(From the left): Christian Murray, Hugh Thompson, and Jeremy Webb star in the hilarious The Hound of the Baskervilles.

ANTIGONISH: Excitement is rampant at Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre as the company opened its 30th anniversary season last Thursday with new artistic director Andrea Boyd and an all-star cast including Gemini award winner Hugh Thompson who stars in all three main stage plays.

The first play to open for the repertory season is The Hound of the Baskervilles. This rollicking spoof of the beloved Sherlock Holmes mystery was adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson for Peepolykus Company. Directed by Boyd herself, it features Christian Murray, Hugh Thompson, and Jeremy Webb. The three men play 17 different parts in this fast-paced madcap adventure.

It is a well-known story; Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead, having apparently tip-toed to his final resting place. Sir Henry, a Canadian, arrives to take his rightful place at Baskerville Hall amidst tales of a terrifying Hound on the loose. It’s up to Sherlock Holmes and Watson to keep Sir Henry alive long enough to track down the evil mastermind. In this adaptation of the tale, laughter abounds amid hilarious character changes, creative costume swaps, and brilliantly wacky banter.

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The show previewed on July 12 and opened the next day at the Bauer Theatre located on the StFX campus.

Adding to the main stage series next is Kingfisher Days by Susan Coyne, a heartwarming nostalgic play based on a memoir by Coyne. Kingfisher Days, directed by Mary Vingoe, opens Thursday (July 20) featuring Francine Deschepper, Jennifer Roberts, and Hugh Thompson. The third play in the series is Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl, opening on August 10. Directed by Boyd, and featuring a large ensemble cast, this will be the first Canadian production of this highly-acclaimed contemporary romantic comedy.

The Family Stage will present Martha, a charming award-winning play from Scotland, that will delight the young and the young-at-heart alike. Directed by Richie Wilcox, and featuring Sansom Marchand and Naomi Vogt, this play is a beautiful story about friendship with original music and enchanting puppetry. Martha runs from July 25–August 5, 10 a.m. daily, also at the Bauer Theatre.

As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations, the staff at Festival Antigonish is pleased to introduce several new initiatives this season. This includes pay-what-you previews for all shows, a special relaxed performance of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a reading series of three Canadian plays, a streamlined ticketing system, a pop-up box office that will appear at events and fairs throughout the region all summer, and local product additions and improvements at the theatre’s bar called “The Green Room.” The bar is open pre-show and post-show every night and patrons are invited to enjoy a beverage in the comfort of the lounge or on the welcoming patio, and mingle with the cast and team after the performance.

For more details and a complete show schedule, please visit: www.festivalantigonish.com. Festival Antigonish recognizes the generous support of its funding partners and sponsors, including Main Stage co-sponsors – MacLeod Group and Atlantic Windows, as well as Family Stage sponsor East Coast Credit Union.