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!




Audition Call

Greeting all:

Here is the updated audition call for the 2011 season. If you have any questions, please contact the individuals indicated.

See you at the theatre,


Highlands Summer Festival 2011 season auditions

Scot Denton – Artistic Producer
Melissa Stephens – Executive Producer

2011 Audition Information for the following productions

  • Anne of Green Gables, The Musical
  • Looking
  • Educating Rita

Thank you for your interest in the Highlands Summer Festival’s Season for 2011. The Festival has just celebrated another exciting season, which provided opportunities for many performers to appear in three productions: the musical The Goodbye Girl and two comedies – Sylvia and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. Over thirty skilled and dedicated individuals contributed to these productions by building sets and costumes or being part of the running crew. A good number of our actors and crew last season were new to the Festival – several of the actors appeared on stage for the first time. We invite you to consider volunteering to take part in some capacity. The upcoming season will provide many opportunities. We encourage you to audition, even if you have limited or no stage experience. We are committed to helping people develop their talents.

The mounting of a summer theatre season is an enormous amount of work. The rewards, however, can be huge. Before you make a commitment, please study the contents of this package carefully. The Highlands Summer Festival is a regionally based community theatre with charitable status. We pride ourselves on producing stage work of the highest calibre. Over the last ten years we have worked hard to improve every facet of our operation. Our faithful patrons have come to expect quality programming and we are committed to delivering just that.

Should you have any questions regarding the audition process or about the Festival in general, please do not hesitate to contact:

Melissa Stephens – Executive Producer – 705-455-2366

Audition Information

We are again looking for a large number of performers for our season. Ages listed for a character may describe performer range or character and serve as guidelines only. The director may adjust them as required.

Anne of Green Gables, The Musical

Adapted by Don Harron, Music by Norman Campbell, Lyrics by Harron and Campbell, Additional Lyrics by Mavor Moore and Elaine Campbell, From the Novel by L. M. Montgomery

The classic tale of an orphan girl who rises from destitution to happiness in Prince Edward Island farm country entirely by virtue of her pluck and personality.In the brief role descriptions below ‘late teens’ refers to the performers age.

  • Anne Shirley Soprano, Lead, late teens: – Feisty orphan adopted by the Cuthberts
  • Marilla Cuthbert Soprano, Lead: – Matriarchal spinster, sister to Matthew
  • Matthew Cuthbert Baritone, Lead: – Shy brother to Marilla
  • Gilbert Blythe Tenor, Lead, late teens: competes with and falls for Anne
  • Miss Stacy Soprano with Belt, Supporting, age flexible: the new Schoolmistress
  • Diana Barry Soprano, Supporting, late teens: Anne’s bosom buddy
  • Mrs. Rachel Lynde Alto/Mezzo, Supporting: 60s
  • Josie Pie Soprano/Mezzo, Supporting, late teens: – Anne’s competition
  • Lucilla Soprano, Cameo: – Clerk in Blair’s store
  • Mr. Phillips Baritone, Cameo: – the schoolmaster
  • Ladies of Avonlea Mixed voices, 40s – 50s: Mrs. Barry, Mrs. MacPherson, Mrs.
    Sloan, Mrs. Pye
  • Young Ladies at Avonlea School Late teens: – Prissy Andrews, Ruby Gillis, Tillie Boulter, Gertie Pye
  • Boys at Avonlea School: Late teens – Charlie Sloan, Moody MacPherson, Tommy Sloan, Malcolm Andrews
  • Men of Avonlea, Mixed Voices, Ensemble: The Minister, Earl the mailman, Cecil the farmer, the Stationmaster
  • Young Ensemble ~8 – 12: As well as the roles listed above, there are places for two or perhaps three younger children at Avonlea School.

Note: The choreography for Anne will be chosen to suit those cast. There will be additional dance classes and rehearsals to allow these young performers to realize their potential and benefit from this opportunity.


by Norm Foster
Full Length, Comedy

Val’s an O.R. nurse, Andy’s in the storage business, Nina’s a police officer and Matt’s a radio morning show host. They’re middle-aged, single and ‘looking’. Val agrees to meet Andy after answering his personal ad in the newspaper. Nina and Matt are coaxed into joining their friends for support. High romance and contagious laughter are the result.

  • Val Lead, 35- 50 – Single O.R. Nurse
  • Andy Lead, 35- 50 – Single, in the Storage Business
  • Nina Lead, 35- 50 – Single Police Officer
  • Matt Lead, 35- 50 – Single Radio Morning Show host

Educating Rita

by Willy Russell
Full Length, Comedy

Frank is a tutor of English in his fifties whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to drink and bury himself in his books. Enter Rita, a forthright 26 year-old working-class hairdresser who is eager to learn. After weeks of cajoling, Rita slowly wins over the very hesitant Frank with her innate insight and refusal to accept no for an answer. Their relationship as teacher and student blossoms, ultimately giving Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves.

Frank Lead – 50s – Tutor of English
Rita Lead – late 20s – Hairdresser/Student

The play takes place in Northern England – Frank and Rita will both speak in dialect.

Audition Dates and Location

The auditions will be held on Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion at the High School in Haliburton. Be sure to book a time for your audition.

