AUDITIONS for 2015 Summer Season

Classic Theatre Festival’s 2015 season in Perth, Ontario (an hour south of Ottawa) will include BAREFOOT IN THE PARK by Neil Simon and WAIT UNTIL DARK by Frederick Knott

Rehearsals start June 23, 2013
Runs July 10 to Aug. 2
Corie Bratter – idealistic, free spirit, mid to late 20s
Paul Bratter – her husband, a rather uptight lawyer, late 20s

Rehearsals start July 21, 2013
Runs Aug. 7 to 30
Mike Talman – a large ex-con, 30s
Susy Hendrix – a smart and courageous blind woman, late 20s
Gloria – a precocious 10-year-old

Performance schedule:  Wed. to Sun. at 2pm; Wed., Thurs. and Sat. at 8pm;

Toronto auditions:  Nov. 9 and 10, 2014; callbacks Nov. 11 and 12

CTF’s Toronto auditions will be held in conjunction with the Ontario Summer Theatre general auditions. Please indicate which role you would like to be considered for. We appreciate everyone who submits, however only those who secure an audition time will be contacted.  No phone calls
please; all enquiries by email.

HOLIDAY SEASON SALE for 2015 on sale now!

Holiday Season imageThe Classic Theatre Festival has big plans for an expanded assortment of entertainment activities in the summer of 2015, featuring some of Canada’s top theatrical talent while providing a forum for young local talent interested in training opportunities with a professional company. The Festival’s traditional Holiday Season Sale is now offering major discounts to early bird buyers who order before December 31st.

The Festival continues to grow by producing hits from the golden age of Broadway and the London Stage, including the winning formula of presenting a romantic comedy with a classic thriller, while providing tourists and regional residents alike with many excellent reasons to extend their stay and stimulate the local economy. An Ontario Tourism Ministry report found that the 2014 Festival season produced over half a million dollars in economic spinoffs for local shops, restaurants, and accommodations.

The 2015 mainstage season – returning to the lovely Perth venue at 54 Beckwith Street East (the Good Shepherd Hall of St. James Anglican) – will open with Neil Simon’s comedy, Barefoot in the Park, the 10th-longest running non-musical play in Broadway history. The story of a pair of unique newlyweds – he a button-down conservative lawyer and she a free spirit – is bolstered by an eccentric neighbor, an interfering mother and classic New York characters, all of whom ride this comic romp while finding that love can conquer any differences. The show will run July 10 to August 2.

The second show is the gripping Frederick Knott thriller Wait Until Dark (running August 7 to 30), a heart-thumping tale of a blind woman who must fend off a group of seedy drug dealers and thieves who have invaded her apartment using a variety of ruses. Later a beloved Audrey Hepburn film, the stage version features some of the most intense moments Broadway witnessed in the 1960s. The Festival held local auditions in November for the integral role of the spunky 10-year-old and found that the region’s countless youth-centred theatrical programs have produced a bumper crop of very talented young thespians.

Both shows will run 8 times a week, with five 2pm matinees running Wednesday to Sunday and 8pm evening shows every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Returning in 2015 will be the hugely popular Perth through the Ages youth theatre training troupe, which thrilled visitors last summer with a theatrical historic walking tour featuring tales and characters out of Perth’s storied past. Running five mornings a week at 11am (Wednesday to Sunday), this year will feature brand-new characters, themes, and stories. Starting at Matheson House Museum, the walking tour will appeal especially to families looking for something to do with their kids and grandkids during the summer holidays.

New this year, the youth troupe will be introducing The Lonely Ghosts Walk each Friday night at 8pm during the summer, starting at the Festival’s mainstage site and touring some of the town’s most fabled haunted settings, with costumed characters enacting scenes from the town’s 200-year ghostly history.

To take advantage of the Holiday Season Sale, simply visit or call toll-free at 1-877-283-1283. Order by December 31 and receive a 20% discount off any season ticket (including either of the walking tours). You can pick your dates later!


