Miss Pringle’s Mini-Skirt - theHumm July 2024

Miss Pringle’s Mini-Skirt - theHumm July 2024

By Kris Riendeau

Stone Fence Theatre is a true local gem in the Ottawa Valley. This semi-professional non-profit company has been developing and producing their own original material since 2003, including musical reviews like The Train She Blew from Killaloe, and a romantic musical comedy called Stick Out Your Tongue and Say MOO. In 2023 they toured the Valley with Tom Thomson and the Colours of Canada — a production that raised about $10,000 for local hospitals. Their most recent production was Conspiracy Conniptions, a zany comedy set in a doughnut shop and sung in gospel music style. With their new show opening in July, theHumm caught up with founder/producer Ish Theilheimer to find out more about them.

theHumm: What inspired the founding of Stone Fence Theatre in 2002, and what were some of the initial challenges you faced?

Ish Theilheimer: A number of local storytellers, musicians and artists came together to found the company. I was having a lot of fun playing with The Wilno Express, three “from-aways” who came together to write a lot of funny folk-inspired songs about local people and events — The Breeding of the Pig, The Wilno Hound, The Killaloe Kid in a Kitchener Kitchen, The Toronto Polka — a lot of silly stuff that made people happy in the bars and parties we played throughout the Valley in the ’70s. Then the late Barry Goldie encouraged me to write with a home-grown theatre company called The Upper Madawaska Theatre Group in the 1970s. My first musical, in 1977, was called A Place to Roost, about a city rooster who moved to the country to live on the land. Upper Madawaska developed a number of original scripts, most of them focused on the local area. My work with The Ottawa Citizen connected me in another way with people all over the Valley. Johanna Zomers, author of 2024’s Miss Pringle’s Mini-Skirt, was part of the founding group and was also writing for The Citizen.

It was fun, but it was challenging indeed. There was no tradition of professional theatre in the area, and local people were not accustomed to going out to theatre. We solved that by staging “supper theatre” reminiscent of church suppers, and producing our shows in parish and community halls — anywhere we could seat an audience. For years, we served supper at every show. Now, we only do it once in a while because it’s so much work!

Our biggest challenge has always been our geographic isolation, and the fact that although our area is beautiful and a nice place to spend the summer, it is not a prime tourist destination. It has no large attractions or resorts. We had hoped when we launched the company that it could be a full-time professional operation, but the low-key nature of the tourism industry here ultimately meant we could not do that. We have been part-time and semi-professional since 2006, so getting on Ontario’s and Canada’s cultural map has been hard.

Nevertheless, we offer a unique, magical product, and seasoned theatre-goers who experience Stone Fence for the first time are always blown away by what we produce. We are a group with long experience working together and collaborating to produce very special, original theatrical and musical material. Walk into the community hall, and we take you away to another reality. I, personally, have never lost the inspiration I got from a play my parents took me to see in New York City when I was quite small. It opens with these words: “You are about to hear an opera for beggars. Since this opera was conceived with the splendour only a beggar can imagine and since it had to be so cheap even a beggar could afford it, it is called The Threepenny Opera.” Our shows have that same sense of home-grown grandeur.

Can you share more about the types of productions you focus on and how they reflect the cultural and historical heritage of the Ottawa Valley?

We are of, about, and for the Ottawa Valley. In our earliest years, most of our productions were historical. Our first original show was based on the 100-year history produced by The Eganville Leader called Reflections of a Century, the Musical. One of our most popular shows in early years was Al Capone’s Hideout, about when the gangster hid out near Quadeville. We did a show about the Ottawa Valley’s best-known songwriter, Mac Beattie, that played, in one form or another, 75 times in venues all over the Valley. And Up at Fred’s — Allons-y, the story of beloved Chapeau, Quebec hotel keeper Fred Meilleur, played to more than 4,000 people in 2019.

What role do local artists and community members play in your productions, and how do you engage them in the creative process?

