Announcing the Blyth Festival’s 2020 season!

Rachael King Blog

BLYTH, ON – The 2020 Season of the Blyth Festival holds something for everyone and will continue to build on the huge successes of the past two seasons. 2019 ended with 28,000 visitors seeing a Blyth Festival production.

“This will be a season that soars: through the skies, over the fields, across the ice, and into our hearts” said Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt, announcing the 2020 season.

The 2020 Season will continue to harness the momentum of recent years, stretching into the shoulder seasons, with 102 performances of five plays on its mainstage, running from early June until the end of September. The season will also feature another series of works in the Phillips Studio, including the Blyth Festival Young Company.

The 2020 Season includes:

AIRBORNE: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF LORNA BRAY    *premiere

JUNE 10 to AUGUST 8         By Gil Garratt, Beth Kates, Kelly McIntosh, and Emma Marcy

Lorna Bray was born in Blyth, Ontario in 1931. Lorna grew up in this small farming community, attended the local one-room school, went to church, saw the trains coming in and out of town, all in the midst of the Great Depression. And at the age of fourteen, in a break from all convention and expectation, she began what would become a defining lifelong relationship: she learned to fly a Piper J-3 Cub.

By the age of 16 Lorna not only had her private pilot’s license, she had joined the Ottawa Parachute Club and became the first woman in Canada to jump out of an airplane. Lorna’s illustrious career took her all over the world: from supply runs to the mines in Northern Manitoba, to working as a flight instructor in New Zealand, to being Canada’s first female civil aviation inspector. Even in retirement, Lorna continued to fly, volunteering for the Red Cross in Ethiopia.

Lorna won the Amelia Earhart Award from the Ninety-Nines, an international women pilots organization. She was a recipient of the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada, an inductee into the Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Lorna was a trailblazer and a standard bearer who aimed her cockpit right at the glass ceiling and pushed on, full throttle.

This commissioning of this play is supported by Cowbell Farm.

 LIARS AT A FUNERAL                   *premiere

June 24-August 18  By Sophia Fabiilli

Sophia Fabiilli was one of the inaugural recipients of the Ellen Ross Stuart Opening Doors Award. An emergent playwright, Fabiilli has a brilliant flare for dialogue and a sparkling sense of comedy. This will be the biggest production of her career to date.

Liars at a Funeral is the hilarious story of a grandmother named Mavis whose family is rife with rivalries, estrangements, divorces, regrets, long held grudges, and secret love affairs…you know, like every family…only Mavis has had enough.  In a masterfully absurd plan concocted with the help of her granddaughter DeeDee and a well-meaning young funeral director, Mavis fakes her own death in order to get her whole wild and woolly family into one building to hash it all out, once and for all.

Full of classic farce gags (who is in the kitchen? who is in the casket? who is in the closet?) the play builds to a hysterically funny pitch, and ends with an unexpected revelation, bringing the family together again…well sort of.

FAIR PLAY                  *premiere

July 15 – September 3        by Dan Needles                     

(A Return to the Ransiers of The Team on the Hill)

Twenty years after The Team on the Hill we catch up with the young Ransier couple and find much has changed. Larry has taken the 200 acre cattle farm to a 2,000 acre cash crop operation. But his success as a farmer has come at a cost: he has no time, no neighbours and his hometown is in decline. Worst of all, Leanne has had enough of loneliness and stress and has moved into town with a girlfriend to find new purpose with the Persephone Little Theatre. The magnetic artistic director has convinced her she is their company’s next great artist in waiting. Afraid of losing her forever, Larry does the only thing he can think of to win back his wife’s affections: he auditions for the play.

A funny, wry, and heartfelt follow up about the sacrifices we wittingly and unwittingly make in an effort to keep love alive.

PLAYING WITH FIRE: THE THEO FLEURY STORY 

 September 9-September 26  By Kirstie McLelland Day

A powerful, vibrant, captivating portrait of a great Canadian; a champion on the ice, and a hero off of it. Fleury grappled with and triumphed over incredible adversity, personal demons, and dark secrets, lifting the Stanley Cup high over his head and inspiring thousands.

The show is a dazzling, moving, funny, and highly theatrical event: the whole show takes place on the ice, and the solo performer (Shaun Smyth) is on skates the whole time.  His performance is absolutely extraordinary, a true tour-de-force.  Adapted from his autobiography of the same title, Theo Fleury himself has been a huge supporter of this play and helped in the early stages of its creation.

 

*** And One More Still As Yet Secret Show to be Announced Forthwith***

 

Passes are now on sale for the 2020 season. Call the Box Office at 1.877.862.5984 or online at blythfestival.com. Purchase by Dec. 24 and save up to 23 per cent over single ticket prices.

Blyth Festival acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Season Sponsor: Sparlings Propane

Hospitality Sponsor: Cowbell Farm

New Play Development Sponsor: Bruce Power