Tag Archives: Gracie Finley

Down Home at the Watermark

Majority of Actors in Watermark Summer Season from PEI

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Watermark Theatre is delighted to announce that 5 out of the 8 actors cast in their 2020 summer season are from PEI. Joining the already announced Gracie Finley on stage this summer will be fellow Islanders Rebecca Parent, Justin Shaw, Kassinda Bulger, and Devin MacKinnon. “I hold general auditions on the Island every December”, says Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, “every year I try to cast as many local actors as possible but this summer I was thrilled to find so many Islanders that fit the parts I was looking for”.

Joining the slate of PEI actors will be Wally MacKinnon from New Brunswick, as well as Jonathan Ho and Jonathan Widdifield, both based in Toronto. All the actors will be performing in “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie and “The Trip to Bountiful” by Horton Foote all summer long as well as participating in The Play Reading Series and teaching acting workshops in the Teenage Acting Conservatory.

Rebecca Parent (from Stratford / Charlottetown) returns for her seventh season at the Watermark. Previous credits at the theatre include: Eliza Doolittle in “Pygmalion”, Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”, Marianne Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility”, and Laura Cheveley in “An Ideal Husband”. She was also the co-creator of “What to Wear to the Birth of a Nation”, a play commissioned for the 2014 Charlottetown Celebrations. Islanders know Rebecca well from playing Anne Shirley in the musical “Anne and Gilbert” at the Guild in Charlottetown.

Justin Shaw (from Cardigan) is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Acting Program, and a past performer in the University of Prince Edward Island’s Vagabond Productions. Island audiences may remember Justin from “Salt-Water Moon” (The Guild Summer Festival 2019), Lorne Elliott’s “Culture Shock” (Harmony House Theatre), “The Wrestling Play” (Island Fringe 2017-Patron’s Pick Award), and in Popalopalots Live Improv Comedy. As a comedian, Shaw has performed across Canada, has opened for Mike MacDonald, and won the 2016 Comedyworks Triple Crown Award.

Kassinda Bulger (from O’Leary) is excited to make her professional theatrical debut with the Watermark. After completing her Minor in Theatre Studies at UPEI, she spent some time at both George Brown Theatre School and Holland College’s School of Performing Arts. Past credits include: Claire from “While We’re Young”, Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet”, Jean from “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” (UPEI Vagabond Productions), “Naivety in Nutshell” (The Fantastic Space- A Theatre Company), “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Abridged” (The King’s Playhouse), and “Meanwhile in Ward 16: A Charlottetown Soap Opera” (The Guild).

Devin MacKinnon (from Charlottetown / Hunter River) attained a BA from UPEI before he began studying acting at The National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, graduating in 2015. Select credits include: “A Christmas Carol” (Theatre Calgary), “The Tempest” (The Shakespeare Company), “Liberation Days”, “The Mary Celeste”, “Nothing Less!”, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Robert Merritt Award Nomination), “In This Light”, “Frankenstein”, “The Ruins” (Two Planks and A Passion) “The Comedy of Errors”, “Paradise Lost” (Stratford Festival), and “Crime Does Not Pay” (Betty Mitchell Award Nomination – Downstage)”.

Wally MacKinnon is an award-winning actor, director and teacher. In his 30+ year career, he has performed in theatre productions across Canada including the very first season of the Watermark in 2008, “Village Wooing” and “The Importance of Being Ernest”. Other credits include: “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “The Hobbit” (Theatre New Brunswick), “Ben Hur”, “Goodnight Bird” (Festival Antigonish), Merritt Award winning play “KAMP”, “Flying on Her Own” (EFT/Neptune, NS), “Jacob’s Wake”, “Miles From Home”, “The Diligent River Daughter” (Ships Company Theatre, NS), “The Foursome”, “Who’s Under Where” (CPT Alberta), “Gaslight Follies” (Palace Grand Theatre, Dawson City), and “Birds and the Bees” (Miracle Theatre, BC).

Jonathan Ho made his professional theatre debut as Mike Chang in “The New Canadian Curling Club” (Alberta Theatre Projects) last year, reprising the role in Theatre Orangeville’s production earlier this year. In the realm of
film and television, he is most known for his role as Brother Zachariah
on “Shadowhunters” (Freeform), and has also appeared on “Suits” (USA), “The Romanoffs” (Amazon), and “Murdoch Mysteries” (CBC).

