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Stephenville Theatre Festival celebrates 35 years!

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We usually like to see several performances at the Stephenville Theatre Festival (STF) and so far have seen 2 shows. On Wednesday, July 31 we headed down to Stephenville see “Jewel” which is a one woman show performed by Maggie Blake. We had seen her last year at the STF in Mary’s Wedding and were bowled over by the show and her performance so wanted to see her again this year in “Jewel”. We were not disappointed and we enjoyed her performance in this powerful play about Marjorie coming to grips with the loss of her husband with the sinking of the Ocean Ranger in 1982. Playwright Joan MacLeod has set this play in Alberta and Marjorie’s husband Harry has gone to work on the rig to help them pay for their farm. Marjorie’s story begins with humourous recollections of past Valentine’s Days before segueing into the Ocean Ranger disaster which occurred on Valentine’s Day in 1982. Maggie Blake expresses very well the joys of first love, her first years of marriage and then the heartbreak of losing her husband. This show is a jewel and the STF should be applauded for its presentation of this play. On a side note, if you missed “Mary’s Wedding” last year it will be touring the province in October of this year.

Next up we saw Newfoundland Songbook which featured a whole range of music and Danny Malena, Stephane Gaudet, Mallory Johnson, Emily Lukasik and Bill Simms do an energetic job of singing and dancing. The show features close to 30 songs which is double what we have seen in some musical revues and we particularly enjoyed “Salt Water Joys” and “Barrett’s Privateers”. The cast does a spirited job of acting out songs like “Excursion around the Bay”, “The Old Black Rum” and “The Night Paddy Murphy died”. The set of numerous living room lamps and brightly coloured pieces of cloth added to the homey feel and the location in the bar of the Arts and Culture Centre is a comfortable setting for this presentation.

There are several other shows being presented by the Stephenville Theatre Festival including Country Jubilee and the British Invasion- America Strikes Back as well as their popular caberet series and the festival runs until August 11. Also upcoming is the 35th anniversary Gala which promises to been an amazing evening of entertainment since it will feature music, scenes and choreography from the last 35 years of shows in Stephenville. There will be several special guests and the Gala starts at 8:00 pm on Sunday, August 11 with a reception to follow. For tickets phone 709-643-4553 and for scheduling see: