Blyth Festival 2022 Season
by Shawn Loughlin
The Blyth Festival is returning to full-scale productions in 2022 with a four-show season to be produced entirely on the company’s new outdoor Harvest Stage.
Artistic Director Gil Garratt said the season will begin with an anniversary celebration of sorts with a remount of The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey, one of the most celebrated plays in Canadian history and a Blyth Festival commission that would premiere at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille and spawn an award winning film just a few years ago. Healey’s fictional retelling of the creation of The Farm Show has received international renown and was on the Blyth Festival stage in 2000 and 2002 with Garratt playing the role of Miles, a young actor living on a Clinton-area farm conducting research for the play.
Now, Cameron Laurie, a Huron County native with several Festival credits to his name, will fill the role of Miles. An interview with
the Young Company alumnus is featured in the Festival’s newsletter, which was sent out to members in March. In addition, Garratt said there will be live music to score the production, courtesy of Anne Lederman of the 2004 Festival production of Spirit of the Narrows and Graham Hargrove of 2019’s A Huron County Christmas Carol. The Drawer Boy will open the
season, running from June 22 to July 16. The two-act show will feature a single intermission.
The season’s second show is Cottagers and Indians by celebrated Indigenous playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, whose work was last featured at the Blyth Festival in 2017 with The Berlin Blues. Garratt says the comedy about a land claims conflict premiered in 2019 and was ready to be featured in theatres across the country before the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the theatre world in its tracks. Cottagers and Indians is one act without an intermission and it runs from July 21 to Aug. 6.
The third show is The Waltz from Marie Beath Badian, who is no stranger to the Blyth Festival. The show is the sequel to her 2013 Festival production of Prairie Nurse and the second show in a trilogy surrounding those characters. Badian began writing the third and final show, The Cottage Guest, after Prairie Nurse, but became sidetracked and enamored with The Waltz and finished it before she was able to close out The Cottage Guest. Prairie Nurse was set in the 1960s, with The Waltz set to take place in the early 1990s. The Cottage Guest will be set in 2017. Badian says The Waltz is meant to be produced outdoors under the night sky, so it will be a perfect fit for the Festival’s Harvest Stage. The Waltz is a one-act show and it runs from Aug. 11-27.
The final show of the year is Cheryl Foggo’s John Ware Reimagined, which features music by Miranda Martini and Kris
Demeanor. Foggo’s work was last featured in Blyth in 2012 with The Devil We Know, co-written by Foggo and Clem Martini.
The play will address the legend of John Ware, a Black Canadian cowboy living in Alberta in the 1880s, and the many stories of other Black cowboys in the country at that time. The play builds on Foggo’s 2020 National Film Board of Canada documentary, John Ware Reclaimed. John Ware Reimagined will close the Festival season with performances from Sept. 1-24. It is two acts with one intermission.
For more information, visit the Festival website at blythfestival.com. 377 Gypsy Lane, Blyth