This summer will be Jonathan Widdifield’s fourth season at the Watermark having appeared in “An Ideal Husband”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Rainmaker”, “The Lion in Winter”, and “The Shore Field”. Recent credits include: “Cloud” (Scapegoat Theatre Collective). Damian/TheDevil in “Chasse-Galerie” (Red One Theatre Collective & The Storefront Theatre – Dora Award for Best Ensemble). Three seasons with The Shaw Festival: “Doctor’s Dilemma”, “The Devil’s Disciple”, “John Bull’s Other Island”, and “Born Yesterday”. Five seasons with the Classical Theatre Project: Hamlet in “Hamlet”, Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet” (Dora Nominated for Best Performance in TYA). Danny in “Danny, King of the Basement” (Roseneath Theatre), and “Haunted” (Summerworks Festival).

For more information, or to set up an interviews with any of our actors please contact Andrea Surich at 902‐963‐3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Theatre is a proud member of the PTN (Professional Theatre Network of PEI).

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

 

Finley Back On Floorboards

Gracie Finley to star in Watermark Theatre’s 2020 Summer Season!

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Watermark Theatre’s Artistic Director Robert Tsonos and General Manager Andrea Surich are proud to announce the 2020 Summer Season, featuring PEI’s very ownGracie Finley in key roles.

Watermark’s 13th season will include the classic murder mystery The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie and the heartwarming The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote. Our popular music series, now renamed The Watermark Music Series returns for another year, and the Watermark Play Reading Series will once again focus on new plays in development by PEI Playwrights.

Agatha Christie’s legendary ‘whodunit’ The Mousetrap is the world’s longest running play, keeping audiences in suspense from the first moment to the last since 1952. Mysterious twists and thrilling turns abound when a group of strangers stranded in a guesthouse during a snowstorm discover that a murderer is in their midst. Is it one of the suspicious newlyweds or the spinster with the curious background? Perhaps it’s the architect, the retired Army major, or the strange man running from his past? Everyone is a suspect and everybody is a potential victim. Enjoy an evening of exhilarating intrigue as Agatha Christie’s greatest mystery unfolds to its surprising conclusion.

Written in 1953, Horton Foote’s moving play The Trip to Bountiful tells the story of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who longs to escape the cramped Houston apartment where she lives with her protective son and his authoritarian wife. Carrie dreams of making one final journey to Bountiful, Texas, her childhood home. With great determination and daring, Carrie makes her arduous journey back to Bountiful. This American treasure is a masterpiece of the power of childhood, memory, and the undeniable, universal yearning for the warmth of home and family. Playing the role of Carrie Watts, the part that won Geraldine Page the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress, is PEI’s very own Gracie Finley.

This will be Gracie’s 6th season acting at the Watermark, having performed in The Shore Field, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion in Winter, Romeo and Juliet, An Ideal Husband, Blithe Spirit, The Glass Menagerie, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, and Barefoot in the Park. Raised in Charlottetown with summers spent in Alberton, Gracie is well known to PEI audiences, having played Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical from 1968 to 1974 and again in 1984 to 1985. Gracie will also be playing the part of the querulous Mrs. Boyle in The Mousetrap.

For the 3rd year in a row, the Play Reading Series will showcase new work in development by PEI playwrights. A selection process will begin in the next few months to choose three new, unpublished, and unproduced plays to be read by our company of actors during the month of August. A list of plays and playwrights will be released in the Spring of 2020.

The Watermark Music Series returns, curated once again by Rob Oakie. As always, Island musical artists interpret iconic songwriters in a way that you have never heard before. Stay tuned for our list of songwriters and Island musicians to be announced very soon.

Season Ticket Passes are now on sale at early bird rates until December 31st, 2019.
$108 for 4 tickets
$150 for 6 tickets
902-963-3963 or visit http://www.watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Theatre strives to produce the finest professional theatre on the Island. By producing and presenting theatre, music and artwork, our goal is to enrich and contribute to the community in which we work, the province in which we live, and the Canadian theatre community to which we belong. Watermark believes in the development of the next generation of theatre artists and arts administrators through mentorship and professional training. Plays are chosen from the international repertoire of classic and modern classic plays that are at least 50 years old and Canadian plays at least 30 years old. In all of our programming we strive for artistic excellence and a diversity of voices, while endeavouring to inform, to affect, and to engage with our audience.

Watermark is a proud member of the PTN (Professional Theatre Network of PEI).

For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Read All About It

On Wednesday, July 5 at 4:30 p.m., Meet Me at Green Gables and Rideau rouge et pignons verts, published by Bouton d’or Acadie, will be launched in Studio 1 at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Written by Michel Bourque and illustrated by Jean-Luc Trudel, the two children’s books – one publication in English and one in French – tell the story of Gracie Finley and Glenda Landry, who played Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical TM.

