Theatre Baddeck headed for centre stage at the Bell
Local, aspiring actor Mary Austin joins this year’s cast; company will also offer free performances of original Mabel Bell play
After successful runs of ‘Murder at the Inverary Inn’ and ‘Harvest’ at the Masonic Hall this summer, local professional theatre company Theatre Baddeck is on the move to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site (AGBNHS) to perform Young Ladies of Baddeck Club, September 8 to 24.
Co-artistic Director Christy Macrae-ziss says Theatre Baddeck is grateful for the partnership with Parks Canada, the Alexander Graham Bell Foundation and the Alexander Graham Bell Association that has made this year’s move to the museum possible.
“We couldn’t dream of a more appropriate space to perform Young Ladies,” said Macrae between rehearsals in Baddeck. “Having the support of Parks Canada, the Foundation and the Association has been amazing.”
Aynsley Macfarlene, former AGBNHS Site Superintendent and Alexander Graham Bell Foundation and Alexander Graham Bell Museum Association Board Chair expressed similar sentiments.
“We [the Foundation and the Association] are very pleased to be working with Theatre Baddeck in bringing these performances to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
The celebration of the contributions of Mrs. Bell through this art format is so appropriate to her legacy. To stage this play at the National Historic Site ties together all the elements in a wonderful way.”
Written by Macraeziss and Co-artistic Directors Hannah Ziss, the comedy centres around attempts by the Young Ladies of Baddeck Club to celebrate the village’s incorporation in 1908. The show draws its inspiration from the real-life club that Mabel Bell founded in 1891 to “stimulate the acquisition of general knowledge and promote sociability”. In 1922, the group was renamed the Alexander Graham Bell Club shortly after his death.
This is the third year the company is performing Young Ladies, but Macrae is quick to point out that there is something new in store for everyone, including the introduction of two new cast members playing the roles of Bessie and Shirley.
“I did a comedy with Darwin Lyons (playing Bessie) several years ago and have always considered her for this role. Her schedule never allowed her to join us until now,” explained Macrae-ziss.
In addition to Lyons, Theatre Baddeck is welcoming Middle River resident and emerging actor Mary Austin to the role of Shirley. The company got to know Austin last year when she sang musical numbers at the beginning of each act of the show alongside fiddler Joe Macmaster.
“Mary is at the beginning of her acting career and we love being able to provide this opportunity. Two new cast members and the new location ensures a fresh approach for those thinking that they’ve seen it before and need not come again!"
Another newcomer to Theatre Baddeck this fall is stage manager Sharon Mcintyre of Englishtown who has an extensive technical theatre background. Deryck Chapman, of Baddeck, will continue as Technical and Lighting Director as he was for the first two shows of the summer.
To purchase tickets in advance, stop by the Victoria County Welcome Centre or visit www. theatrebaddeck.com. With a larger venue and longer performance run, Theatre Baddeck is looking for additional ushers to help with the show. If you are interested in volunteering and seeing the show at no cost, email info@ theatrebaddeck.com or phone 647-222-1053.
Mary Austin (right) sings an interlude during Young Ladies of Baddeck Club in 2016 with fiddler Joe Macmaster (left). Austin will join the cast of Young Ladies this year in the role of Shirley. Photo by Andrew Brooks / The Victoria Standard.