It’s fall. The air is crisp. The leaves are vibrant and crunchy. Everyone has their back to school supplies, and the community theatre playbills are full: full of mystery, song, dance, laughter and drama. I might add that offerings are bigger and better than ever as our steel town continues its metamorphosis into a town of incubating art. The openers of the season are: DLT’s Scotland Road, Theatre Burlington’s Wrong for Each Other, Waterdown’s Run for your Wife and The Player’s Guild with Shirley Valentine. With high quality and at reasonable prices, theatre has never been for more affordable and entertaining in the Hammer.
Scotland Road by Jeffrey Hatcher was handpicked at DLT to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. A mysterious woman in period clothing can only speak the word “Titanic”. How improbable will her story be once she starts talking? This show is directed by George Thomas and opens at DLT on Friday October 19th.
Theatre Burlington presents Wrong for Each Other, a Norm Foster comedy, directed by Tom Mackan. It’s a theme that every audience can appreciate: the relationship between a man and a woman. This show opens September 21st. Later in the season, Burlington fills out its playbill with Tennessee Williams and Anne Frank.
Waterdown starts the season with an “oldie” but a “goodie” Run for Your Wife by Ray Coonie. Last year, Village Theatre brought in a record box office with another classic The Mousetrap opening November 16th. It looks like they are repeating the formula with another sure fire hit. Later in the year, they continue their tradition of a children’s show with the Emperor’s New Clothes, and the winter warm up is The Underpants by Steve Martin.
The Player’s Guild opens with Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell. This is a one woman show starring talented local artist Barb Fisher and directed by Jo Skilton. In the community theatre world, this sounds like a home run: great show, great actress, and great director. It opens September 28th. Later in the year, the Guild offers a unique premier piece written by local playwright Bob Knuckle and based on the war of 1812.
These shows are just the tip of the iceberg. If you like the musical, look to HTI with both Blood Brothers and Godspell. In addition, Hammer Entertainment has an interesting year ahead with Avenue Q appearing on its playbill. Other theatres in the area include: Binbrook Little Theatre, Theatre Ancaster, and Aldershot Players. The latest additions to the scene are: The Lyric, The Citadel and The Peninsula Players. The options are endless. For a cohesive presentation of the theatre scene, check the Hamilton Arts Council website to help you organize your viewing: http://www.artshamilton.ca/theatre.html.
Finally, Hamilton is a unique hub of theatrical activity which includes well established groups, emerging groups, musical groups, musical theatre groups, improv groups and much more. From the 1820’s to today, performers, directors, stage managers, and designers have been volunteering to make sure the show goes on. I officially dedicate this year to three great performers who collectively spent more than a hundred years trotting the boards for the audiences in this city. If you are a regular in community theatre audiences, you’ll understand the great loss to theatre in the past two years. To Peter Mackie, Hedy Ross and Helen Bell: the show is going on and this year’s for you. Let’s make it a smash! V