New Canadian Theatre Opens in "Green Gables" Territory, Presenting Wilde, Shaw and More

News   New Canadian Theatre Opens in "Green Gables" Territory, Presenting Wilde, Shaw and More A new professional theatre on the home turf of "Anne of Green Gables" writer L.M. Montgomery is being launched June 20 on Prince Edward Island in Canada.

The Montgomery Theatre will present plays from the life and times of L.M. Montgomery in the Church at Avonlea Village in Cavendish, PEI. The creator of Canada's beloved redheaded heroine lived from 1874 to 1942; works presented at the new theatre "will be by playwrights who inspired Montgomery or whose works were influenced by her."

The inaugural season includes Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, George Bernard Shaw's Village Wooing and a new adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows" children's story. The plays will be performed in repertory.

The first Montgomery Theatre season will run June 27-Aug. 31 with student previews beginning June 20 (the day that "Anne of Green Gables" was first published in 1908).

Duncan McIntosh, an internationally acclaimed director who has worked at the Shaw Festival, is artistic director of The Montgomery Theatre. McIntosh also penned the 2008 adaptation of The Wind in the Willows.

The 200-seat theatre is in the Church at Avonlea Village, which Montgomery attended in its original location in Long River. Built in 1872, the old Presbyterian church was moved after Montgomery's death to be part of Avonlea Village in Cavendish. The season's acting company includes Taylor Baruchel as Merriman (Earnest)and Field Mouse/Portly (Willows); Zach Fraser as Ferret (Willows) and Steward (Wooing), Sylvie Gallant as Gwendolyn Bracknell (Earnest) and Field Mouse/The Car/Ferret (Willows); Gemma James-Smith as Cecily Cardew (Earnest) and Field Mouse/The Home (Willows); Julia Lenardon as Lady Bracknell (Earnest) and Toad (Willows); Wally MacKinnon as Dr. Chausable (Earnest) and "A" (Wooing); Donnie Macphee as Algernon Moncreiff (Earnest) and Badger (Willows); Ryan O'Callaghan as Lane (Earnest) and Mole (Willows); Sean C. Robertson as John "Jack" Worthing (Earnest) and Rat (Willows); Jackie Torrens as Miss Prism (Earnest) and "Z" (Wooing); and Earlla Vickers as Otter.

The creative team includes leading lighting designer Martin Conboy, East Coast Music Award-winning musician Nathan Wiley, renowned director Jillian Keiley, international set and costume designer Cleo Pettitt and Shaw Festival veteran Wendy Thatcher. The company also includes stage manager Sally Crate, apprentice stage manager Elisa Aragon and assistant directors Zach Fraser (Willows, Wooing) and Earlla Vickers (Earnest).

The Importance of Being Earnest starts at 7:30 PM June 20; Village Wooing starts 7:30 PM June 21; and The Importance of Being Earnest starts June 22 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM. The Wind in the Willows will preview for the first time on June 24 at 7:30 PM.

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McIntosh has directed theatre, opera, new media and special events around the world. He has directed and produced more than 150 plays, operas and musicals and was the artistic director of three of Canada's leading theatres — The Charlottetown Festival, The Citadel Theatre (Edmonton) and Theatre Plus (Toronto). He was assistant to the artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Shaw Festival, which once had a mandate similar to Montgomery's — to stage work from the time period in which Shaw lived.

He directed the world premiere of Anne and Gilbert in Hamilton, Bermuda. McIntosh represents the family of L.M. Montgomery on the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority, which protects and promotes the work of the author worldwide. He is a member of the International Advisory committee of the L. M. Montgomery Institute.

Regular ticket prices range from $20 to $32. Memberships are available for $20 which offer discounts on all theatre tickets, priority seating, discounts at area restaurants and stores, newsletter subscription and VIP event invitations.

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, including the schedule, to purchase tickets or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, visit www.themontgomerytheatre.com.