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“It’s great that the books are being launched where the story actually took place – at Confederation Centre of the Arts,” reflects Prince Edward Island author Michel Bourque. “This is where Gracie and Glenda’s dreams of performing on stage all came true. And what a great way to celebrate Canada 150!”

 Gracie Finley played the part of Anne from 1968 to 1974 and in 1984 and 1985. She remains the youngest to be cast in the title role of The Charlottetown Festival musical and was the first native Islander to do so. Glenda Landry played Diana between 1970 and 1991 and also played many other Avonlea characters in the long-running musical, including Mrs. Rachel Lynde and Mrs. Pye. Gracie and Glenda have played the parts of Anne and Diana more times than anyone else and have delighted fans around the world, from Japan to New York City, and at home on P.E.I.

In 1984, Michel Bourque had the chance to see Gracie and Glenda play the roles of Anne and Diana at The Charlottetown Festival. Thirty years later, he attended an event at the Centre where the two actors shared their memories of the Guinness Record-holding musical. Inspired by their beautiful friendship on stage and off, Michel started writing a children’s story as a tribute to both of them. “I love Jean-Luc’s illustrations!” enthuses Michel. “They beautifully capture the essence of Gracie and Glenda’s heartwarming story,” he adds.

 This is not the first time that Quebec illustrator Jean-Luc Trudel has created illustrations to tell the story of a well-known Island artist. In fact, he illustrated the book Le pit à papa, inspired by the childhood story of singer-songwriter Angèle Arsenault. The picture book Ma petite boule d’amour, which he created with author, playwright and actress Jasmine Dubé, was shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. More recently, he illustrated Diane Carmel Léger’s My Two Grandmothers.

 All are welcome to attend the book launch on July 5 in Studio 1, which will include a book signing, refreshments, and remarks from Gracie and Glenda. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP by sending an e-mail to etheuerkauf@confederationcentre.com by June 30.

Mothers and Daughters On Stage at the Watermark Theatre

Barefoot in the Park and Mrs. Warren’s Profession, the two plays on this summer at North Rustico’s Watermark Theatre, both feature a mother-daughter relationship at their core, and Leah Pritchard and Gracie Finley will play daughter and mother in both plays. A unique situation that has both actresses thinking of their own mother-daughter relationships in their own lives.

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Leah Pritchard: “When I think about what connects myself and the characters I will be playing this summer, I believe what we share the most is the stage at which we find ourselves in life. Vivie Warren, Corie Bratter, and I are all at an age where we are learning to establish ourselves as adult women in the world. And I think one of the most surprising and challenging aspects of that growth, is figuring out how you relate to your parents as an adult. In particular, how you relate to your mother as a woman. We’re trying to assert our independence, and prove that we are different from our mothers, all the while trying to understand who our mothers are as women. Personally, my mother is one of the most important people in my life, and I love how complex our relationship has always been. No one supports me like my mom, but I also don’t argue quite so frankly with anyone else. I am looking forward to seeing how the complexity of that mother-daughter dynamic lends itself to my understanding of my stage mama, Gracie Finley. Just like with my mother, I share such mutual respect and trust with Gracie, from our many summers playing mother and daughter on stage, that I know there will already be trust, and a loving familiarity between our characters this summer.”

Gracie Finley: “When tackling a mother-daughter relationship in a play, all those dimensions and layers from my personal life come into play and this can certainly help on many levels in establishing a believable relationship on the stage. It can also be a problem. Not all relationships are based on my own personal experience of trust and unconditional love and sometimes these instincts have to be fought if the play asks for something else. I have a very close relationship with my own daughter, though like all mother-daughter relationships we have our differences, and one of the toughest lessons for me to have learned is that my daughter is a very different person from me. I have had to learn to accept, support and ultimately respect that, unconditionally. This will be my 4th season working with Leah. We were the only two girls in the company during her first season when she played my adopted daughter in “The Lion In Winter”. We shared a dressing room and quickly found we were kindred spirits in many ways. I have seen her grow in confidence and ability as an actress, and mature and develop as a person. We have developed a trust and bond I know we can bring to the stage. She is a lovely girl and a dynamite actress. I am so proud of her on so many levels.”

Performances of “Barefoot in the Park” begin June 27th and “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” gets going on July 7th.

Mrs. Warren’s Profession at the Watermark

George Bernard Shaw‘s scathing commentary on social hypocrisy and the excesses of capitalism, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, was banned from being performed in England when it was originally written in 1893 because of its frank discussion of prostitution.

