The Stirling Festival Theatre

This summer, as the well known local poet Al Purdy would encourage, head to the country north of Belleville. In particular, head to the village of Stirling. As you travel through the main street, enjoy the local creamery, the quaint shops and the family run restaurants. This village has the familiar and comfortable feel of a small, busy well preserved town. At the heart of this lovely little village is a gem, a local source of pride, a must to visit, the Stirling Festival Theatre.

As you approach you will notice the old fa├žade of the theatre which is a reminder of times past. This historic edifice built in 1927 hums with history, a rich history, a varied history. The list of prior tenants includes a movie theatre, a police station, the public works office and even a jail! Nowadays it houses comparable characters – actors (the dressing rooms are the old jail cells), directors, volunteers and the like; a charming transition.

The stone entrance has the traditional theatre face, the French glass doors add to the glamour of the experience, and the wide hallway draws you in. As you step inside, know that you are in good company. Over 45,000 people attend the Stirling Festival Theatre every year, each looking forward to the rich experience the patrons have come to expect from this theatre.

Once inside, you ascend the wide hallway getting a glimpse and a synopsis of the performers for the evening by way of a wall of fame. At the end of the hall you will find the wonderful auditorium and you will be greeted with one of the many friendly faces you will see on your visit. The wide range of live entertainment means there is something for everyone of every age. Whether you enjoy plays, musicals or concerts there is something in the lineup for you.

Get yourself a ticket. Find yourself a seat. The layout of this theatre assures that you will enjoy a great view of the stage, wherever you decide to sit. Enjoy.
During the intermission of your show, be sure to head up to the Burrell Hall. This room has been actively housing community social activities since its inception in the late 20’s. The atmosphere is rich and the walls whisper of socials long-ago.
It is hard to believe, but at one point in time this building so full of local history was once headed for the wrecking ball. Thanks to a crew of dedicated Stirling residents, it was saved.

2010 is proving to be an exciting and new year for the Stirling Festival Theatre. After thirteen successful seasons, acclaimed artistic director Caroline Smith moved in a new direction with her work, and Claudia Staines has been brought in to resume the devoted efforts, adding new energy to an already rich, solid foundation. Claudia shares her experience and passion for quality theatre while staying true to the same commitments of the previous director. Claudia notes that this theatre “has always been blessed with a passionate and dedicated audience” and she intends to meet the excellent standards the patrons have come to expect from their theatre.

All this being on a smaller scale, this experience, this theatre, is truly remarkable. If there is one stop you need to add to your summer hit list, it is the Stirling Festival Theatre.

You can find this article in the Summer 2010 edition of County and Quinte Living Magazine.


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