JOB POSTINGS for 2015 Summer Season

The Classic Theatre Festival is seeking applications for the following positions for the 2015 summer season (click on position for more information below):


We are Ottawa Valley’s only professional theatre company, producing two shows each summer in Perth, Ontario (an hour south of Ottawa).  The 2015 season productions are:

(running July 10 to Aug. 2)

WAIT UNTIL DARK by Frederick Knott
(running Aug. 7 to 30)

Please provide cover letter, resume and references. Emails only please to:  Laurel Smith, Artistic Producer,

PRODUCTION MANAGER:   The job entails:
– organize and coordinate setup of theatre space for the Festival’s use, including light, sound, set and stage install;
– source materials and suppliers;
– liaise with all venue suppliers;
– oversee all design elements;
– determining and acquiring human resource requirements as they pertain to the PM’s duties;
– production scheduling, including coordination of production meetings;
– supervision and execution of set build, including load-in, load-out and setup;
– acquisition and delivery of set and prop materials, including returns;
– lighting hang and focus in consultation with the Lighting Designer;
– assist with sound design in consultation with the Director (knowledge of sound editing essential);
– scheduling and management of volunteers as they relate to the above.
The successful candidate works well with others, particularly volunteers, can meet deadlines and budgets, is not afraid to get their hands dirty, and works well under pressure.

SET DESIGNER:  The successful candidate will be skilled at supervision and implementation of set construction, have meticulous attention to detail, be able to work within a limited budget, and have skill at creating both ground plans and ground elevations to scale.

LIGHTING DESIGNER:  The successful candidate will be able to meet deadlines, be skilled at creation of a full lighting plot, supervise lighting hang and focus, have meticulous attention to detail, and be able to work within a limited budget.


In a unique opportunity for young people interested in acting, the Classic Theatre Festival will be holding auditions for young female performers, aged 9-12, on Saturday, November 1 in Perth.

While the Festival has yet to announce its upcoming 2015 summer season, Artistic Producer Laurel Smith is planning one show that features a spunky 10-year-old girl in a number of key scenes. Smith plans to cast two girls to share the role during the play’s 8 times a week performance schedule.

“Perth as a community has probably one of the highest-per-capita numbers of people in the country when it comes to community theatre and youth theatre, and we know from our experience of auditioning young people last year for our youth troupe how many people have come through, for example, the Perth Academy of Musical Theatre, which has done so much to provide training and opportunities for young people with a knack for theatre,” says Smith.

For next season, the young actors chosen will be working alongside some of the country’s top professional talents in the Festival’s mainstage shows. They’ll also be picking up a paycheque. “Like anyone who works in a professional job, the young female performers who get this job will be getting a paycheque, perhaps a start for saving for higher education a few years down the road,” Smith says.

While the Classic Theatre Festival has so far only cast adults in its shows over its five year history, Smith has a great deal of experience working with young people, especially in projects linked to the Toronto District School Board and Arts York, where she developed a number of pieces that brought to life key moments in Canadian history and also spoke to contemporary youth issues.

Smith also conceived, dramaturged, and directed last year’s hugely popular Perth through the Ages theatrical historic walking tour, a youth theatre training project that employed a half dozen young people throughout the summer. That project will return in 2015 with new stories and characters, and Smith will be holding auditions for young people for this project in the near future as well.

In the meantime, anyone interested in auditioning should submit a resume and head shot no later than October 26 to




Playwright Frederick Knott, author of "Dial M for Murder" and "Wait Until Dark"

Playwright Frederick Knott

For someone who hated writing, Frederick Knott guaranteed he wouldn’t have to do too much of it to make a living when he penned his first play, the universally loved Dial M for Murder, which plays at Perth’s Classic Theatre Festival August 8 to 31 (54 Beckwith Street East, at Harvey). Given this is the Festival’s first murder mystery, the company is partnering with the Capital Crime Writers to present a series of mystery/crime author readings throughout the run of the show as well.

Originally rejected by eight separate producers, Dial M for Murder was finally picked up for BBC TV, and then found a home on the London stage and Broadway in 1952. Since then, the play has not only been turned into a smash Hollywood movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly, but has been translated into scores of languages and played around the globe. Knott also penned the enormously popular thriller Wait Until Dark.

While the movie remains a must-see for any classic mystery fan, seeing the show live on stage is a wholly different experience, given the intimacy of the audience with the players and the tension that builds as a dogged Scotland Yard investigator hones in on the man plotting murder.

“A key aspect of this play that is often overlooked is that it contains within it elements of a love story, as well as the fact that it could have been torn from today’s headlines about women who are forced to defend themselves against acts of violence, but then pay the price of criminal charges and jail time,” explains Artistic Producer Laurel Smith.

The Dial M cast is made up of a collection of crackerjack Toronto and Ottawa performers, both newcomers and Festival veterans. The tale follows fading tennis star Tony Wendice, played by Greg Campbell, a veteran screen and stage actor who has worked extensively with VideoCabaret, in Trudeau and the FLQ, Life and Times of Mackenzie King, The Great War, Confederation, Mackenzie/Papineau Rebellion, The War of 1812 (this latter at Stratford Festival), and who has appeared in The Kennedys, Murdoch Mysteries and Against the Wild. The character of Tony is unhappily married and jealous of his wife, Margot, played by Ottawa’s Jennifer Vallance, who recently appeared as Paula in Empire of Sand and Cindy in Sparks (both with New Ottawa Repertory Theatre). Margot Wendice is trying to end a long-distance romance with the lovelorn, cynical screenwriter Mark Halliday, played by Festival veteran Scott Clarkson (previously seen in the Classic Theatre Festival’s The Marriage-Go-Round, Two For the Seesaw and The Fourposter).

Determined to bump off his wife and inherit her fortune, Tony hires the unsavoury Captain Lesgate, a perfect role for the versatile Ottawa character actor Richard Gélinas, who starred in last year’s The Star-Spangled Girl. Some mayhem ensues, and Margot, convicted of murder, faces execution. In order to clear up the mess, an intrepid Scotland Yard investigator (played by Toronto’s Clyde Whitham, who recently appeared in Fantastic Extravagance at the Toronto Fringe, and in Scheherazade at the Next Stage Festival), must diligently pursue the real criminal to save Margot’s life.

“I was always intrigued with the idea that somebody would plan a crime, and then you see that everything doesn’t turn out right,” playwright Knott once explained. “You can plan a murder in great detail and then put the plan into action, and invariably something goes wrong and then you have to improvise. And in the improvisation you trip up and make a very big mistake.”

To enhance the excitement of the Classic Theatre Festival’s first murder mystery, a series of “Saturday Night Specials” will feature mystery and crime writers reading from their works at 7pm prior to the 8pm shows. The August lineup features some of the region’s top authors, including Barbara Fradkin & Vicki Delany (August 16), R.J. Harlick & Linda Wiken (August 23) and Brenda Chapman & Thomas Curran (August 30).

Saturday Night Special attendees will get a chance to meet the authors, buy their books and have them signed, and, following the evening performance of Dial M for Murder, take home a good read for the cottage or backyard.

Meantime, the Perth through the Ages theatrical historic walking tour, with the popular play, The Preacher and the Leading Lady, continues until August 31, Wednesday to Sunday at 11 am.

Tickets for Dial M for Murder (which runs Wednesday to Saturday at 8 pm, with 2 pm matinees every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) are available online at or by calling toll-free at 1-877-283-1283.



In an exciting new partnership with the Capital Crime Writers of Ottawa, the Classic Theatre Festival, in conjunction with its mystery thriller Dial M for Murder (running August 8 to 31) is hosting a series of pre-show readings with some of Canada’s top crime and mystery writers.

The Saturday Night Specials, taking place over three consecutive weekends at 7 pm (before the 8 pm performance of Dial M for Murder) will feature a pair of authors reading from their works, an opportunity to ask questions, purchase books, and get them signed, all under the pre-show tent at the Classic Theatre Festival’s venue at 54 Beckwith Street East. Entrance to the readings is free for Festival ticketholders and $10 for non-ticket holders.

“Mystery on the stage, crime writers, and a warm summer evening,” says Michael Murphy of Capital Crime Writers, makes for  “a Saturday Night Special to die for.” The Ottawa-based group has been in existence since 1988, when it was founded by Linda Wiken and Audrey Jessup.

