Spec­tac­u­lar sea­son be­gins

Fes­ti­val Hall’s 2017-18 sea­son prom­ises to be the best yet

The Daily Observer - - NEWS - CÉLINA IP CIp@post­media.com

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/

PHOTO BY IAN VATCHER

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.

PHOTO BY TED VAN BOORT

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.

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