We have built a strong network of local artists who work together on our productions and who inspire one-another to create new ones. Last year we started a playwriting workshop, and there are at least four scripts in development in connection with that. One of the ways we have developed plays over the years is by holding storytelling sessions in which we encourage local people with knowledge of, or experience in, a particular area or time or subject to come and share their stories. We have put a lot of material on stage that has come out of these sessions. It’s hard to make up stuff as interesting as actual history and real people’s stories.

Could you discuss some of the most memorable or impactful performances you’ve had and what made them stand out?

There are so many. Doing Up at Fred’s for 500 people in Chapeau. Doing High Times at the Heart Institute — which is all about the defence of public health care — in Deep River the weekend after Donald Trump was elected. The first storytelling session at the Wilno Tavern in December, 2002. The wonderful roast pork the Our Lady of the Angels church ladies made in our original Brudenell parish hall location. The standing ovations every time Fran Pinkerton sang Canada is Love in Conspiracy Conniptions. So many great memories! We’ve never “made it big,” but the connection we’ve made with people in our community is gratifying and rewarding.

Can you give our readers a sneak peek at your upcoming production, Miss Pringle’s Mini-Skirt, which is set to open July 24?

It’s a two-act musical in two distinct musical styles — Beatles and Mac Beattie (Mac was the Valley’s best-known songwriter) — because those were the competing styles in the Valley in the ’60s. The show casts a fond look back at the final days of rural schoolhouses as the Ottawa Valley discovered the Beatles, the Cold War, and Hockey Night in Canada. The script is inspired by Johanna Zomers’ nostalgic weekly columns in The Eganville Leader. In it, a young, inexperienced first-time teacher “from away” learns to cope with her first teaching job in a schoolhouse on the Opeongo Line, the historic settlement road that winds through the hills of Renfrew County. From threshing to chicken killing, from chimney fires to putting on the Christmas concert, Miss Pringle and her students get an education in rural life, love, family and friendship.

Miss Pringle’s Mini-Skirt opens on July 24 at the Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre in Pembroke. Tickets are available at Tickets Please (TicketsPlease.ca, 485–6434).


Hookking Up with Teri Bell and Chris Wynnyk! - theHumm July 2024

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

These two Valley sisters have hook(k)ed up in a deliciously creative undertaking titled Hookk Creative Crochet. For the past three years these two fabric artists have played and experimented and thoroughly enjoyed themselves developing a line of crocheted jewellery. Suspend any initial reservations, and take a serious look at their eye-catching results.

Matched with the right outfit, their colourful, organic, wildly original pieces can spice up your wardrobe and your life. Each croche......


Celebrate Summerat Almonte Celtfest! - theHumm July 2024

Mark your calendars, make your plans and tell your friends — Almonte Celtfest is back in Gemmill Park with a fantastic lineup of family-friendly entertainment from July 5–7.There are few things sweeter than getting together as a community to enjoy music outdoors, and Almonte Celtfest promises that and so much more. This gem of a festival is organized entirely by volunteers who work on it throughout the year. Thanks to the generosity of community sponsors, entrance to Saturday and Sunday’s progr......


Stewart Park Festival 2024
A Celebration of Music and Community
- theHumm July 2024

Get ready for a musical experience like no other! Perth’s Stewart Park Festival is thrilled to announce a spectacular three-day event, welcoming everyone to join in the celebration of music, community and generosity. Mark your calendars for July 19–21 and prepare for an unforgettable time filled with incredible performances and vibrant festivities.

Taking place in Stewart Park and the Crystal Palace, this unique festival offers a diverse lineup of artists and bands from var......


Madawaska Valley Studio Tour - theHumm July 2024

Spend some time off the beaten path and immerse yourself in art on the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour, which offers two opportunities to visit artists in their studios and see artmaking first-hand. Take a drive through historic routes and explore the Madawaska highlands and valleys during the summer tour on July 20 and 21, or at the fall tour on October 5 and 6. Studios will be open 10am to 5pm on both weekends.

The tour offers the perfect opportunity to explore the pictu......


Using Art in Your Garden - theHumm July 2024

By Suzanne Patry

To design a beautiful garden, it is important to consider the sizes, shapes, textures and colours of plant material and hardscape, as well as the background the garden is set against. In choosing art for your garden, all the same factors come into play. A well-chosen piece of art can be a wonderful addition to a garden. It can be both functional and beautiful. Consider the colourful birdhouses produced by My Recycled Dreams, Portshell Crafts or Peace of Mind Creations. Bir......


Mysteries of the Keyhole House - theHumm July 2024

Grand illusionists and Hollywood’s Magic Castle headliners Ted & Marion Outerbridge are set to cast their spell this month at the Carleton Place Town Hall with their new magic show Mysteries of the Keyhole House, perfect for the entire family (ages 8-108)!

The Keyhole House is an enchanting santuary in the Ottawa Valley, inhabited by Canada’s very own Ted and Marion Outerbridge. Beckoned by the spirits of yesteryear, these connoisseurs of all things magical were ch......


Miss Pringle’s Mini-Skirt - theHumm July 2024

By Kris Riendeau

Stone Fence Theatre is a true local gem in the Ottawa Valley. This semi-professional non-profit company has been developing and producing their own original material since 2003, including musical reviews like The Train She Blew from Killaloe, and a romantic musical comedy called Stick Out Your Tongue and Say MOO. In 2023 they toured the Valley with Tom Thomson and the Colours of Canada — a production that raised about $10,000 for local hospitals. Their most recent production was Cons......


Summer Readin’… Havin’ a Blast! - theHumm July 2024

By John Pigeau

“I don’t change what I read when I go to the beach or on a vacation,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Michael Chabon once said. “I just read more.”

I do the same, Mr. Chabon.

Some people enjoy tanning on the beach, or swimming, or playing volleyball and so on — of course they do — but you’ll find me under the shade of the nearest leafy tree reading, perhaps, a battered old copy of Peter Benchley’s Jaws, which truly is the perfect beach read.

Now that it’s summer at last, lot......


Save the Datefor Country Music! - theHumm July 2024

The Board of Directors of the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame is very pleased to announce the Inductees to be honoured in 2024: The Debenham Brothers, Rae Palmer, Eddie Francis, and Jennifer Johnston-Armstrong.

The 2024 Induction Ceremony will take place at its new time on Sunday, September 29 at 3pm at Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe. Throughout the afternoon you’ll be entertained by over twenty of the best artists and musicians our Ottawa Valley has to offer, performing many of you......


5 Wednesdays in July - theHumm July 2024

By Violet Bova

Friends of Augusta Street Park community volunteers have come together to organize a great lineup for this year’s 5 Wednesdays in July concert series. There actually are 5 Wednesdays in July this year, so mark July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 in your calendar, and see our ad in this month’s issue for the full lineup. Plans are also afoot for the third annual Augustafest live music festival, to be held on September 14.

5 Wednesdays in July and Augustafest are free, family-friendly ......


Merrickville Festival of the Arts - theHumm July 2024

Come on out to Blockhouse Park in beautiful heritage Merrickville on the weekend of July 27 and 28, and immerse yourself in a marvelous mix of arts! The 4th annual Festival of the Arts is organized by the Merrickville Organization for Culture & the Arts, in collaboration with the Merrickville Arts Guild (MAG) and Theatre Night in Merrickville (TNIM).


Each day features a full lineup of wonderful music featuring local and nearby performers. There will also ......


A New Lenson South Crosby - theHumm July 2024

A New Lens on South Crosby is an exciting summer exhibition being presented by the Elgin and Area Heritage Society at the Red Brick School in Elgin, Ontario. Sourced from some 1,300 archived pictures taken by early 20th century photographer Clifford Pennock, this selection of more than 100 photographs will draw you into the life and times of early South Crosby Township.

Marvel at how Clifford Pennock viewed the people, places and surroundings of the early 1900s through his camera lens. With the click of his shutter, he created not only a picture but a testament in time. His selection ......


The Balancing Actof Summer Festivals - theHumm July 2024

By — Jane Torrance is the Chair of the Puppets Up!International Puppet Festival

Ah, summer. The season of swimming and BBQs, late nights on patios, hanging out with friends, cottages and camping and exploring new places, festivals and events that showcase the joy and creativity of towns and villages across our region.

Here at Puppets Up! we have prepared an exciting and magical line up of entertainment that will delight and amaze our audiences! Are you ready for 14 puppet troupes from across Canada and the USA to perform in six theatres spread out in beautiful downtown Alm......


Explore Exciting New Flavours!
Almonte Craft Beer Fest Set for July 26
- theHumm July 2024

Sip some of region’s best brews and winning wines at the Almonte Craft Beer Fest, taking place on Friday, July 26.

Coordinated by the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, the event takes over the grounds of Almonte Old Town Hall (14 Bridge St.) from 6:30–10:30pm. Come for an amazing evening featuring nine local breweries and wineries, live entertainment, and some tasty treats from food vendors.

Participating breweries and wineries include Vodkow, Cartwright Springs Brewery, Farmgate Cider, C......


Rowland Leather Celebrates 50 Years - theHumm July 2024

Celebrating 50 years in business is a remarkable milestone for Rowland Leather, a creative studio founded by Michael Rowland in Merrickville, Ontario. Over the years, Rowland has established a reputation for crafting elegant and durable leather goods, garnering a loyal following both locally in Canada and internationally. Below are some key highlights from Rowland’s journey.

Artisanal Legacy

A self-taught artisan who delved into leatherwork from a young age, Rowland ha......


Garden Nightmares - theHumm July 2024

By David Hinks

What is your worst garden nightmare? Goutweed invading your prize perennials? Bindweed popping up all over your lawn and vegetable patch? Poison ivy creeping into your yard under the fence from your neighbour?

Our relationship with plants is a complicated one. On the one hand we want plants that will thrive; on the other hand we want plants that will be well behaved. We are deceived into thinking that our new perennial border will be maintenance-free. However, any garden requires a lot of work — ......


Textiles and theStories They Tell
An Evening of Multicultural Clothing and Dance
- theHumm July 2024

Textiles are threads that weave together the stories of our past, our community, and our culture. These stories help us understand each other. The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) and The Inclusion Project are hosting an evening of multicultural clothing and dance to explore these connections. From Asia to Turtle Island, see the beautiful cultural clothing of our models, hear their stories, and learn their culture. Taking place on Sunday, July 14 from 6–8pm at the M......


Woven by Hand
Contemporary Canadian Tapestries at MVTM
- theHumm July 2024

Join the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) on Saturday, July 20 at 1pm for the opening of Woven by Hand: Contemporary Canadian Tapestries! This new exhibit presents recent works designed and woven by a collective of outstanding Canadian tapestry artists, reflecting their experiences and the comfort/discomfort of the Covid lockdowns. Each tapestry is an individual response to the world at a time of unprecedented challenges and social upheaval.

Recognized interna......


We Did It! - theHumm July 2024

By Glenda Jones

We did it — we made it to 60 years of married life, and to our surprise we realized that half of it has been spent right here on Carroll Side Road. Does this qualify us as locals now? Are we still living on the McCabe property? Can we claim it as our own now?

In 1964, we thought it was a grand joke to be getting married on Independence Day, July 4. All our friends were already married, embarked on parenthood and careers and buying homes while we’d been toiling away on education. But we could only......


Creative Expressions
Virginia Ross Jewellery and Watercolours
- theHumm July 2024

The Almonte Library Corridor Gallery invites you to an exhibition featuring new works from Almonte artist Virginia Ross, which runs until Friday, August 9.

Virginia draws from her international experiences as a child and her educational background to infuse her pieces with an organic flavour and a tasteful play of colours. The daughter of a diplomat, she grew up in Latin America and has also spent time in the United States and Europe. She is the daughter and granddaughter of visual artists, and her......


River City Junction Comes to The Cove - theHumm July 2024

By Seamus Cowan

For almost 30 years, River City Junction has been playing big festivals like RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, Montreal’s FestiBlues, and many of the clubs in Eastern Ontario and Quebec. They have had the honour of performing with artists like Jerry Mercer, Harpdog Brown, Jerome Godboo, Eric Shenkman, Steve Marriner, and Matt Sobb. They played The Cove for the first time this past February, and will be bringing their funky soulful sound back on Saturday, July 27. I caught up with lead singer......


Light, Earth & Memory at Sivarulrasa Gallery   - theHumm July 2024

Sivarulrasa Gallery will present three new exhibitions starting on July 26. Carol Bajen-Gahm: Littoral Light, featuring a series of 12 new paintings, will run in Gallery I. Carol lives on the East coast of Newfoundland, working from her studio on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Gizem Candan’s thought-provoking installation worms as earth, earth as ochre will run in Gallery II. In this installation, the artist explores the kinship between species, including psycholo......


Dreams Do Come True
Accessible and Barrier Free Playground
- theHumm July 2024

The Almonte Civitan Club is about to see a twenty-?ve-year-old dream come true! A fully accessible and barrier free playground for all has been designed for persons of all ages, regardless of their physical abilities or cognitive challenges. The playground will include a walking track and impact-absorbing rubberized play surface designed with safety in mind. All of this in a quiet outdoor setting.

The project is set for completion in 2026. The club commitment of $200,000 toward this......


New Arts Carleton Place “Art Hub”
Gallery, Meeting Space & Studio!
- theHumm July 2024

By Kris Riendeau

Arts Carleton Place (ACP), a dynamic organization that has been active since the fall of 2005, is continuing their mission to recognize, celebrate, and promote the unique artistic activity in the vicinity. With an eye to “empowering artists and area residents through the arts,” this group has been busy hosting art shows, donating to area student bursary programs, and facilitating the process of getting art into public spaces. This month they will be launching a new Art Hub, which will consist of ......


Bridge Street Summerfest - theHumm July 2024

On Saturday, July 27, the highly anticipated Bridge Street Summerfest will return to Downtown Carleton Place. Bridge Street will be transformed as it becomes a bustling hub of entertainment and vendors, stretching from Mill Street to Lake Avenue. Prepare to be amazed by the diverse range of artisans, makers, crafters, vintage and thrift resellers, pop-ups, and remarkable local businesses that will fill Bridge Street with an array of remarkable discoveries.

The goal of Summerfest is......


The Return of the Rideau Artist of the Year - theHumm July 2024

Rideau Artist of the Year (RAY) is a celebration of local artists competing and creating live outdoors along the historic Rideau Canal waterway. This unique event will be returning for its third year in early September.

The 2023 competition was won by Rachel Houlton. A professional artist for over 23 years, Rachel captured the attention of jurors and the public with her showpiece entitled Joyce’s Hydrangeas. The Youth Artist prize for 2023 was won by artisti......


The Wanted to Play Chaffey’s Lock Hall - theHumm July 2024

The Chaffey’s Lock and Area Heritage Society (CLAHS) is gearing up for the second concert in their 2024 Music Events Headliner Season at the historic Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall. On July 27, Toronto’s The Wanted will bring their distinct sound, described as folk and alt-country with a cool Canadian edge. This is full-throated, full-throttle entertainment, imbued with a spirit that is darkly haunting, incisively witty, or just plain fun.

Then on August 24, Emilie Steele &......


Astronomical Observatory Exhibit at the Mill of Kintail - theHumm July 2024

By Rick Scholes

A special exhibit featuring the Fred Lossing Observatory (FLO) is now open at the Mill of Kintail Museum near Almonte. FLO has been called “A Hidden Gem in Mississippi Mills,” an apt description since many people who’ve lived in the area for years remain unaware of its existence. This could have a lot to do with astronomers working mostly at night, in the dark. It is also because FLO is a membership-based astronomical observatory operated by the Ottawa chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). The observatory is hidden (er, I mean, located) elsewhere on the grounds of th......


So Many EV Myths to Bust - theHumm July 2024

By Sue Brandum

I have had an Electric Vehicle — or EV — for two-and-a-half years now. I love it. And frankly, I get very tired of seeing the various posts on social media meant to discredit EVs.

So it was with particular pleasure that Climate Network Lanark (CNL) invited the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO) to come to Almonte on June 8, bringing a group of volunteers and cars to offer test drives (nine people took advantage, with others doing ride alongs), but particularly to give a presentation on ......