Happy Canada Day Everyone!

All of us at Highlands Summer Festival hope you are enjoying summer as we navigate our way through these interesting times. With the help of Leisa Way and her Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the acts we planned to present this summer, we have this taste of good old Canadian Rock n Roll from her Canada 150 tour. Leisa and her band is already booked for the 2021 season  (because there will be be a theatre season next year!) with her show, Across The Pond, The British Invasion. Enjoy your Canada Day celebrations and we look forward to seeing you in the theatre a year from now.
Click this link to view the Canada Day musical video from Leisa Way:  https://vimeo.com/433476212/4fdc434d72

The Missing Pages

Highlands Summer Festival patrons will be pleased to hear that Tom Allen, a three time performer with the Festival,  has just completed a new project and was interviewed Sunday, June 21 on CBC Radio One’s Sunday Edition with host Michael Enright. Allen, himself a radio host on CBC Radio Two with a program called Shift, talked about his latest stage show, The Missing Pages.
The Missing Pages tells the story of the only Canadian to to meet Ludwig van Beethoven. Allen has spoken of this project during his last appearance with the Festival in 2018 when he presented From Weimar to Vaudeville.


On December 13, 1825, two men met for the first time.

One was a musician from Lower Canada named Theodore Molt.

The other was Ludwig van Beethoven — the greatest composer alive.

Molt travelled from Quebec City to Vienna to meet his hero — making him the only Canadian that we know of to ever meet Maestro Ludwig.

We know Molt and the composer met, because Beethoven’s deafness required him to keep “Conversation Books” in which his visitors would write their greetings to him.

But at some point, four pages of notes from his audience with Molt were ripped from the book. Out of anger? To hide a scandal? Or because of something else altogether?

The mystery of those four pages has long fascinated veteran storyteller and CBC host Tom Allen.

The interview explains in greater detail the meeting and what might have happened to those four pages and why.

A video of the  show, The Missing Pages, has also been recorded and will be available later this summer. Highlands Summer Festival  could host that program for sharing with our patrons.

In the meantime, you can hear the interview and get more insight into this interesting story. Simply click HERE to be connected to  CBC Radio One Sunday Edition and the Tom Allen interview.

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!!!

New Family Coming to Town

A new family, with seven children, will be moving into the Haliburton Highlands this summer.

Their much anticipated arrival was announced in November and ever since, everyone has been asking, “Who are these children?”

Last week, all was revealed as Scot Denton, Artistic Producer of the Highlands Summer Festival and director of this year’s opening show, The Sound of Music, announced the young actors who will be playing the von Trapp Family children. They are all looking forward to being part of this iconic family and telling this famous story. The von Trapp Family children:

River Christiano will be playing the oldest von Trapp daughter, Liesl – “16 going on 17”. River attends the University of Guelph and appeared in the Highlands Summer Festival’s 2017 production of Romeo and Juliet. River noted, “I come from a very large family, which makes this an extremely relatable role for me. I am look forward to having some fun with it!”

Evan Backus has the role of Friedrich, the second oldest of the seven children. He’s imagining, “The Captain might be a bit grumpy because he has seven kids.”

Tate Itani Smith has been cast as Louisa. Highlands Summer Festival patrons will remember her as Jane Banks in last year’s production of Mary Poppins. She thinks, rather than have a governess, “it might be better to go to school – you wouldn’t have to be with your brothers all day”.

Fynn Gooley will be playing Kurt, the middle child of seven. Fynn speculates what it would be like to have a governess, “It would be like eating breakfast with my teacher every day.”


Brynn Kilpatrick has the role of nine-year-old Brigitta. She suggests, “The Captain is scared of music, but secretly likes it”. Brynn is looking forward to “….becoming a different person in the show – but not really – I’m just like Brigitta.”

Ella Gooley has been cast as Marta. Ella is excited to sing for all the people who come to the show. “Having brothers will be awesome!” she commented.

And last, by no means least, Brooke Gooley has the role as the youngest child in the family, six year old Gretl. She says, “Being the youngest means I’m the cutest.”

So there you have the young actors who will be featured on stage this summer in the musical The Sound of Music. “I am delighted with this group of young performers and look forward to working with them as we develop this much loved show,” Music Director Melissa Stephens commented. “I know our audiences will enjoy them in their featured roles as the von Trapp Family children.”

