This is Living Blog
St. Francis of Millbrook
- Posted by: The Kawarthas Tourism on August 9, 2012
4th Line Theatre is currently in rehearsals for the world premiere of St. Francis of Millbrook – a story about Luke, a son and a brother who plays hockey and loves working on the family farm. Luke is just like everyone else except for one little thing – his parents are concerned that he likes the pop star Madonna a little too much. St. Francis of Millbrook is a funny and thought-provoking coming of age story about growing up gay in rural Ontario. “It’s based on a true story,” explains playwright Sky Gilbert, “of a man I know who grew up as a teenager during the 1990s on a farm in western Ontario.”
With a cast of 30 professional and community actors, St. Francis of Millbrook stars Burnt River-born Nathaniel Bacon (Kawatha Lakes Summer Playhouse’s Les Miserables) as Luke, 4th Line favourite Elley-Ray Hennessy as Ruby (Doris in The Right Road to Pontypool) and 4th Line Theatre’s Artistic Director Robert Winslow as Ned (Father Phelan in The Cavan Blazers).
“The play celebrates community and inclusivity,” explains Winslow, “and puts a human face on a very timely social issue as Luke struggles with his family’s reaction to his emerging sexual identity. It’s even more relevant in this era of bullying of young gay men.”
Gilbert has created a thoughtful story about a farm family with real-life characters and situations. The play reflects rural people and honest struggles with a complex mixture of laughter and tears. “I wanted to show the ‘ordinariness’ of Luke’s rural life and his emotions,” said Gilbert, “I want the audience to be moved by Luke’s human situation.”
Gilbert co-founded Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Canada’s oldest gay theatre, and is currently the artistic director of Hammertheatre. He is also an associate professor at the School of English and Theatre Studies at Guelph University. Gilbert has won the Pauline McGibbon Award for theatre directing, the Margo Bindhardt Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, The Silver Ticket Award from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, most recently the 2011 award for Outstanding New Play for The Situationists.
For the first time ever, 4th Line Theatre has added Monday performances during the entire run of St. Francis of Millbrook.
4th Line Theatre’s 2012 Artist Talk Series continues at The Winslow Farm every Friday at 4:00pm. These free events are an up ‘close and personal’ chats about the stories and behind-the-scenes world of our region’s premiere outdoor theatre company. Bring a picnic and learn how these unique productions are developed, written and produced.
The production will run Monday to Saturday on the Barnyard Stage from August 13th until September 1st. Previews are Monday August 13th and Tuesday August 14th, and the gala opening night is Saturday August 18. Opening night celebrations include a dinner at South Pond Farms in Pontypool and a post performance reception at Keystone Links Golf and Country Club in Peterborough.