Our Stratford Trip is Upon Us! And the Next Season is Already a Hot Topic with the Kids!

As the year comes to an end at Riverfront, we celebrate in a couple of ways.

First of all, there was our year-end picnic, which we held on Saturday. Almost all the families made it out for a barbecue, some horsing around on a splash pad, a lot of eating and a fair amount of singing (somehow, they’re already getting started with Seussical sing-alongs!).

It was extremely hot, but the splash pad helped, and it’s always good to hang out with our group.

On Friday morning, over 70 parents, crew and cast members are heading up in a convoy to Stratford, