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Century Church Theatre joins the return to in-person performances

November 4, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Welcome back to Century Church Theatre in Hillsburgh with its opening production of To Die For by Canadian playwright, Caroline Smith and directed by Nick Farrow. Mr. Farrow has been involved with Century Church since 2012, acting and directing and he loves doing it.

“The production is called To Die For,” he told the Citizen in a telephone interview. “There are three characters and it is set in an old manor house on the cliff edge; the owner is a writer of – what she says are ‘Bodice rippers.’ 

“She’s not nice,” he assured us, laying out the play’s cornerstone. “She plays tricks – she arranges events to frighten her visitors.”

It seems that the not-nice character-monster is Carla Wood, who insists on dictating her novels and whose secretaries run away and have somehow come to harm, as has her last secretary.

Enter the next secretary to be, Grace and a man, Grace’s unnamed friend. Unbeknownst to Carla, Grace has come with this man to discover the mystery of the missing last secretary.

“It’s very dark,” Mr. Farrow commented with some satisfaction, “a mystery/thriller with comedic elements and lots of special effects.”

The special effects and other staging points have presented a number of challenges for Nick Farrow and his team.

“I’ve been living with this project for two and half years. I saw great potential in it. We can’t do all the stage directions but have tried to replace them with interesting alternatives that go along with our space,” he said. “We’ve been experimenting with the lights and I’m learning a lot.”

This is his second start with To Die For, as he explained, “When I was first given the project, we had one rehearsal in January of 2020, which was shut down by Covid.

Because we can’t do the [Christmas] Panto and the set for this play had already been placed on the stage, we’ll do the Panto in May. For this, Covid protocols, masks on stage are no longer required.”

It was important to Nick Farrow, like theatres throughout the region, that “we get across to patrons, the measures that the theatre is taking for every performance. Masks will be necessary while in the theatre, proof of vaccination and there are no door sale tickets; everything has to be done in advance.”

Safety is all, with the cleaning in between performances and all the protocols in place.

Opening “night” is actually a Sunday matinee, Nov. 14 and is sold out. The other two Sunday matinees are on Nov. 21 & 28, all starting at 2:30 p.m.

There are three evening performances: on Friday, Nov. 20, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26 and 27. The three Evening Performances begin at 8:00 p.m.

There was a slightly shorter rehearsal time for this community theatre production, which normally takes place just on Sunday afternoons.

He said, “The main character has a lot of the script – she’s come in after our original actor had to pull out. I’ve worked with the two lady actors before directing and as a fellow actor. So, we know each other and work well together. The man is unnamed in the play but has worked before, although this is the first time I’m directing him and he is a delight.

“We’re all very excited to be working again,” he was clear to say.

As a side note, Mr. Farrow told the Citizen that he had been recording with another company, during the Covid lockdown of the theatre, a couple of radio broadcasts, including Hound of the Baskerville “and a little-known piece by Jane Austen. I was working with Bacchus Theatre of the Wine, founded by Lana Borsellino.”

His first venture with Century Church Theatre in 2012 was an audition and he was amazed to be given the role of Buttons in Cinderella.

“I protested my age,” he remarked, “but they made that love as a brother.”

When the Erin Arts Foundation offered courses in directing, run by Century Church Theatre’s Neville Worsnop, Mr. Farrow was interested to take them.

Be sure to see the show, as Nick Farrow notes, “It’s an escape and it’s live, so anything can happen and probably will and it’s fun, a chance of meeting people.”

Plus, “It’s a very reasonably priced form of entertainment.”

Of the show itself: “What I love about the show is the way it’s written, how the characters have to change their stance as the tables turn.”

Performance times are Nov. 14, 21 & 28 at 2.30 p.m. and Nov. 20, 26 and 27 at 8.00 p.m.

It should be noted that there will be absolutely no Door Sales ticket opportunities.

The website reminds: “To ensure the safety of the audience, cast and crew, hands will be sanitized and masks worn at all times within the theatre. Proof of vaccination will also be required upon arrival.”

For tickets call the Box Office at 519 855 4586 and payment made by Credit Card or E-transfer or check out the website at

Century Church Theatre, with a 25-year history, has braved and been supported all the way through the Covid lockdown: a testament to the importance of community theatre.

Come out and enjoy live local theatre once more and give your support at the same time.

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