Music, mystery and comedy

Tara Bradbury
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Grand Bank Regional Theatre opens its 2014 season tonight

Grand Bank Regional Theatre started as the definition of modest: a group of locals, thinking it would be nice to put off a play about local history, produced one in the kitchen of a town heritage building, with a capacity of 20 people.

Grand Bank Regional Theatre performers (from left) Barry Welsh, Andrea
Massoud, Sharon King-Campbell, Jody Lear and Aaron Smith rehearse for their 2014 season, which opens tonight. — Submitted photo by Kevin Woolridge

Eighteen years later, the summer theatre company, which is opening its 2014 season tonight, is offering a professional series of shows, from mystery to music to slapstick comedy.

The kitchen (though not the same one) is still at the heart of the company, with many of the productions taking the form of dinner theatre.

New artistic director Kevin Woolridge — a 20-year veteran of the Newfoundland and Labrador theatre scene and a graduate of the theatre program at Grenfell — says the anticipation in the area has been building for a while; he’s noticed it ever since he arrived in Grand Bank.

“Out here, (we) get a lot of local support; everybody tends to come out and see the show. You really have to think about what people out here are looking to see, not just the tourists that are coming through,” Woolridge says. “For example, they love their music shows out here, especially anything that’s kind of rock ’n’ roll or country, so we try to lean in that direction.”

On the program for this summer is “Woodstock Revival,” with music and stories from the 1969 festival, and “The Fisherman’s Revenge,” a comedy about poor Joe, who can’t find a husband for his daughter and can’t pay his debts. “Ado” is a dinner theatre version of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” adapted by Woolridge and set in Newfoundland after the Second World War.

“Nar Clue” is a murder-mystery comedy and dinner, written by Woolridge and directed by Sharon King-Campbell.

“It’s set in Grand Bank and it’s very silly but also a little bit scary,” Woolridge explains. “I got my inspiration from ‘Haunted Honeymoon’ and ‘Clue’ and ‘Frankenstein’ and that kind of era of scary comedy."

Other events include a series of lunchtime music concerts and a finale featuring the entire cast.

Tickets for any of Grand Bank Regional Theatre’s shows can be purchased online through

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador theatre, Grand Bank Regional Theatre

Geographic location: Grand Bank, Newfoundland

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