Spectacular season begins
Festival Hall’s 2017-18 season promises to be the best yet
The 2017-2018 Festival Hall season promises to be one that will delight, humour and inspire.
This year’s performance series has more than 15 acts booked so far, with many more to be announced after Christmas.
The current lineup is made up of a mixed bag of performances, from tribute acts to Christmas shows to comedy performances to kid’s entertainers.
“It’s Festival Hall for the Performing Arts, so we have everything from symphony to dance to comedy to music,” said Festival Hall managing director Rick Wharton.
Some of the names set to take the stage this year are The Box (a new-wave band from Montreal), Ennis Sisters, John McDermott, the Streetlight Theatre Company’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Anne Marie Scheffler’s ‘Suddenly Mommy’ comedy show.
Along with the new acts, Festival Hall will continue on its tradition of showcasing the talents of the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra who will be putting on a “We Are Canada” concert in honour of Canada’ 150th,
their classic Christmas special and many other unique performances.
By bringing in different genres of musicians and other artists’ acts – ranging from music to comedy to dance or theatre – Wharton said that it’s a win-win for both the audience members and the performers.
Wharton added he’s also been working on reaching out to more local groups to expand upon local partnerships and the community’s involvement with the theatre.
“The backbone of Festival Hall is it’s a community theatre, so it presents and helps nurture community shows. For example, we have four different dance troops in here in June and they’re representative of the whole Ottawa Valley. We’ve never had four dance troops before, so now we’re at full capacity for all of June and May,” said Wharton. “The Kiwanis Music Festival is bigger
and better and it runs four weeks in February and March and that’s all about the community. We also have different theatre companies like Streetlight Theatre who are renting the theatre this year. So we’re building on these partnerships that we have with Kiwanis, Equinoxe School, Algonquin College, with all of the dance troops and with the theatre companies.”
Wharton has also teamed up with a few local churches to put on a unique variety show that will feature comedy, improv, praise and songs. The event, which is titled ‘A Christian Unique Event: Funny In A Good Way,” will also serve Wharton’s comedic return to the stage for the first time in two years.
“All the churches in Pembroke are going to be involved and they’ve hired me and two other comedians from Toronto’s Second City to provide some clean and fun comedy,” said Wharton. “Everyone is coming to celebrate and it’s about praise and good times.”
Wharton expressed that he hopes to see the theatre grow to become an even bigger entertainment hotspot in the Ottawa Valley over the next five years as he works to engage more people with their local theatre and spread the word about the power and beauty of the arts.
“I am so passionate about this place as people will tell you, so I want to protect this place and I want to make sure that it grows. It has already grown a lot in the last five years as we’ve gone from a couple hundred to a couple thousand to almost 20,000 people a year who are coming in the hall throughout the year,” said Wharton. “Where it’s come in the last five years and where it will go in the next five year, I think this will be amazing. There’s new curtains, there’s new lights. there’s a new stage and the next step is to replace these seats that have been here since the 1980s. I just want to make it even bigger and better, and I think we’re on the right track.”
For scheduling and ticket information about this year’s performances, visit http://www.festhall.ca/ calendar/
Teresa, Maureen and Karen - the Juno-Award winning Ennis Sisters from St. John’s Nfld., are gracing the Festival Hall stage on Nov. 30 with a Christmasthemed performance.
New-wave band The Box will be bring some new music along with their bag of hits from the 1980s to Festival Hall on Nov. 11.