Audition Requirements

Book an audition time by calling Betty Mills at 705-457-1354. Print the last two pages of this package – the Audition Information Sheet – fill them in and bring them to your audition. Dress comfortably and bring indoor shoes. If you are new to the Festival, be prepared to either perform a short monologue (max 2 minutes) or tell a short story.

You may be asked to read “sides” (a short scene). Be prepared to spend an hour or more for the audition process.

If you are new to the Festival and would like to audition for the musical, we will need to hear your singing voice – please prepare just 16 bars or one verse of any song from the Music Theatre repertoire – have a copy of your music with you for the accompanist.

Candidates are encouraged to be familiar with the specific shows. A limited number of scripts for Looking and Educating Rita will soon be available. They can be borrowed for a short period of time by calling Betty Mills at 705-457-1354. You will be required to leave a $10 deposit, which will be refunded when you return the script. Librettos and scores for Anne of Green Gables, The Musical are rented and not readily available at this time. There will be some sides of the script available for you to look at if your are asked to read for a specific role. (Some information about the musical and the plays is available online.)

Rehearsal Schedule

It is the expectation that a minimum of 100 hours of rehearsal time for each production will have been achieved prior to performance (120 hours for the musical). The exact rehearsal schedules will be established by the directors and their casts. However, each production has rehearsals each week on Friday evening and/or Saturday and Sunday during the day, beginning towards the end of April or early in May. Actors cast in supporting roles may not be required at every rehearsal.
Please note: The Festival moves into the theatre toward the end of June. During the ten days to two weeks prior to each production’s opening (see dates below), rehearsals may be more frequent.

Performance Schedule

Anne of Green Gables, The Musical – July 2 (preview), July 3 Opening (matinee), July 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
10 (matinee), 12, 13, 14 and 15

Looking – July 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28

Educating Rita – August 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12

The “breaks” allow for our five concerts.

The Commitment

Part of the mandate of the Highlands Summer Festival is to develop the talents and skills of people, especially young people, in the performing arts. Wherever possible, we prefer to utilize the talents of the residents of Haliburton County. In order to achieve and maintain this standard, a commitment of time, talent and energy must be made by all involved. The expectation is that performers will be in attendance and on time for ALL rehearsals/performances. If you are unable to make such a commitment, please do not audition.

To book an audition time, please call Betty Mills at 705-457-1354

Audition Information Sheet

Please print off these last two pages and make sure you bring it with you to the
auditions. Print clearly when completing the information.

Name _____________________________________________________
Address _____________________________________________________
Telephone: Home _________________________ Other __________________________
Email ____________________________________________________
Age (if under 20) ____________

The above information will be used by the Festival to contact you and will be retained only if you get a role or indicate an interest in other aspects of the Festival. The contact information may be shared with others involved in the Festival.

If you are familiar with the plays and/or musical, you may wish to indicate which roles you are interested in auditioning for.

I am interested in auditioning for the role(s) of:
_________________________ ________________________ _____________________

Please indicate one of the following:

___If not chosen for the role(s) indicated, I would consider another role.
___I am interested only in the role(s) indicated.

The Festival requires reliable back-stage help from people with a strong work ethic and a desire to help bring our plays to life. Of extreme importance is the role of Stage Manager, who serves as the director’s right hand and calls the show. This person would attend all rehearsals and some production meetings. Other key roles are Assistant Stage Managers, Tech Assistants and Crew. We offer support and some training for all of these positions.

Please indicate if you wish to be considered for stage management or crew:
_____Yes _____No

Please indicate specifically any conflicts you might have with the rehearsal schedule:

Your signature: _________________________________

Date _____________, 2011

Please summarize any experience and/or training you have which you will bring to the Festival. You may attach a resume.

Audition Call

January is an exciting for those of us involved in Highlands Summer Festival.

With the productions chosen and the scripts being passed around for everyone to read, the next step will be auditions. This year the auditions are scheduled for January 23 and 24 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion.

Auditions are always a bit nerve-wracking for those of us who enjoy stepping onto the stage. As the scripts make the rounds, the actors are looking for parts that may be appropriate and challenging for them. Often there is more than one “good fit“, but Highlands Summer Festival attempts to avoid casting one actor in two productions. It can be tough on actors to be involved in two productions in the summer, particularly when it comes to rehearsals. They begin in April and take place on the weekends leading up to the various opening nights. Occasionally it is necessary to cast an actor in two productions to take advantage of his or her special talents. We certainly appreciate those who are willing to make that extra sacrifice.

The mandate of the Highlands Summer Festival is to encourage the growth and development of theatrical talents and skills. We are also committed to using as much local talent as possible. We encourage local actors to audition for our productions. The size and quality of the theatrical community in the Highlands has grown over the years and we believe that Highlands Summer Festival can take credit for a large part of that development. We have also encouraged individuals with an interest in acting but no experience to give it a try. In the past, we have “discovered” some exciting talent in individuals who stepped onto the boards for the first time with our company.

If you have an interest in acting, please follow this link to our audition page to learn more about this year’s auditions….but take a look at the audition page soon, because the call is coming up soon. Perhaps this is the year we`ll see you on stage!

As always, we welcome your comments.