The Blyth Festival's 2019 Season runs from June 12 to Sept. 28, with a total of five plays, including two world premieres.
JUNE 12 to AUGUST 10 - JUMBO by Sean Dixon
It’s one of the biggest stories in the history of South Western Ontario. Literally.
From playwright Sean Dixon (The Wilberforce Hotel, Lost Heir, The Outdoor Donnellys), comes the story of one of the biggest icons in show business, the one, the only, Jumbo the Elephant.
In the early fall of 1885, P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth toured South Western Ontario, playing to sold-out crowds in the tens of thousands in Guelph, St. Thomas, and London. On the bill, among the snake charmer, the aerialists, the tightrope walkers, the contortionists, and the famous bearded lady, Annie Jones, were 28 elephants led by the world renowned Jumbo.
Born in Sudan and orphaned by ivory hunters, Jumbo the elephant won the hearts of the world through his time at the London Zoo. Dazzling onlookers with his immense size, and giving rides to children throughout the zoo grounds, Jumbo was already a huge attraction when P.T. Barnum bought him to include in his world- famous circus. When the elephant arrived in New York Harbour, the crowds filled the piers, hopeful they would see the legend in the flesh for the first time in North America. An instant sensation on the circus circuit, Jumbo the Elephant soon became the highest paid performer in the world, human or otherwise.
Between their stops in Guelph and London, Barnum’s circus played the bustling railroad city of St. Thomas, Ontario to standing ovations. But that fateful night, when the circus cars were being packed back up, an unscheduled freight train travelling unbrakeably fast through the railyard ended the career, and the life, of the biggest superstar in the world.
A cast of larger-than-life characters, including PT Barnum himself, Matthew Scott the elephant trainer, Bearded Annie Jones, and a world-famous taxidermist, fill this riveting play that brings a Jumbo-sized Ontario history to life.
JUNE 26 to AUGUST 10 - CAKEWALK by Colleen Curran
In celebration of our 45th anniversary, we are bringing back one of the sweetest, most requested revivals in our decorated history. Cake-Walk by Colleen Curran is a delicious comedy that premiered at the Blyth Festival in 1984 and went on to international acclaim.
In honour of Canada Day, a small town decides to hold a cake baking competition at the local fairgrounds and everyone from the community is lining up for the chance to win a dream vacation and county-wide bragging rights.
It’s enough to bring a local nun out of her habit, send a mother-of-the-bride running with five layers (topper and all), and to unleash the winner-take-all cut-throat tactics of the town’s normally dependable Boy Scout troop leader. The oven mitts are off.
Someone’s going home with the trophy, and someone is getting butter-creamed.
With five hilarious roles for women, this show will be icing on our 45th anniversary cake.
JULY 31 to SEPTEMBER 5 - TEAM ON THE HILL by Dan Needles
Few Canadian writers have had the kind of hand- in-work-glove relationship to rural audiences that
Dan Needles has had. Winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, Needle’s Wingfield series has been performed all over Canada, including on the CBC and at the Stratford Festival. Member of the Order of Canada, Needles is well known for his work as an artist with his hand on the plow.
Team on the Hill carries all of Needles’ wit and unparalleled observation of farm life into a rich, funny, and moving family drama about life on the home-farm, complete with its nostalgia for the way things used to be, and struggles with succession.
The Ransier farm is a working cattle farm on the north side of a drumlin. Austin Ransier, the patriarch of the Ransier family, has farmed this land his whole life. An ambitious, hard-working farmer in his youth, Austin now finds himself relegated to mending the fences and sitting like a sentry on the porch. His grandson Larry, fresh from agriculture school, is ready to take on the mantle, and has a wellspring of new ideas from college, and a different approach to the inputs and outputs than those that have kept the farm alive for generations.
Austin’s son Ray, Larry’s father, wants none of it. As son and grandson wrestle over the future of the land, a developer with motivated investors and blueprints for a golf course arrives to complicate matters. Are there ever enough acres for father and son to work side by side?
AUGUST 7 to SEPTEMBER 6 - IN THE WAKE OF WETTLAUFER conceived by Kelly McIntosh, written by Kelly McIntosh with Gil Garratt a<
Promotions and Specials
2019 Season Passes
Start Date: November 27th, 2018
End Date: December 24th, 2018