For release April 4, 2020

Highlands Summer Festival cancels 2020 season

See details below, under the Photo Contest

Welcome to the

Highlands Summer Festival

Photo Contest

Each month we will be posting a photo from one of the shows we presented over the past two decades. The challenge for you is to identify the show and the year it was presented. There could be additional questions as well, depending on the whims of the contest master. All you have to do is submit your answers to contest@highlandssummerfestival.on.ca by the 25th of the month. We will select one winner from all the correct entries we received by deadline. The winner will receive two tickets to any of the 2021 season shows because, YES! there will be a season next year. A new photo will be posted at the beginning of each month at which time we’ll announce the winner of the previous contest.

It is as simple as that.

  • No entry fee.
  • No tickets to buy.
  • No meetings to attend.

….just a nostalgic stroll down our theatre memory lane and a chance to score some tickets to the 2021 Highlands Summer Festival season.


Let the Fun Begin!!!!


We’re looking for the name of the show, the year it was presented and the names of the three actors, (not their characters, their real names), you see here. Bonus points to anyone who can describe the relationship between the three characters.

Send your entry by June 25 to:


Watch for the winner to be announced and the next contest in this location in early July. Good Luck!!!

For release April 4, 2020

Highlands Summer Festival cancels 2020 season

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Highlands Summer Festival has reluctantly cancelled its 2020 season.

“The decision was taken after much deliberation and consideration of the options available to us,” President of the board of directors, Brian Kipping stated. “But in the end, the welfare of patrons, cast, crew and volunteers was uppermost in our minds in taking this course of action.”

Kipping explained, while it is difficult to predict what the situation will be on the proposed opening day, June 29, the preparation work for the season would be starting now….rehearsals, set construction, costume creation and meetings. The recent banning of gatherings of more than five people and the uncertainty over the availability of venues, meant the theatre company cannot begin the processes needed to ensure a successful season.

Artistic Producer Scot Denton added, “We were deeply committed to the 2020 Season – the Festival’s creative team has been working since last August to put it together. Performance rights have been purchased, we have beautiful set designs, and three wonderful casts were ready to begin work.”

The line-up of shows for the Highlands Summer Festival’s twenty-first season included the musical, The Sound of Music, the Oscar Wilde classic The Importance of Being Earnest, the touching Every Brilliant Thing, comedian Lucien with tales of a working man, and the musical revue, Across the Pond, starring Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band. The season was scheduled to open June 29 at the Northern Lights performing Arts Pavilion at the high school in Haliburton. It would have run until August 6.

At the moment the Festival is expecting to move the presentations planned for this summer ahead to the 2021 season, however that could change depending on the availability of performance rights. And, while the season may look the same, the actual dates of the performances will have to be adjusted.

Ticket and pass holders are being offered three options:

1: Donate the cost of the ticket purchase to the Festival. Patrons would receive a receipt that can be used for income tax purposes.

2: Roll ticket purchases forward to the 2021 season. The Festival says it will endeavour to ensure the 2021 tickets are as close to the dates/days selected for this season. The box office staff will be in contact with patrons to discuss options.

  1. Receive a complete refund for the ticket purchase.

“As a charitable theatre company the Highlands Summer Festival relies on the support of our patrons, both in donations and ticket sales to carry the season financially,” Kipping explained. “We have already incurred expenses related to the 2020 season, will have more as we wind down for this year and when preparations begin for the 2021 season.”

“Again, I would like to reiterate the thanks of everyone at Highlands Summer Festival for the community’s support” Kipping said emphasizing he was speaking for the board and everyone involved in the creation of the six week summer theatre season. “We share everyone’s disappointment that the 2020 season will not happen as planned, but we look forward to seeing you at the theatre in 2021.

Brian Kipping,

President, Highlands Summer Festival


(In 2021) The Highlands will be alive with

The Highlands Summer Festival is pleased to kick off the 2020 theatre season with one of the most popular musicals ever, The Sound of Music. “This has to be one of the most crowd-pleasing musicals the world has ever enjoyed,“ Artistic Producer Scot Denton said during the season announcement November 17 at McKeck’s Tap and Grill in Haliburton. “Patrons will recall we presented the show in 2004. It was such an overwhelming success then, we thought it was time to bring this inspiring, family-friendly musical back.” Filled with memorable music and a riveting story, The Sound of Music was a complete sellout on the Highlands Summer Festival stage 16 years ago and it is expected to receive an equally enthusiastic welcome this season. The Sound of Music opens on June 29 for ten performances. Once again this year, special youth (up to 18 years of age) pricing, $20/ticket, will be available for all three matinees of The Sound of Music.

