Stage Door News

Wellington: Graham Abbey and Johannes Debus announce their festival line-ups for Prince Edward County

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Graham Abbey today announced Festival Players’ lineup for the 2019 theatre season presented by Huff Estates, that will run from July 9th-September 1st in Wellington, Ontario. Included in the fold this year is Wellington Water Week – the newly minted music and arts festival programmed by Music Director Johannes Debus and assistant Music Director Elissa Lee.
“This is an exciting year for us,” commented Abbey. “Our audiences are growing and we are attracting some of this country’s finest artists to the shores of Prince Edward County. This year, in addition to presenting four critically acclaimed productions in the Studio Theatre space, and continuing with our arts education initiatives, we are extremely proud to welcome Prince Edward County’s newest music and arts festival, Wellington Water Week, to our lineup.” This partnership allows us to expand and enhance the traditional theatre experience by finding common artistic ground across disciplines.”

“We have grown to love Prince Edward County, and were so touched by the incredibly enthusiastic response to our inaugural event in 2018 that we can’t wait to do it again this year,” said Johannes Debus, Music Director for Wellington Water Week. “With our shared passion for performing arts, the region and local community, this deeper collaboration with Festival Players provides us with a unique opportunity to explore creative synergies. We are looking forward a magnificent season!” 

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR by John Patrick Shanley
The 2019 season kicks off on July 9th with Tony-award nominated Broadway hit, Outside Mullingar, written by the Oscar, Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning author of Moonstruck and Doubt, John Patrick Shanley. Set on neighbouring farms in the Irish midlands, Outside Mullingaris a lyrical misfit-romance, full of gallows-humour, wit and wonder. Four-time Dora Award nominee, Gemini Award-winning actor and critically acclaimed director, Brenda Bazinet directs what The New York Times declared as “Mr. Shanley’s finest work since Doubt.” Outside Mullingar is an urgent reminder that life is fleeting and true love rare.
THE SCRIPT TEASE PROJECT by Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus
"If the young Gene Wilder had married the young Kathleen Turner, they might have turned out like Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus." -The Toronto Star. On July 26th and 27th Toronto's best loved improvisational team, and real life comedy couple, Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus, bring their hilarious and innovative The Script Tease Project to Prince Edward County. Festival Players has commissioned two Dora Award-winners, Kat Sandler and Prince Edward County's own Raymond Storey, each to write the first two pages of an original play. Matt and Naomi will read the pages for the first time live in front of the audience. Then ...they improvise the rest. From the foundation provided in the playwrights' first two pages, Baram and Snieckus build an entire play before our very eyes. "Of course it's terrifying, that's why we want to do it!" says Matt Baram. The Script Tease Project is sure to be an electric, unpredictable and unforgettable night in the theatre.

On August 2nd Festival Players will launch Every Brilliant Thing, written by Duncan MacMillan and starring celebrated comedian, actor and writer Gavin Crawford. Winner of multiple awards including an ACTRA and two Dora AwardsGavin has been a fixture on Canadian screens and is best known for his role in This Hour has 22 Minutes. He currently hosts CBC’s Because News and has guest-starred in some of Canada’s most popular shows including The Baroness Von Sketch Show, Corner Gas, and Murdoch Mysteries to name a few. Every Brilliant Thing is a one-of-a-kind, interactive theatrical event that engages its audience in thrilling and original ways. At once profoundly funny and deeply moving, Every Brilliant Thing chronicles a young person’s quest to unearth every magnificent thing about being alive. “Heart-wrenching, of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop” -The Guardian, award-winning actor and director Dylan Trowbridge directs.
From August 17thto 25th, the village of Wellington will once again be transformed into a canvas celebrating the waters that surround us as the second annual Wellington Water Week kicks off, through popular demand, to the harmonious voices of festival-favourite, Opus 8. This year, the festival welcomes the multiple Juno Award-nominee Sarah Slean who will join Johannes Debus in leading SING!, a mass community choir event that will unite the public in song right on the shore of Lake Ontario, with Slean later performing in concert at the Wellington United Church. Returning this year is the popular Dinner and Concert Series with three highly anticipated events: The first dinner of the series features instrumentalist Stephen Hargreaves in a live harpsichord performance set to the screening of the classic silent German movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, at Drake Devonshire. The second and third will be headlined by Montreal’s Dominic Desautels and The Percival Project and Ottawa’s The Cheng² Duo, with both performances being paired with delightful menus served under the tent overlooking the lake by Prince Edward County’s iconic Picnic during intermission. And the food pairings don’t stop there, as a Musical + Edible Promenade through Wellington will take guests on a guided walking tour through town, with each stop featuring the gorgeous edible art of plant-based local chef, Chris Byrne, inspired by and set to the stunning performances of percussionist Ryan Scott, harpist Sanya Eng and violinist Elissa Lee along the way.
Other exciting and unique musical experiences include the return of festival favourite Danika Lorèn with Collectìf and an intimate concert with Pheobe Carrai and Elinor Frey featuring a program of duo sonatas from the 18th century. For more details on all concerts click here. Additional arts and community programming will be announced at a later date.
PERSON OF INTEREST by Melody Johnson 
The summer will still be going strong on August 28th when Person of Interest comes to town along with it’s hilarious creator, Melody Johnson, who also stars in the production as the “housebound loser.” Winner of a Canadian Comedy Award and recipient of several Dora Award and other nominations for numerous roles through various renowned Canadian theatre companies such as the Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Stage, The National Arts Centre and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Melody is also a lauded performer of Toronto Second City’s mainstage and has directed both the National Touring Company and MainStage companies to critical acclaim. In what is the mostly true and very funny story of an actor driven to the brink -Person of Interest, directed by Rick Roberts, is storytelling at its best and should strike a chord with anyone who has ever lived, loved and battled with neighbours.
This year, Festival Players also welcomes veteran producer Paul Flicker to our team as Managing Director and Producer, and are most grateful to our generous donors and sponsors including the 2019 Season Presenting Sponsor, Huff Estates, and 2019 Festival Players Company Sponsor, BMO Financial Group. The Season is supported in part by the Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Heritage and Service Canada.
Tickets for all events are on sale now and range from $25-$40 plus HST with senior and youth pricing as well as subscription packages available. Visit for more details and to purchase tickets. 

Inspired by Stockholm, Sweden’s World Water Week Symposium, Wellington Water Week was founded in Wellington, Ontario in 2018 by the Internationally acclaimed Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company, Johannes Debus; the award-winning violinist Elissa Lee (Mosïque Project, Ensemble Made in Canada) and local area musician, Maria Gacesa. The backbone of the festival is a series of enhanced concert experiences complemented by activities and events throughout the village, celebrating our natural lakeside environment.
Wellington Water Week event prices vary, please visit website for details.

All tickets are available through the Festival Players Box Office: / 613-476-1991 /

Phone sales are available between 12-5pm weekdays. In person service begins mid-June.

Photo: Graham Abbey and Johannes Debus. © 2019.