Written by Summer Student Tourism Ambassador Serena
As an avid theatre-participant, I am always looking for a good show to watch in my spare time. Thankfully, we live in a region that is not only known for its 1000 Islands but it is also a thriving nest of theatre. Live theatre is displayed throughout the area and there are many must-see shows playing throughout the summer. Join me, as I explore the different theatres and festivals in the area and some of the shows they are featuring this season.
Brockville Arts Centre
235 King St. West, Brockville
What used to be the town hall and fire engine place back in 1858 and partially destroyed by a fire in 1937, the Brockville Arts Centre is now one of the best theatres in Canada. It is the town’s main scene for local and live theatre as well as professional tours, with its gorgeous stage, incredible sound system, amazing acoustics and newly restored auditorium. Local companies such as the Brockville Operatic Society, Brockville Theatre Guild, St. Lawrence College and St. Mary High School are regulars on the stage. Musicals and plays such as Guys and Dolls, It’s a Wonderful Life, Alice in Wonderland, and Grease are just a few to hit the Arts Centre’s stage. The centre hosts various community events, movie showings and concerts. This summer they have names like The Barry Manilow Songbook and The Legendary Patsy Cline.
Thousand Islands Playhouse
185 South Street, Gananoque (Firehall Theatre)
690 Charles St. South, Gananoque (Springer Theatre)
Gananoque has the pleasure of being home to two stunning theatres, the Firehall and Springer theatre. Springer was the old Gananoque Canoe house in the early 1900s, it is now newly renovated to suit modern times, but the lobby still has the classic canoe house vintage-style. Their newest edition, the Firehall Theatre, is a smaller and cozier auditorium, seating 130. The Playhouse showcases local talent as well as professional tours. Their line up the season includes the following plays, Don’t Dress for dinner, Tuesdays with Morrie, Bed and Breakfast, and a musical, Dear Johnny Deere. Many community events and special events are hosted here as well.
St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival
Within the quaint town of Prescott there is a theatrical gem hidden down by the water. Beginning in 2003, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival consists of two Shakespeare plays throughout the summers from July-August. The cast and crew of the plays generally showcase mainly Canadian talent. This season, Romeo and Juliet and Comedy of Errors will be playing throughout the week at 7pm, along with Wednesday and weekend matinees at 1pm.
The Grand Theatre
218 Princess St. Kingston
First opened in 1879, the Grand Theatre has provided Kingston with all of the city’s theatrical needs. Newly restored, the theatre offers audiences a modern and comfortable experience. Apart from the main stage, they have new expansion of the original building called the Baby Grand, a black box theatre, which seats 109. Theatre companies such as Theatre Kingston, Blue Canoe Productions and Bottle Tree Productions are familiar performers on these stages. This summer season includes Ambrose, Tall Ghosts and Bad Weather, AutoShow, SHIPWRECKED! as well as a few other performances and special events.
Upper Canada Playhouse
12320 County Rd. 2, Morrisburg
Morrisburg is about 35 minutes east of Brockville along the St. Lawrence River and has a theatre of its own to be proud of. Upper Canada Playhouse is a non-profit charitable organization of over 30 years, with shows running from April-December. What used to be a toothbrush and argyle sock factory has been transformed into a cozy and comfortable theatre, The Playhouse now draws in audiences from all over the area. This season features a few plays such as Hilda’s Garden, Touch and Go, and The Gentleman Clothier.