Barbara Fradkin and Vicki Delany

Barbara Fradkin

Barbara Fradkin

The premiere Saturday Night Special on August 16 will be hosted by Barbara Fradkin and Vicki Delany. Fradkin is a retired psychologist and two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award. The prolific author has published numerous short stories and eleven mysteries (two Cedric O’Toole novellas and nine in the gritty, award-winning novel series featuring quixotic Ottawa Police Inspector Michael Green). Two new books are in production, including the tenth Inspector Green novel, None so Blind, due out in October.

Vicky Delany

Vicky Delany

Fradkin’s co-host, Vicky Delany, is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. Under Cold Stone is the seventh book in the Smith & Winters police series. She also writes the light-hearted Klondike Gold Rush books and novels of gothic suspense.  Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst, Vicki enjoys the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario.  According to the London Free Press, “It’s a crime not to read Delany.”

R.J. Harlick and Linda Wiken

R.J. Harlick

R.J. Harlick

On Saturday, August 23, the reading series continues with R.J. Harlick and Linda Wiken. Harlick writes the popular wilderness-based Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of Quebec, which so far has six titles to its name.  The 4thArctic Blue Death was a finalist for the 2010 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. The latest, Silver Totem of Shame, has been named one of the top ten summer crime fiction reads by The Globe and Mail.

Linda Wiken

Linda Wiken

Wiken is a former mystery bookstore owner in Ottawa. Writing as Erika Chase, she has penned four books in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries and is working on the fifth. Book Fair and Foul came out earlier this month. She is also working on the Culinary Capers Mysteries, which will debut next year under her own name.   She also maintains a blogsite, Mystery Maven Canada, with news, schmooze and reviews about Canadian mystery writers.

Brenda Chapman and Thomas Curran

Brenda Chapman

Brenda Chapman

The closing set of readings on August 30 will feature  Brenda Chapman and Thomas Curran. Chapman began her writing career with the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for young adults. Hiding in Hawk’s Creek, the second in the series,  was shortlisted by the Canadian Library Association for the 2006 children’s book of the year. Her first adult mystery In Winter’s Grip was released by Dundurn in 2010. Brenda currently has two series on the go: Cold Mourning is the first in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural (Dundurn 2014) and Butterly Kills will be released in 2015.  The Anna Sweet mysteries from Grass Roots Press are novellas set in Ottawa. My Sister’s Keeper, the first in this series, was shortlisted for a 2014 Arthur Ellis award.

Thomas Curran

Thomas Curran

Curran is well-known for his three Inspector Stride novels, set in the post-war, pre-Confederation Newfoundland of the late 1940s. Before writing mysteries, Curran spent more than two decades as a Senior Researcher and Writer at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa. A Newfoundlander at heart, the Ottawa writer spends as much time down east as he can manage, both for personal renewal and research purposes.

“We love partnering with such fine talent, because the root of good theatre is good writing: without that, there is not a lot for actors to play and for directors to interpret,” says the Festival’s Artistic Producer, Laurel Smith.

Admission to the readings is connected to purchasing a ticket to the Festival’s evening performance, and priority seating will be provided to Festivalgoers. Those who would like to attend the readings only can pay a $10 cash admission at the door.

To purchase tickets to the evening reading and performance, call 1-877-283-1283 or visit



Historical figures May Bell-Marks (played by Jasmine Bowen) and Rev. William Bell (played by Sean Jacklin) express their shock at the 21st century Gore Street in Perth

Historical figures May Bell-Marks (played by Jasmine Bowen) and Rev. William Bell (played by Sean Jacklin) express their shock at the 21st century Gore Street in Perth

Visitors and townfolk alike may be forgiven for thinking they have walked into a time warp starting June 25 as costumed characters from Perth’s past come to life five mornings a week this summer. “Perth through the Ages”, a historic, theatrical guided walking tour, is a youth training project organized by the Classic Theatre Festival and Matheson House Museum, running through August 31, Wednesday to Sunday mornings at 11 am.

