MABOU: From a Canadian classic rock band to local greats, from magicians to tribute bands – a whole lot of entertainment is coming to the Strathspey Performing Arts Centre – they even have a guy juggling chainsaws coming in.

“We have lots of variety lined up,” said Tracey MacNeil, executive director of the facility, when chatting with The Reporter late last week. “We have six pretty big shows coming in.

“Our first is called ‘It’s Showtime!’ and it features a number of professional musicians from Inverness County. They perform gospel, blues, rock ‘n roll, county, and all kinds of great instrumental music as well.”

The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and it includes performers Jeannie Beks, Judy MacIsaac, Johnny Gillis, Brian Doyle, D.J. Timmons, and Steve Hughes. MacNeil said she’s very excited about the March 30 show.

Just a few nights after that outing, The Stampeders will visit on April 3. The gig will kick off a cross-Canada tour for the classic Canadian rock band. The performance is also at 7:30 p.m.

“That’s really something for Strathspey, to be able to bring in a block-buster group like that,” MacNeil said. “They’ve had such a great career over such a long period of time.”

(From the left): Bette MacDonald, Lucy MacNeil, Heather Rankin, and Jenn Sheppard will visit Strathspey Performing Arts Centre on April 8 as the Island Girls.

On April 8, Island Girls will take to the stage. In specific, the Island Girls are Bette MacDonald, Heather Rankin, Lucy MacNeil, and Jenn Sheppard. The women will offer a combination of music and comedy for the audience. The show originated at the Savoy Theatre but the ladies are doing a bit of traveling with it.

Each of them has their own following, and to put them altogether will be a lot of fun,” MacNeil said.

May will have two events at the theatre, one musical and one dealing with sleight of hand. On May 4, the East Coast Illusionists will come to Mabou. On May 24, the tunes of a music legend will be put on stage during a show entitled “The Lonely: The Music of Roy Orbison.”

The illusionists are bound to leave local audiences amazed, MacNeil said.

“These guys are juggling chainsaws, swallowing fire, and reading your mind,” MacNeil said. “Ian Stewart [one of the performers] holds the record in the Guinness Book for chainsaw juggling, and he was on the Late Show with David Letterman.”

Also participating will be Giorno (magician), Stephanie MacPhee (fire swallowing), Kirk MacNeil (mind reading), and Paul Naas (grand illusionist).

The Roy Orbison show will also be something special, she said. The show performed all across Canada.

“This is a different thing for the community as opposed to what we’ve had,” MacNeil said.

On June 1, another musical legend will be celebrated as “Momentary Lapse – A Pink Floyd Tribute Show” comes to the theatre.

“My understanding is it’s very high tech has lots of lighting, a bit like what East Coast Illusionists will have going on,” MacNeil said. “One thing we’re trying to do is up the level of entertainment in terms of lighting and audio visual and just creative imagery. We want to take advantage the equipment and infrastructure in the theatre.”

Along with the six shows, there will be a pairing of children’s pieces: a Dance Debut performance (May 10) and Little Voices, a children’s choir (April 28). More information on those events and all things going on at the centre can be found on-line at:

Tickets can be ordered on-line at: or by calling 902-945-5300.

On May 4, the East Coast Illusionists will come to Mabou.