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LAUGH ALL SUMMER LONG WITH NORM FOSTER’S INAUGURAL THEATRE FESTIVAL


JUNE 15 - AUGUST 27


The Foster Festival may be making its debut as a brand new professional theatre festival in St. Catharines, but its origins were the dream of a young girl almost 20 years ago. As a teenager, executive director Emily Oriold saw her first Norm Foster play - The Melville Boys in 1997. She laughed, she cried, and she started dreaming of creating a Theatre Festival dedicated to Foster’s work.


Norm Foster is Canada’s best-loved playwright with over 150 of his plays staged each year in Canada and internationally. He is known for his ability to swoop an audience up in laughter while delivering a heartfelt story full of characters to which audiences all over the world can relate.


50 CENTRESTAGE


For Oriold, it was a no-brainer that there should be a celebration for such a talented and popular playwright. “I carried my plan and even a little logo that I designed from computer to computer as I completed university and launched my own theatre career. Finally, in 2014, I screwed up my courage and approached Norm for a meeting,” says Oriold.


She travelled to Morrisburg, Ont. where Foster was starring in On a First Name Basis with Patricia Vanstone. Foster loved what he heard of her plan. To her amazement, he agreed to her proposal of a Foster Festival, even suggesting that his co-star Vanstone would be a terrific artistic director.


When Oriold found out that it had been Vanstone who directed that production of The Melville Boys that so moved her, she knew it was meant to be – her dream had come full circle! A meeting with the new FirstOntario PAC


executive director Steve Solski provided the missing piece of the equation – a place to call home. Now, a mere 18 months later, The Foster Festival hits the stage this summer with its inaugural season of three hilarious offerings in Cairns Recital Hall. Vanstone says, “We are committed to this community and to creating a Festival of popular theatre that will appeal to all levels of society”.


“I am pleased that the Festival is an artist-driven endeavour that is being run by two very strong women, Emily and Patricia,” Foster says of the dynamic duo. “I’m just riding on their coattails, doing what they tell me to do.”


The Foster festival will be an annual summer festival and the first in Canada dedicated to celebrating the work of a living playwright. It runs from June 15 to August 27 and features the great man himself alongside some of Canada’s top performers.


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