fore tap­ing the two shows at the Haskell Opera House, sched­uled for Wed­nes­day,

May 23rd and Thurs­day, May 24th, 7 pm each night, the host and the show’s pro­ducer, Jess Mil­ton, will spend some time in Stanstead. “We al­ways spend a few days get­ting our sea legs, get­ting to know the town. I wan­der around and talk to peo­ple.”

“We go there a few days ahead so we can get a clear picture of what life is like in that town,” ex­plained Ms. Mil­ton, the pro­ducer of the show for the last nine years. It will take a full day for the crew to get the Opera House ready for the tap­ing. “We ar­rive at about 10:30 in the morn­ing to be ready for the 7 o’clock show. The nice peo­ple at the Haskell have been very help­ful send­ing us pic­tures of the in­te­rior and mea­sure­ments so we can pre­pare. And we’re lucky to have a re­ally tal­ented sound di­rec­tor, Bill Her­ault who has been with us for fif­teen years, and light­ing di­rec­tor Lu­cas Si­mon­etto. Stu­art and I are re­ally ex­cited about com­ing to Stanstead. We love the East­ern Town­ships and I’m look­ing for­ward to rid­ing my bike there be­cause I’m train­ing for a bike race,” she added. The pro­ducer had this to say about why the show is com­ing to Stanstead: “We were so in­trigued by the Opera House which strad­dles the bor­der. It runs right through the Opera House with the stage in Canada and the au­di­ence in the United States. It was built in a dif­fer­ent time and we’re lucky to still have that.”

Af­ter tap­ing the two shows, one ra­dio show is cre­ated from the two shows. That show will air on CBC Ra­dio Two on July 21st, 9:05 am, and on CBC Ra­dio One on July 22nd, 12:05 pm, and on July 24th, 11:05 pm.

Mr. Mclean has been busy writ­ing a spe­cial ‘Dave and Mor­ley’ story for the Stanstead shows. “It will be about Dave’s ad­ven­ture at the bor­der,” he said. The mu­si­cal guest will be Ot­tawa mu­si­cian Kath­leen Ed­wards who very re­cently ap­peared on the

show. “We’re look­ing for­ward to in­tro­duc­ing Kath­leen Ed­wards to the coun­try. I think it will be a spe­cial night: Kath­leen is a top per­former and I’m very pleased with my Dave story, it’s pretty funny. I think it will be a night we will all en­joy!”

Fa­mous for his abil­ity to put into words the big and small things that make us Cana­dian, adding mean­ing and value to our ev­ery­day lives, Stu­art Mclean’s visit to Stanstead is sure to be re­mem­bered for years and may even be a nice ‘shot in the arm’. The tim­ing also seems good for a dis­cus­sion about the im­por­tance of friend­ship.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to buy tick­ets con­tact the Haskell Box Of­fice at 819 876-2471 ext. 205, or Cata­mount Arts at 888 757-5559, or check the Vinyl Café’s web­site.

Photo Llia Hors­burgh

Stu­art Mclean is bring­ing his Vinyl Café ra­dio show to Stanstead’s Haskell Opera House on May 23rd and May 24th.

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