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Mrs. Kitty Warren worked her way out of the London slums and now lives abroad, having provided her daughter Vivie with the education and means to grow into a smart, independent young woman of strong convictions. When Mrs. Warren returns, mother and daughter discover that neither is the woman they thought they knew. A brilliant, provocative play by a master playwright.

Barefoot in the Park at the Watermark

The romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park ran for 1,530 performances when it first opened on Broadway in 1963making it Neil Simon’s longest running hit and one of the longest running non-musicals in Broadway history.

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A free-spirited bride and her buttoned-down groom settle down to some rocky happily-ever-aftering in a New York City walk-up, occasionally invaded by the bride’s wacky mother and the quirky bohemian who lives in the attic. Made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, Barefoot in the Park is clever and hilarious, filled with snappy dialogue and witty one-liners.

Ready to Go at the Watermark

The Watermark Theatre is thrilled to announce casting for the upcoming 2017 summer season, the 10th in the company’s history. A few familiar faces and a couple of actors new to the Island will perform in the company’s productions of Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon and Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw as well as taking part in the 2017 Play Reading Series. Joining previously announced actress Leah Pritchard, who tackles both lead roles this summer, will be Gracie Finley, Jordan Campbell, Ian Deakin, Jerry Getty, and PEI’s own Paul Whelan.

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Returning for her 5th season, Gracie Finley will play the oddly hilarious Ethel Banks is Barefoot in the Park and the commanding Kitty Warren in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Raised in Charlottetown with summers spent in Alberton, Gracie is well known to PEI audiences having played Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical at the Charlottetown Festival from 1968 to 1974 and again in 1984 and 1985. For the Watermark, Gracie has performed in Blithe Spirit, The Glass Menagerie, The Shore Field, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion in Winter, Romeo and Juliet, and An Ideal Husband.

A veteran of Canadian Theatre, Ian Deakin has worked from coast to coast and spent 13 seasons at the Stratford Festival. Ian takes on the roles of the oddball Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park, and the nasty Sir George Crofts in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. In addition to his many years at Stratford, Ian appeared on Broadway with Christopher Plummer in King Lear at the Lincoln Centre, and Off Broadway at City Centre in Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser. Most recent credits include work at Theatre Calgary, Theatre By The Bay, Drayton Festival Theatre, Globe Theatre, and the Rose Theatre. PEI audiences may recognize Ian as Inspector Closely from a 2010 production of The Last Resort at the Charlottetown Festival.

Audiences will remember Jordan Campbell from our 2015 season when he played Benvolio in Duncan McIntosh’s stellar production of Romeo & Juliet. This summer Jordan tackles the role of the uptight Paul Bratter in Barefoot in the Park and the lovable cad Frank Gardner in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Jordan is a Graduate of the Ryerson University Acting Program and since graduating in 2013 has had the great fortune of performing with Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay, Globus Theatre in Bobcaygeon and Alehouse Theatre in Toronto.

Actor Jerry Getty has appeared in theatres across the country, including The Grand Theatre, The Stratford Festival, Persephone Theatre, and Magnus Theatre, amongst others. Some of his favourite roles are the title characters in Hamlet, Ethan Claymore, Wally’s Cafe and the one-man show, MacHomer. This summer Jerry plays the very funny Telephone Man in Barefoot in the Park and the sensitive artist Mr. Praed in Mrs. Warren’s Profession.

Paul Whelan has a long history and distinguished career in theatre on the Island having worked with Theatre PEI, Kings Playhouse, The Guild, ACT, and the Confederation Centre. Paul is a producer, production stage manager, director and actor. He directed ACT’s 25th anniversary production of Our Town and this past year a very successful production of The Laramie Project. As an actor, some favourite credits are: Lend Me A Tenor, Noel Coward in Two Keys, The Tempest, and of course Matthew, in Anne of Green Gables-The Musical. Paul will play the stern Reverend Samuel Gardner in Mrs. Warren’s Profession and will make a cameo appearance in Barefoot in the Park.

Entering her fourth season with the company, Leah Pritchard will play both lead roles this summer – the perky Corie Bratter in Barefoot in the Park and the complicated Vivie Warren in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Last summer, Leah brought an incredible vulnerability and sense of wonder to her portrayal of Laura in The Glass Menagerie, and great comic timing to the dual roles of Edith and Mrs. Bradman in Blithe Spirit. Her other previous credits at Watermark were in The Rainmaker, The Lion in Winter, Romeo and Juliet, and An Ideal Husband.

Watermark is thrilled to have all of these fine actors in the company this summer and look forward to another busy season at the theatre in North Rustico.

