Valley Summer Theatre making a comeback in Wolfville

Wendy Elliott
Published on May 8, 2014

Valley Summer Theatre is back with a roster of three plays planned for this season.

Executive producer Bruce Klinger announced plans for the company’s largest season to date.

Drama will get underway in the Al Whittle Theatre on July 3 with Marion Bridge by Nova Scotian Daniel MacIvor. The Cape Breton native is one of Canada’s most accomplished playwrights and was winner of the Siminovitch Prize for theatre and a Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. He now lives near Windsor.

Marion Bridge is MacIvor’s best known and most produced play. The story of three sisters who hold a bitterly comic vigil over their ailing mother, Klinger says McIvor employs elegant theatricality to portray three women struggling to change their lives.

Set in MacIvor’s hometown of Sydney, Marion Bridge has been performed throughout North America, but Klinger says it has had few professional productions in Nova Scotia since its debut at Mulgrave Road Co-op in 1998.

“Marion Bridge is exactly the type of play Valley Summer Theatre wants to highlight. It is a great example of a critically acclaimed Canadian play that continues to be performed across this country and internationally,” Klinger said. “It allows us to celebrate one of Canada’s great playwrights who happily also happens to be from our own province.”

Marion Bridge will run July 3-20 and will feature three Nova Scotian actresses – Francine Deschepper, Keelin Jack and Stephanie MacDonald –with direction by Linda Moore, set design by Victoria Marston, costume design by Janet MacLellan, sound design by Sandy Moore and lighting design by Pete Conroy.

Valley Summer Theatre will also host the fourth play in the Wingfield Farm series, Wingfield Unbound, with four performances July 25- 27.

Wingfield Unbound is the next adventure in Dan Needle’s series of comedies about stockbroker-turned-farmer Walt Wingfield to come to Wolfville. In this episode, Walt’s attempt to restore the crumbling Hollyhock Mill as a museum pits him against local council and the curse of the Miller McNab. Rod Beattie will return as Walt and everyone else, Klinger chuckles.

The final play of the season is Mass Appeal, which is the most produced play by prolific American playwright Bill C. Davis. Written in 1980, it quickly became a Broadway hit. The play is a two-character comedy-drama focusing on a complacent Catholic pastor and an idealistic young deacon who is assigned to his affluent suburban parish. While the play deals with issues facing the Catholic church in the early eighties, issues the church still faces today notes Klinger, its essence is a generational conflict that could apply to just about any workplace.

Mass Appeal will run July 31-Aug. 17 and will feature well-known Halifax actor Lee J. Campbell with direction by Pamela Halstead. Marston, MacLellan and Conroy will return as designers.

Klinger believes the Al Whittle Theatre provides a perfect intimate location for the type of theatre his company wants to showcase.

Tickets went on sale May 1 and can be purchased at the Box of Delights Bookstore in Wolfville, by calling toll free to 1-877-845-1341 or online from

Ticket prices are $30 regular and $23 for students (tax included). Two- and three-play subscriptions will also be available.