Previously known as Festival Players, County Stage Company unveiled a rebranding late last year with the goal of better reflecting programming diversity, as well as putting pride of place at centre stage. For almost two decades, County Stage Company has been enlivening the unique towns, villages and stunning landscapes of Prince Edward County by melding performing arts, music and even food. Within that time, the local theatre company has established an international reputation for presenting theatre for audiences who seek innovation and imagination.
Spotlight On Roots
County Stage Company has produced more than a hundred performances since its inception in 2006, with prominent Canadian artists gathering in the heart of Prince Edward County’s growing wine and tourist industry. Focusing primarily on theatre, County Stage Company recently branched out to include a wider variety of artistic programming, such as modern dance, comedy, and music.
Before settling in at The Eddie Hotel and Farm, the County Stage Company performed in many places across the County – from churches to storefronts, to vineyards. Artistic director, Graham Abbey, was quoted by the Quinte Arts Council as noting that the initial assortment of performance spaces actually contributed to creating a strong and eclectic company.
Abbey, a veteran film, TV and stage actor and director, is at the helm of a team of industry insiders who are keen to further elevate and define County Stage Company. Together they have built onto the cultural infrastructure in the County, which is sought out for its prestigious arts-related experiences.
What’s In The Works
Last season was a smash hit – County Stage Company’s biggest and boldest to date. While building on the success of the first year at The Eddie Hotel and Farm, the Company dove into expanded programming at both their outdoor pavilion and the historic Red Barn Theatre. In fact, 2022 witnessed the return of dance, comedy, music and theatre alongside interactive and engaging community events.
One of the highlights of last season was the world premiere of the County Stage Company commission, The Shape of Home, exploring the life and work of Al Purdy, Canada’s unofficial poet laureate. The theatrical concert drew national acclaim and went on to be remounted in Toronto at Crow’s Theatre last fall.
The lineup for summer 2023 isn’t yet released, but the launch is in the works. Keep an eye on the County Stage Company’s website and socials to be the first to know what’s in store for the upcoming season.
Abbey has been known to keep his finger on the influence of Canadian culture while curating the company’s performances. Indeed, County Stage Company is recognized for its passionate Canadian artists, “…inspired by the muse and romance of Prince Edward County,” according to the website.
In addition to the intensive festival that spans the duration of the summer, the Company also offers outreach opportunities, such as camps and performance classes for youth, as well as an Indigenous Theatre Creator Program.
While dreaming about the summer ahead, think about savouring a glass of local wine, indulging in an outdoor dinner – and sitting back to experience enriching, professional live theatre. Discover that and more with County Stage Company.