Putting on the classic musical Anne of Green Gables has been on Bard To Broadway’s radar for years, says director of the upcoming production Eileen Butts. And this year, with the desired cast available for the production, the dream became a reality.
“Anne of Green Gables is part of the DNA of Canada,” Butts said, attributing the quote to a source on the Internet. “This is a homegrown classic that has been playing in Charlottetown for 46 consecutive summers. It just seemed like a real thrill to be able to do it this year.”
Butts is originally from Montreal and has been in the area since 1976. She was a science and English teacher at Qualicum Beach Middle School as well as the teacher librarian for a number of years until she retired two years ago.
Butts remembers her first role when she was about six or seven years old, when she was cast the role of Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
“The high school was putting it on and needed elementary school kids to play the dwarfs,” she said with a laugh.
Butts has been involved with theatre on and off since that time, taking on the role of director for the first time with Laundry for Echo Players in 1989. She has now directed or co-directed 11 productions for Echo Players and nine with Bard to Broadway.
Butts said she likes directing because it allows people to have an experience they might not otherwise have, among other reasons, but she also enjoys acting.
“I’m basically a ham at heart so I think acting is more fun, and directing also has a tremendous number of joys to it,” she said.
Butts said audiences will enjoy this classic family story of an orphan who finds a new family and a village that comes to love her.
B2B has purchased the rights from the Charlottetown festival and the show will essentially be the same as the long-standing production performed year after year in the capital city on Prince Edward Island, with minor modifications.
“Ultimately it’s a great, great story of love,” she said. “And the music is delicious.”
Anne Of Green Gables The Musical is based on the novel written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, published in 1908. The house and grounds that inspired the setting of the story is called Green Gables, located in Prince Edward Island National Park, and is a popular tourist site.
Anne of Green Gables The Musical starts this Wednesday, July 6 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach and runs to Aug. 5. For tickets and info visit www.b2btheatre.com or call 250-752-4470.