With Music Director, Melissa Stephens, at the keyboard, left, five of the seven von Trapp children, from the left, Fynn Gooley, Ella Gooley, Brooke Gooley, Brynn Kilpatrick and Tate Itani Smith, sing one of their numbers from The Sound of Music, the opening show in this year’s Highlands Summer Festival season.

Tickets for The Sound of Music, which opens June 29 for ten performances, are available from the Highlands Summer Festival Box Office. Tickets are also available for the other Highlands Summer Festival productions, including: the Oscar Wilde classic, The Importance of Being Earnest; down east humour from Lucien; the funny and touching Every Brilliant Thing; and the British musical revue about the sixties, Across The Pond, starring Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band. Tickets for some of these performances are already scarce, so now is the time to get yours.

Order tickets by calling the box office at 705-457-9933 or toll-free at 1-855-457-9933. They can also be ordered securely on line at the website www.highlandssummerfestival.on.ca Tickets are $37.50, with special pricing, $20, for youths, up to 18 years of age, for the three matinee performances of The Sound of Music.

2020 arrives early

The new season was announced Sunday, November 17, be sure sure to check out the details on our home page.

The following is a more detailed description of the productions with  a link to the season calendar.







The Sound of Music, the final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein, returns to the Highlands Summer Festival stage this summer! The show is filled with music to delight the ears and fill your heart. When a postulant proves too high-spirited for convent religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern Captain, and they marry. Upon returning from their honeymoon they discover that Austria has been invaded by the Nazis, who demand the Captain’s immediate service in their navy. The family’s narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theatre. Don’t be disappointed! The last time we presented The Sound of Music it was a complete sellout. Youth pricing ($20/seat, 18 & under) for all three matinee performances. Performances: June 29, 30 (7:30 p.m.), July 1 (2 p.m. ) July 2 (7:30 p.m.), July 3, 5 (2 p.m. matinee), July 6-9 (7:30 p.m.).


 by Oscar Wilde

One of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language, The Importance of Being Earnest has delighted audiences since its premiere in 1895. Oscar Wilde’s scintillating, hilarious work introduces us to Jack and Algernon, charming bachelors who are each living a double life, aided by a fictional alter ego called “Ernest.” But the two fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women, Gwendolen and Cecily – both of whom are partial to men named Ernest. Will Jack and Algy be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage? Wicked wit and dead-on social satire are wrapped in a confection of dual identities, matrimonial matters, Victorian social conventions and the provenance of a particular handbag. Performances July 13- 16 (7:30 p.m.), July 17 & 19 (2 p.m. matinee), July 20, 21 (7:30 p.m.).


Written and Performed by Marshall Button

 Lucien, the opinionated North Shore mill-worker and New Brunswick’s Blue-Collar Philosopher, has enjoyed a 25 year run since he first appeared in Fredericton, as part of a satirical Bicentennial revue, Maritime Mixed Grill. The show now 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. Marshall Button developed the character Lucien based on his experiences working in the paper mill in his hometown of Dalhousie, New Brunswick and is nearing 2000 performances of Lucien, from coast to coast in every Canadian province. Performances July 22, 23 (7:30 p.m.), 24 (2 p.m. matinee).


Every Brilliant Thing

By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe

You’re six years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s “done something stupid.” She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything that’s worth living for….. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own. Every Brilliant Thing is an uplifting play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love.

“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.” —The Guardian (UK)

Performances July 27-30 (7:30 p.m.), 31 (2 p.m. matinee).

The British Invasion went by the code word, “Beatlemania”. Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band capture the musical magic of the era in a fast-paced show  Across the Pond filled with music and laughs. After the Fab Four appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, North American music was never the same! Across the Pond celebrates over 50 years of British pop and rock music. You’ll hear hits of The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, Elton John, Petula Clark, Tom Jones, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Shirley Bassey, Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Animals, Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart, Adele, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Sting, Annie Lennox, Led Zeppelin, Joe Cocker, Lulu, The Hollies – and more! Performances Aug 2-3 (2 p.m. matinee), Aug 4-6 (7:30 p.m.).


See the 2020 calendar and order your season passes by clicking HERE!




Raising the roof

Just back from today’s rehearsal of Mary Poppins. The hall was snapping with energy as the performers went through their paces in anticipation of the June 30 opening. This is one musical you should not miss!

Beth Robertson, centre, as Mary Poppins, is surrounded by fellow cast members  during last Sunday’s rehearsal