Summer theatre season is a much anticipated and welcome event in Ontario. I eagerly await those beautiful summer evenings where I step inside the theatre to be transported to another place and time, if only for a few hours.
These five great theatres have been chosen for you to try because they each offer something truly unique to their audience. They may feature original Canadian stories, performances may be in a unique setting or they may be part of a unique community experience that sets them apart from other Ontario theatres.
With no heavy traffic, ample free parking and delicious homebaked treats at intermission, professional theatre has never been more accessible or enjoyable. Combine your visit with a stay at a rustic Inn or a tour of some of the neighbouring towns to experience more than just a night of entertainment, you’ll make memories for a lifestime. I encourage you to explore this list and experience the magic of a rura theatre this summer.
1) Blyth Festival Theatre
There simply is no other place like Blyth. When the Blyth Festival took flight in 1975, nobody imagined that such a venture could flourish in this charming rural village. Thirty-five years later, nobody can imagine Blyth without its world-class theatre. The Blyth Festival produces and develops plays that reflect a passion for Canadian stories. Blyth is most notable for its first-run, original Canadian theatre productions that both challenge and embrace their audience, making them want to come back again and again for more.
2) 4th Line Theatre
Canada’s premiere outdoor theatre company, this magical theatre presents unforgettable outdoor epic theatrical experiences. Idyllic, rural, and quintessentially Canadian, each year the 4th Line Theatre Company presents home-grown plays written by and about Canadians: small town stories and broad national sagas that touch a nerve in all of us. Celebrating its 21st season, 4th Line Theatre has brought history to life on the barnyard stages of a picturesque 5th-generation family farm in Millbrook, Ontario.
3) Port Hope Festival Theatre
The Capitol Arts Centre in Port Hope is the home of the Port Hope Festival Theatre, the perfect venue for live stage productions. Acoustically superb, this 1930s theatre was one of the first in Canada built specifically for talking pictures. Recent renovations have rendered the historic building totally accessible, thanks to comfortable seating in a climate-controlled environment. The theatre itself is a must-see: twinkling stars grace the flat blue ceiling and the theatre walls are painted to evoke a medieval walled garden.
4) Port Stanley Festival Theatre
The Port Stanley Festival Theatre is situated near the beautiful beaches of Lake Erie. Surrounded by quaint inns, shops and restaurants, Port Stanley is a wonderful place to come and spend the day or the weekend. Committed to becoming a destination theatre, the Port Stanley Festival Theatre strives to deliver dynamic, accessible theatre of high artistic quality.
5) King’s Wharf Theatre
Nestled in Discovery Harbour on Georgian Bay, the King’s Wharf Theatre is a pleasantly rustic, 385-seat venue near Penetanguishene that offers all the comforts of a modern facility. Flanked by the historic buildings of a 19th-century British naval and military base, the theatre is located at the end of a beautiful boardwalk that looks onto the homeport of replica ships H.M.S. Bee and H.M.S. Tecumseth.