The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 22

PROFILE

Port Stanley Festival Theatre
by Mary Lou Jay

hile there are several summer theatres located
along Lake Erie, Port Stanley Festival Theatre is
distinctive because of its intimate space, the plays it
produces and the unique community that surrounds
it, according to Simon Joynes, artistic director.
The theatre, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary
this year, is housed in Port Stanley's old village hall. In
its early days, the theatre rented the auditorium from the
village and ran plays just four nights a week, playing to a
maximum audience of 130. In 1990, a not-for-profit, charitable
corporation took over the theatre's management, and ten years
later bought the building from the village. The group made
some improvements to the space over the years and launched
a major renovation and addition project about five years ago.
"The auditorium was completely rebuilt; we took it back to
studs and floor joists and turned it from a 150-seat theatre into
a 200-seat theatre," said Joynes. "We moved things around and
built a tower at the back of the building to house a new shop,
an office suite and backstage facilities." A new bar overlooks
the Port Stanley Harbour, providing wonderful views.
The newly renovated theatre is still the smallest in
Ontario, and that's a good thing, Joynes said. "You are very
close to the action; it makes coming to a play here a special
experience," said Joynes.
The Road Explorer

Seven years ago, after a strategic planning session, the
theatre board decided to focus exclusively on Canadian
shows. "Our mandate is to tell Canadian stories," said
Joynes. "There are lots of theatres that do international
repertoire. The board decided that we should explore
Canadian plays and playwrights and find stories that are more
relevant to our specific audiences. It's been very successful;
there's a lot of Canadian theatre now." In some cases, the
Port Stanley Festival Theatre will be hosting the world
premiere of the production.
The theatre became a fully professional equity company
in 2006, and has expanded its season, which will run this
year from now until September 8. A playwright's festival
focusing on developing new work will be held the weekend of
September 15-16.
"We do five productions in the course of a year, eight
shows a week, four matinees and four evening shows,"
said Joynes. "There's been a shift in demographics, and
our audiences tend to be older, and many prefer not to
drive at night."
The theatre starts its season with a play from an outside
producer. "We don't have to hire production staff quite as
early, and we can spend our time preparing for the four
shows that we do in house," Joynes said. "The first show

22

Summer 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2018

Industry Voice
Issues Update
Regulatory Update
Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Less Taken
Southern Exposure
2018 OMCA Marketplace
UC Coach Lines
Port Stanley Festival Theatre
Travel Highlights Marketplace
Classifieds
Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 4
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 5
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 6
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Industry Voice
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 8
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Issues Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Regulatory Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 11
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 13
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - The Road Less Taken
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 15
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 16
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Southern Exposure
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 18
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 2018 OMCA Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - UC Coach Lines
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 21
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Port Stanley Festival Theatre
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 23
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Travel Highlights Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Classifieds
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover4
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