This project features an original play, “The Preacher and the Leading Lady,” which was researched and developed by the troupe in tandem with director Laurel Smith and local historian Susan Code. It tells the story of the Reverend William Bell, an early Perth Presbyterian minister, and famed actress May Bell-Marks, both of whom mysteriously find themselves in 2014 Perth. As they journey through the town, they witness key events and characters that have formed part of the town’s storied 200 years while often sparring about their respective views on everything from the state of women’s attire to smoke-belching horsecarts (or cars, as we know them today).

Bell, played by local actor Sean Jacklin, and Bell-Marks, performed by Ottawa’s Jasmine Bowen (a veteran of that city’s Haunted Walk), are perfect foils whose comments on what they have seen historically and now will allow audiences to appreciate the importance of signature events in Perth history. With an equal mix of drama, history, and humour, the play’s cast also includes some additional up and coming talents that Perthites have likely seen on both high school and community stages, including Bobbie Cordick, Meaghan Brackenbury, Adam Reid and Madison Reid.

Meaghan Brackenbury and Bobbie Cordick (arguing the merits of women's suffrage) at the Perth Courier offices. The tour begins June 25.

Arguing the merits of women’s suffrage at the Perth Courier offices. The tour runs every Wed. to Sun. at 11am until August 31.

The tour route will begin at Matheson House Museum (11 Gore Street East) at 11 am sharp beginning June 25, and will follow down the streets of Perth to the Courier building (where viewers will watch the moment when women’s suffrage was won in Canada), as well as a stretch along the Tay River where there is a confrontation over the Tay Canal Scandal (a key moment in which funds designated for canal construction were pocketed by wealthy investors). Other scenes near the Crystal Palace will allow historic characters to remark upon the remarkable changes they have witnessed, and scenes both at the Legion and along Beckwith Street East will be touching reminders of the human cost of both world wars. Elizabeth Hughes, the Perth woman over whom the last fatal duel in Canada was fought, makes an appearance. The tour finishes at St. James Anglican Church, site of many historic events and the new home for the Classic Theatre Festival.

The “Perth through the Ages” project is the product of an intensive period of research facilitated by local historic animator Susan Code and collective creation and writing led by Laurel Smith, the Classic Theatre Festival’s Artistic Producer. Troupe members also had the privilege of interviewing residents of the Lanark Lodge long term care home to gain insights into the Perth of days past.

“We have a terrific group of young people working with us on the project, and this is a chance for them to stretch their talents, learn new things, and share great stories with tourists and locals alike, a lot of whom marvel at the historic architecture of Perth but don’t always know the stories behind the gorgeous facades,” Smith says. “This is a great opportunity to not only share memorable stories, but also give everyone a strong sense of place and pride in our community as it approaches its bicentennial.”

Smith points to the strong partnership with Matheson House Museum, Perth Tourism, and the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization, and credits the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Program, and the Perth & District Community Foundation with significant support as well.

The tour will wind up at St. James Anglican Church, whose Good Shepherd Hall is being transformed into a professional theatre space this summer as the Festival celebrates its 5th anniversary with the Neil Simon comedy “Come Blow Your Horn” (July 11-August 3) and the gripping mystery thriller “Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott (August 8-31).

Visitors to the new space will note the historic overtones inside the building as well, which will features posters, costumes designs, and other artifacts from Canadian theatre history in the hallways and theatre lobby. This summer, the Festival is also adding a Thursday matinee. With 8 shows a week (Wed. to Sat. at 8 pm, with 2 pm matinees every Wed., Thurs., Sat. & Sun.), the Festival offers audiences lots of flexibility in choosing their dates. Pre-show talks will occur at 1:30 pm preceding each matinee.

Meanwhile tickets for the “Perth through the Ages” walking tour will be limited, so those wishing to attend are encouraged to book tickets in advance by calling Tickets Please at 613-485-6434. Tickets are $12, $10 for Festival ticketholders, and free for children aged 12 and under. Day-of tickets will be available at the Perth Tourism Visitor Centre (11 Gore Street East). The tour will be last about one hour and 15 minutes.

Further information on the walking tour and the Festival’s new season is available at or by calling 1-877-283-1283.