Stage Door News

St. Catharines: The Foster Festival celebrates its namesake’s 75th with a birthday bash

Friday, January 12, 2024

Norm Foster, Canada’s most prolific and arguably successful playwright, is celebrating his 75th Birthday and The Foster Festival is marking the occasion with a Birthday Bash on February 11, 2024! A three-course lunch will be served at Club Roma St. Catharines to start off an afternoon of music, stories, and laughter presented by artists, friends, and colleagues to honour the Officer of the Order of Canada and keeper of the Key to the City of St. Catharines.

Over the course of his four+ decade career Norm Foster has written 78 plays (and counting), averages 150 productions of his plays annually, and been translated and produced internationally, most recently in Poland and the Bahamas. No single Canadian playwright has had, or continues to have, a greater impact on our national theatre industry than he has. For all this, his entry into the world of theatre was inauspicious:

"A friend of mine was going to audition for a community theatre production of Harvey, and he asked me to go along. I went just to see what this theatre thing was all about, and I ended up getting the part of Elwood P. Dowd. I had never even seen a play in my life before this.”

Foster fell in love with the theatre right then and there, and two years later he penned his first professionally produced play, Sinners. It was produced by Theatre New Brunswick and directed by Malcolm Black, who would also direct Foster's next effort, the highly successful, The Melville Boys. The Melville Boys would go on to be produced across Canada and in the United States, including a well-received run off-Broadway in New York. It would become Foster's signature play, and the one which would bring his name to the forefront of Canadian theatre.

2024 is the 40th anniversary of this heartfelt comedy and The Foster Festival is marking this milestone with an anniversary production of The Melville Boys to cap its Mainstage Summer Season at The Mandeville Theatre, Ridley College Aug 15th- 25th.

The breadth and depth of Norm Foster’s work is astounding: conventions, theme, and genre of his plays are incredibly varied; his sense of humour adored by fans across the country and beyond. At the root of his writing is an immeasurable capacity to create characters that audiences continually identify with, or recognize, and ultimately care about- ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

On February 11th, 2024, from 12:00pm-3:00pm, The Foster Festival, now in its 9th season, will be hosting a 75th Birthday Bash for the renowned playwright and all are invited. The event includes a pasta luncheon with coffee/tea service, a cash bar, and entertainment featuring the talents of past Foster Festival performers Kirsten Alter, Lisa Horner, Melanie Janzen, Darren Keay, David Leyshon, Sheila McCarthy, Nora McLellan, Artistic Director Emily Oriold, Eliza-Jane Scott, Helen Taylor, William Vickers and Artistic Associate Jamie Williams, with musical accompaniment by Steve Thomas.

Full details are available at