PEI

Victoria Playhouse plans packed season

An extra play this year and more are lined up for season 36 at the Victoria Playhouse.

New shows, returning favourites, Island all-stars among season highlights

The Victoria Playhouse is one of the favoured spots for theatre on P.E.I., thanks to its intimacy and quality. (Victoria Playhouse/Facebook)

The small but mighty Victoria Playhouse is gearing up for another season of plays and concerts in Victoria-by-the-Sea, P.E.I., for its 36th year.

Known for its intimacy and quality, the Playhouse will present four stage productions this year, one more than usual.

Manager Pat Smith and assistant manager Emily Smith, her daughter, dropped by Mainstreet P.E.I. to tell Angela Walker about the performances.

"We're beginning our season with a comedy called The Birds and the Bees by Mark Crawford," said Pat Smith. "Mark is a young, up-and-coming Canadian playwright, he's from Ontario. This play, The Birds and the Bees, has just taken off across Canada. This summer I think there's four productions of this show, so we're really lucky to have found the show and gotten the rights."

Emily Smith (left) and her mother Pat Smith are the assistant manager and manager of the Victoria Playhouse. (CBC)
Next on the schedule, in August is a play called On A First Name Basis, said Emily Smith.

"That is a play by Norm Foster, who we've produced many times at the Playhouse, and he's always been very popular with our audiences," she said. "It's very funny and sophisticated and dry. I'm quite excited about this one. When we first read it, we were laughing our heads off in the office."

Erskine Smith tribute

The next show features a group that is already well-known as the Island's favourite storytellers, The Four Tellers.

The Smiths have been trying to get them to Victoria for quite awhile, and this year they found a way to make it happen

The Tellers have something special in mind for the theatre's founding artistic director, the late Erskine Smith, Pat's husband and Emily's father.

The Four Tellers will present a tribute to Erskine Smith, the founding artistic director of the Victoria Playhouse. (Ann Winslow)
"We'll do three nights for you, and we want it to be a tribute to Erskine," Pat said the group told her. "They wanted to have a show that was something different than the show they do in Georgetown, so we're pretty moved and honoured that they'd want to do that. And we also think that our audiences will love that."

Chris Gibbs back

Last in the season is a returning favourite.

"Chris Gibbs will be back with us, this will be his third season in a row," said Emily. "He opened for Cathy Jones a couple of years ago, and there were some people who thought that the opening act was their favourite part of the show. So we invited him back the next years, and he did a great one-man stand-up show about his experience being a father, and that went over well."

This year he's doing more of a play, called Not Quite Sherlock: The Case of the Deceptive Detective, about a bumbling detective in Victorian London.

Also on the bill is a series of concerts over the summer, eight in total, including shows by Amelia Curran and Old Man Luedecke.

Tickets for Playhouse performances are on sale now at the theatre's website.

From the Mainstreet P.E.I. interview by Angela Walker