Ottawa Little Theatre: celebrating 110 years in our community

Karine Charland

Did you know Sandy Hill is host to Canada’s longest-running community theatre? Through peace and war, the Great Depression, and other milestones of modern history, the Ottawa Little Theatre has entertained patrons and fostered local talent for over a century. For nearly as long, it has called 400 King Edward Ave. its home.

This year, OLT celebrates its 110th season, and promises a journey filled with wonder, laughter, drama, adventure, and suspense, topped with a sprinkle of holiday spirit. At its March opening, audiences were dazzled by a whimsical adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, featuring Regency-inspired costumes, meddling gossips, and a riveting, rotating set. Until April 22, Norm Foster’s heartwarming comedy, Halfway There, features a female foursome’s flirtations with the new male doctor in town as they fumble comically through their own issues of intimacy.

If you missed the first two shows, not to worry: there are seven more gems in store. In May, witness tensions rise and values collide as Twelve Angry Jurors ponder the fate of a young man charged with homicide. In June, follow a Canadian writer’s Noble Pursuit of the Nobel Prize in a farcical twist of events fueled by conspiracy and copious quantities of Scotch whisky. In July, embark on an adventurous trip Around the World in 80 Days, featuring hot-air balloons, elephants, and typhoons. As summer subsides, encounter three troubled sisters seeking to surmount distressing circumstances in Crimes of the Heart. As fall sets in, accompany two actors on a mission of Shakespearean proportions in The Book of Will. As the days grow ever shorter, stay tuned for Agatha Christie’s nail-biting twist on romance, in Love from a Stranger. Round out the year with a dose of holiday cheer, starring everyone’s favourite miser and his long-dead partner: enter Scrooge and Marley.

Throughout the years, OLT has gained a reputation for producing professional quality shows while staying true to its community roots. In fact, the theatre is run almost entirely by volunteers. As Venetia Lawless, chair of the Volunteer Committee, explains: “The OLT volunteers are the heart of every production—they make our shows what they are. There is something for everyone here — introverts, extroverts, tech-minded or more hospitality-focused, budding actors or behind-the-scenes artists. As a second generation OLT’er who has been here for over 30 years, I can say that there is no better environment in which to grow up, to express oneself, to learn and to thrive than a community theatre. We are so fortunate to have the Ottawa Little Theatre as a creative space.”

For more information on Ottawa Little Theatre’s current season, ticket purchases and volunteer opportunities, visit www.ottawalittletheatre.com, and put a little theatre in your life!

Ottawa Little Theatre at its home on King Edward Avenue
Photo Karine Charland