For more information or to set up a phone interview with any of our actors please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com.
Watermark is a proud member of the PTN – Professional Theatre Network of PEI

Watermark Adds Matinee Performances of ‘Blithe Spirit’

Watermark Theatre is pleased to announce that two more performances of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward will be added to the summer schedule.

Wed August 17th at 1:30PM
Sat August 27th at 1:30PM

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Tickets for Blithe Spirit are selling so well that the company has decided to add two matinee performances to meet the high demand for this much loved comedy.

Directed by Alan Kinsella and starring Gracie Finley, Daniel Briere, Bryde MacLean, Suzanne Roberts Smith, Leah Pritchard, and Joshua Browne, the production has received universally positive reviews since opening earlier this summer.

“‘Blithe Spirit’ best comedy on P.E.I. Come to Watermark Theatre’s production to enjoy fun, fun and more fun” – The Guardian

“(Gracie) Finley was clearly enjoying herself, and so were we—she was flat-out wonderful.” – The Buzz

“If you’re looking for some cerebral comedy with a splash of slapstick, Blithe Spirit is the show for you.” – ONRPEI.COM

Researching his new novel, Charles Condomine invites the implausible medium Madame Arcati to his house for a séance. Arcati unwittingly summons the ghost of Charles’ dead wife Elvira who soon makes a play to reclaim her husband, much to the chagrin of Charles’ new wife Ruth. One husband, two feuding wives and a whisper of mischief in the air – Noel Coward at his comedic best!

Photo Credit: Bryde MacLean and Gracie Finley. Photographer was Mike Viau.

 

Blithe Spirit Transcends Time and Space

Director Alan Kinsella could help a cucumber sandwich achieve its fullest theatrical potential. I know this because I played witness to the managerial marvel at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico Friday night. What he was able to do with a misbehaving wooden table during a séance was pretty impressive as well. With such direction, it is no small wonder the cast and crew of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward pulled off a transcendent performance on opening night, July 15th.

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The show was written in 1941 but the set, lights, and music were done in such a way the show could have been set in any decade. The play is no doubt British but, with some imagination and talent, it could take place in any village or city. That’s the joy of life, death and jealousy. The themes transcend both time and space.

Watermark stalwart Gracie Finley set the standard in her exuberant portrayal of Madame Arcati, a vivacious medium who unwittingly turns Mr. and Mrs. Condomimes’ lives upside down by granting Mrs. Condomine the Former, Elvira, a visit of indeterminate length. Mr. Charles Condomime is at first rattled by the sojourn of the free-spirited spectre and quickly becomes comfortable with the idea of being an ‘astral polygamist’. Charles is played marvellously by Daniel Briere who has a wide repertoire of facial expressions, reminiscent of Rowan Atkinson of Black Adder fame. Briere and Suzanne Roberts Smith (Elvira) play off each other nicely and make the relationship between Charles and Elvira quite believable and, oddly, not creepy.

Enter Ruth, Mrs. Condomime the Current, played by PEI native Bryde MacLean. Understandably, Ruth is not happy with the new living arrangement but she keeps a stiff upper lip. For a little while, anyway. MacLean’s portrayal of Ruth was fun to watch. It was exquisitely executed and made more visually arresting by MacLean’s resemblance to Anne Hathaway. Her presence was made ever more magnetic with the outfits put together by costume designer Kathryn Sherwin. MacLean’s absence for part of the show was very remarkable as I was excited to see what she would be wearing next.

Joshua Browne makes the most of his time on stage, as Dr. Bradman, who takes Madame Arcati’s jabs like a champ. I’m anxious to see Browne play Tom in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams on July 16th.

Leah Pritchard returns to the Watermark this year to work double duty in this piece; first as Edith, the ready-to-serve maid who may be more than she appears and, second, as Dr. Bradman’s chatty better half. I very much look forward to Pritchard’s portrayal of Laura in The Glass Menagerie. With Pritchard’s easy beauty, light complexion and nuanced performances, Laura may be the role she was born to play.

Robert Tsonos had a very successful first opening night as the new artistic director. Tsonos is no stranger to the Watermark stage and seems very eager to take on new responsibilities. In addition to his artistic director duties, of which I’m sure there are many, Tsonos will be directing The Glass Menagerie. Tsonos is making great strides in making the Watermark a community-integrated space. The theatre acts as a fine gallery for local artisans, serves local beer, and hosts a mentorship theatre program and teenage conservatory to foster the next generation of theatrical professionals.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for some cerebral comedy with a splash of slapstick, Blithe Spirit is the show for you. It’s playing now until August 27th at 7:30 p.m. on selected dates with one matinee on August 10th starting at 1:30 p.m.

Review by Kimberley Johnston. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.