The Donnellys Trilogy

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by James Reaney, adapted and abridged by Gil Garratt.

A Quintessential Canadian Classic Reimagined

It’s been twenty years since the fairgrounds in Blyth resounded with horse hooves, and were lit up with fateful fire in the night. And in 2023, the local legend continues in three landmark productions in an unparalleled setting.

The three plays, Sticks and Stones (June 22-Sept. 1), The St Nicholas Hotel (July 13-Sept. 2), and Handcuffs (Aug. 1-Sept. 3) will all be performed by one single company of ten actors, who will tell the tale from the killing of Patrick Farrell, to Johannah Donnelly’s march to Goderich to save her husband from the gallows, to the Stagecoach wars, to the Queen’s Hotel, to the Vigilance Society in the Cedar Swamp Schoolhouse, to the fiery February night when justice, revenge, and murder were left indistinguishable in the ashes. 

If a performance is rained out at the Harvest Stage, the performance will be moved indoors to Memorial Hall.

 Buy The Donnelly Trilogy pass for $135 and save $15 only until February 4, 2023!

Sticks and Stones Part One

The saga begins. 

James Donnelly and his wife Johannah, arrive in Lucan, with their infant son. 

Having fled the famine, factionalism and violence of old Ireland, they arrive in the New World and immediately set about clearing land to farm and raising a family. But the promises of landlords and land agents prove false, and while their family grows, their prospects seem to only shrink. When an opportunistic settler arrives with his own ambitions and a pocketful of dark magic from the old country, James and Johannah refuse to be scared off their claim. 

An infamous logging bee, a murder charge, a gallows at the Goderich court, and a plea for mercy, may all change their circumstances, but not their fates. 

A rollicking, suspenseful, journey back in time to the start of it all.

St Nicholas Hotel Part Two

With grit, and unbridled ambition, The Donnelly brothers strike out to find their fortunes. The enterprising William Donnelly starts a stagecoach line running North from London, and together the boys drive horses, freight, and passengers to great success, all while drawing the resentment and rage of their rivals…and so begin the fabled Stage Coach Wars.

When barns burn, horses go missing (or worse), when the constabulary can’t keep the boys in line, and the courtrooms fail to contain them, justice gets meted out ankle deep in the muddy roads, or above the din in the beer-drenched taverns. That is until some of those rivals start forming a secret society of their own in the Cedar Swamp. 

High romance, barroom brawls, and an irrepressible instinct to raise hell on the Roman Line.

Handcuffs Part Three

Unbeknownst to the Donnelly family, some of their neighbours have begun meeting after dark to form a Vigilance Committee, with the blessing of their new parish Priest, Father Connolly.  As the factions form, the Donnelly family find themselves at the centre of accusations, rumour, and curses. 

On the fateful night of February 4th, 1880, a mob descends on the Donnelly homestead, and by morning, the only living witness to one of the most notorious crimes in Canadian history is an innocent ten year old boy. 

When the court convenes, and the testimony is heard, how will the jury find?

The dramatic conclusion to the Donnelly saga, full of fury, fire, and fiddle music. 

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