Stage Door News

Port Dover: Three world premieres are part of the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in 2023

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Three world premieres will top the 2023 playbill at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre next year.

“Lighthouse Festival has put together an exhilarating and diverse lineup of comedies for the summer of 2023,” said artistic director Derek Ritschel. “Written by Canadians, about Canadians, and for Canadians.”

Under their play development program, three world premieres have been commissioned and developed by Lighthouse Festival, providing the theatre patrons the opportunity to see the shows before other theatre companies have the chance to stage them.

“Part of our commitment to supporting Canadian theatre is to give Canadians a chance to share their stories and ideas,” Ritschel said. “A lot of work goes into writing a good comedy with heart.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a seasoned writer or an aspiring playwright with an interesting idea; we’re here to use our resources and virtuosity to take their creativity from page to stage.”

The season gets underway May 17 with Come Down From Up River by Norm Foster

“Foster’s signature writing brings us a hilarious yet poignant tale of a woodsman from Northern New Brunswick trying to reconnect with his estranged niece and her wife in the big city,” said communications officer Ryan Daly.

On The Air by Ephraim Ellis is the first world premiere to take the stage beginning June 7.

Directed by Jane Spence, the show sees a rag-tag group of amateur radio broadcasters use diversity to their strength and embrace chaos to save their small-town radio station on Lake Kashagakaganee.

Sakura: The Last Cherry Blossom Festival by Terry Watada is the second world premiere performance starting June 28 described as a charming and humorous story of a Japanese immigrant who settles in Port Dover in the 1930s.

Where Are You by Kristen Da Silva takes to the stage July 19 with a story about a quiet retirement home turned hectic family reunion.

The final world premiere is Norm Foster’s A Pack of Thieves that runs August 16 to September 17.

“This is an unrelenting comedy. Get ready for some big laughs,” Daly noted. “Don’t miss out on being the first to see a new Norm Foster production.

The final show of the season is Opry Gold with the Wayward Wind Band that showcases current and former country music royalty while celebrating the history of Nashville’s Grand Ol’ Opry.

Lighthouse Festival draws more than 60,000 patrons to Port Dover each summer, and “now, with a location in Port Colborne at the Roselawn Theatre, Lighthouse laughter spreads along the shores of Lake Erie boosting local tourism, community spirit, and Canadian arts in two beautiful lakeside towns,” Daly said.

Ticket information is available at