Stage

Don Harron (1924–2015)

It has been reported that Don Harron, co-creator of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical and author of Anne of Green Gables the Musical: 101 Things You Didn’t Know (2008), died on 17 January 2015 at the age of 90. For more on the life and accomplishments of this well-respected actor, writer, and director, see the obituary appearing on the CBC News website.

Melanie Fishbane Interviews Marion Abbott

Melanie Fishbane, whose YA novel about L.M. Montgomery’s teen years will be published by Penguin Canada’s Razorbill imprint next year, chats with Marion Abbott, founder of the Spirit of Maud Theatre Company, about writing process and community theatre and Montgomery’s gift for creating three-dimensional characters.

A Kindred Spirit Christmas

This past Saturday in Norval, Melanie Fishbane and I got to attend the Spirit of Maud Theatre Company production of A Kindred Spirit Christmas. Dramatized and directed by Marion Abbott, the performance consisted of four pieces from Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories: “The End of the Young Family Feud,” “Aunt Cyrilla’s Christmas Basket,” “Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves” (from Anne of Green Gables) and “Katherine Brooke Comes to Green Gables” (from Anne of Windy Poplars). The play was terrific: solid performances by all the cast members, most of whom were teenagers and young adults, and the fact that it was held at St. Paul’s Anglican Parish Hall, where Montgomery herself directed a number of community plays, made it extra special. And I got to do a Q&A with the cast afterward, which was so much fun!

Do check out the website for the Spirit of Maud Theatre Company for more information about their productions. A Kindred Spirit Christmas will be performed again on 5, 6, 7 December of this year, and the company’s next play will be a dramatization of The Blue Castle, starting in mid-February 2015.

Benjamin Lefebvre during a Q&A at the Spirit of Maud Theatre Company production of A Kindred Spirit Christmas, St. Paul’s Anglican Parish Hall, Norval, on 29 November 2014. Photo by Melanie Fishbane.

Montgomery Christmas in Norval!

Please join us in Norval, Ontario, this Saturday, 29 November 2014, for the annual Montgomery Christmas. It’s a fun day of church bazaars, friendly people, and a chance to see the community where Montgomery and her family lived between 1926 and 1935 as well as the church where Montgomery’s husband was a minister throughout that time. I’m really looking forward to the performance of A Kindred Spirit Christmas, created and performed by the newly formed The Spirit of Maud Theatre Company.

I’ll be signing copies of the first two volumes of The L.M. Montgomery Reader at Crawford’s Village Bakery, where I’ll also be stocking up on jams and jellies and preserves, although this year it will be with a heavy heart because the Crawford family has recently announced that the bakery will be closing its doors the next day. Elaine Crawford and Kelly Crawford are the authors of Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book (1996), which deserves to be in everyone’s Montgomery collection.

Please see Deb Quaile’s blog L.M. Montgomery: The Norval Years for more details, and please join us if you can!

Feature Film Version of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical in the Works

Yesterday, an article in Variety reported that an announcement had been made at the Toronto Film Festival concerning a planned a feature film version of the popular Anne of Green Gables: The Musical. Additional coverage has appeared in The Toronto Star and on Jezebel.

UPDATE: According to this story on the CBC news website, this project will be filmed in Prince Edward Island!

Further Chronicles of My Inbox

I’ve received e-mail notifications of the following exhibit, conference, and play series:

From Irene Gammel: A notification that the “Reflecting on Anne of Green Gables” exhibit, co-curated by June Creelman and Irene Gammel, opened on 4 June 2008 at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St., Ottawa) and will be available until 1 March 2009. More details are available on LAC’s webpage devoted to the exhibit and in a Reuters article covering the exhibit.

From Eric Bungay: The preliminary program for “From Canada to the World: The Cultural Influence of Lucy Maud Montgomery,” which will take place in October 2008 at the University of Guelph, has been posted. Registration information should be made available within ten days.

From Sally Cole: The L.M. Montgomery Theatre has opened up in Cavendish, PE, for a series of shows staged in a former church where Montgomery worshiped, part of the Avonlea Village outside the outskirts of the town. The theatre is staging plays popular in the year Anne of Green Gables was published, with The Wind in the Willows scheduled to open the season. An article has been published in today’s Guardian.

New Theatre Festival Takes Root in L.M. Montgomery’s Avonlea

Posted today at CBC.ca:

A new theatre festival soon to begin in Cavendish, P.E.I., will present a suite of plays dating from the lifetime of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables.

The Island community, already a mecca for Anne lovers from around the world, is beginning the new summer theatre festival in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables.

Duncan McIntosh, a director of theatre, opera and special events, is the artistic director.

He plans a season based on playwrights who inspired L.M. Montgomery, who lived from 1874 to 1942, or whose works were influenced by the writer.

The first season will include:

  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, dating from 1908, in a new adaptation by McIntosh.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, first performed 1895.
  • Village Wooing by George Bernard Shaw, written in 1933.

Previews begin June 20 with the season to run from June 27 to Aug. 31. Anne of Green Gables was first published on June 20, 1908.

A 200-seat theatre has been created in the Church at Avonlea Village, a church built in 1872 and moved from its original location in Long River.

“It was a church that Montgomery attended, that she dreamed and hoped and prayed and imagined her immortal stories in, this church,” McIntosh told CBC News.

“And we as a community of Cavendish thought this was a perfect place to make our contribution to the celebration of the 100th anniversary.”

McIntosh, who directed the dedication ceremonies of Canada’s war memorial in Vimy, France, also directed the world premiere of Anne and Gilbert, a spinoff of the long-running Anne musical in Charlottetown.

He is a past artistic director of the Charlottetown Festival, the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and Theatre Plus in Toronto, and has been a resident director at the Canadian Film Centre and the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.

Elizabeth Mawson Dead at 81

Elizabeth Mawson, who played Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical at the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Charlottetown between 1971 and 2003, died on Saturday in Toronto at the age of 81. Obituaries can be found at CBC.ca and at the websites for the Globe and Mail and the Charlottetown Guardian.

New Anniversary Theatre in Cavendish, PE

From The Journal Pioneer: Cavendish to get new Anne anniversary theatre—Darlene Shea.

CAVENDISH — To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication of “Anne of Green Gables”, a new theatre will be opening this summer in Cavendish. The Montgomery Theatre will provide a venue to present plays from the life and times of the book’s author, Lucy M. Montgomery. The idea of the theatre was hatched in the summer of 2007 when a group of tourism operators from the Cavendish area met to plan a community commemoration project to mark the centennial.The group also met with internationally acclaimed artistic director Duncan McIntosh, to come up with plans for the theatre.

This new cultural initiative will be launched on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Avonlea Church in Avonlea Village, Cavendish.

Upcoming book on Anne of Green Gables: The Musical

Amazon.ca has a listing for Don Harron’s book A Hundred Things You Didn’t Know about Anne of Green Gables, the Musical, scheduled for publication on 1 April 2008 by White Knight Books. More information about this book will be posted here when it becomes available.