The Port Stanley Festival Theatre is a 200 seat theatre located in the former Town Hall building on the North Shore of beautiful Lake Erie in Port Stanley, Ontario. Our mandate is to produce appealing summer theatre that highlights Canadian works in drama, comedy and musical-comedy, along with other celebrated works.
Jim Schaefer was the founder and Artistic Director of the Port Stanley Summer Theatre, which provided community entertainment in the Village Hall using local themes, actors and staff for thirteen years. When Mr. Schaefer left the Summer Theatre in the early summer of 1991, a group of interested citizens stepped into the void, elected a Board of Directors, hired Pat Spadini as Artistic Director, and launched an "Emergency Season". During this period, two touring shows, each of which ran for a three week period, filled the gap. "Pinchpenny Phantom of the Opera", a musical comedy and "Laughing Wild", a tragicomedy, kept theatre alive in the village and the Board started to look forward to 1992.
The inaugural season of 1992 was really the beginning of what has become known as the Port Stanley Festival Theatre. At that time a set of by-laws was prepared, the theatre was incorporated, a charity number applied for, and an executive elected. Pat Spadini continued as Artistic Director. The maiden season was comprised of all Canadian works beginning with "Up the Creek", an original production written by local playwright, Mike Mulhern, "Toronto, Mississippi" (Joan MacLeod) and "Salt Water Moon" (David French)which delighted the audiences and encouraged the new Board to prepare for another season.
Since the appointment of Simon Joynes as Artistic Director in 2005, the theatre has gone from strength to strength. Since 2011, each summer the theatre company has presented a summer season of 5 Canadian plays in a total of over 100 performances, a community play with local volunteer actors, a youth theatre program, and a winter music series.
Port Stanley Festival Theatre also participates in the Ontario Arts Council's Theatre Creators' Reserve program, which assists Ontario-based professional theatre creators and informal collectives of creators by funding them to create work.