The second show on the schedule is also a classic, although with a longer pedigree: The Importance of Being Earnest. The last play written by Oscar Wilde, this comedy was first staged in 1895. “The script is one of Wilde’s best, full of wit, satire, comedy and a biting commentary on the mores and manners of Edwardian England,” Denton said. The Importance of Being Earnest opens July 13 for eight performances.

The third Highlands Summer Festival production this year is the intriguing Every Brilliant Thing. This interactive theatre experience, set in-the-round, is a single actor presentation which will engage audience members in a unique way. “It is a heart-wrenching, hilarious play…One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop…There is something tough being confronted here—the guilt of not being able to make those we love happy—and it is explored with unflinching honesty,” a recent London Guardian review said.  Every Brilliant Thing finds a perfect balance between conveying the struggles of life and celebrating all that is sweet in it.” 

“We are proud to take on these important questions and perhaps increase the understanding and empathy around this important issue,” Artistic Producer Scot Denton added. Every Brilliant Thing opens July 27 for five performances.

Next, we want you to meet Lucien, a New Brunswick mill worker with a thick French Canadian accent and a wit that slices keenly through the issues of the day to find the truth and humour hidden inside. The show plays like a comedic period-piece while also skewering contemporary issues. Lucien hearkens back to an era when jobs were plentiful, unions were strong and job security was not a dirty word. Created and performed by Marshall Button, in more than 200 performances across the country, Lucien is part philosopher, part comedian and mostly just a delightful average Joe. Three performances only July 22, 23 & 24.

We close the season with even more music ….music that comes from Across The Pond. Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band capture the magic of the ‘British Invasion’ in a fast-paced show filled with music and laughs. After the Fab Four appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, the flood gates opened and North American music was never the same! Across the Pond celebrates over 50 years of British pop and rock music with tributes to all the well known musical acts of the era. Across the Pond will be a must see event, so we have scheduled five performances August 2-6.

“We have put together an interesting and entertaining schedule for the summer,” Highlands Summer Festival President Brian Kipping said following the announcement. “I think everybody will discover something special in each of the productions this year.” He also noted that in addition to the youth pricing for The Sound of Music matinees, season pass and regular ticket prices have not changed. Season Passes, which are now on sale, allow patrons to see all five productions for $160, a saving of $27.50 over the single ticket prices. For those interested in single tickets, they are available for $37.50 again this year.

Kipping also pointed out that patrons who make a donation when purchasing season passes or single tickets receive front of line service, meaning their orders are processed first. “Their donations also help to support one of the most vibrant summer theatre companies in Ontario,” he concluded.

Season pass purchases can be made by phone, 705-457-9933 or toll free at 855-457-9933, securely online at our website: www.highlandssummerfestival.on.ca  and click on the ‘buy tickets’ link, above, and follow directions; or by mail, send your order to Box 938, Haliburton, Ontario, K0M 1S0.


TD Waterhouse 2018 Curtain Talks

Once again this year, the Highlands Summer Festival was pleased to present “Curtain Talks”, sponsored by TD Waterhouse.  After selected performances, the audience was invited to stay to talk to the cast and crew of the production. We will be offering TD Waterhouse Curtain Talks during the 2018 season. See the Calendar on the Tickets Page for the schedule and view the ones already recorded below.

Romeo & Juliet

July 8: https://vimeo.com/279747935

Not Quite Sherlock with Chris Gibbs




Weimar to Vaudeville


The Dining Room


TD Curtain Talks From Past Seasons

Please click here to enjoy the Curtain Talks from our past seasons as recorded by Sticks and Stones Media.



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Front of Line service when you make a donation

When purchasing your tickets, please consider making a donation to the Highlands Summer Festival one of the most vibrant community theatre companies in Ontario. As a not-for-profit registered charity, we will provide you with a receipt which you can use for income tax purposes. The more than 150 artists and volunteers who make the annual Highlands Summer Festival season happen are heartened by endorsement of their efforts through the purchase of season passes. However, additional funds are needed to ensure the continued viability of the company.

Make a Donation

Your donation has additional benefits for you, including front of line ticket ordering priority, recognition on our website and in the program and the satisfaction of supporting one of Ontario’s outstanding summer theatre companies. Note: donations are receipted for the tax year in which they are received.

See you at the theatre

Brian Kipping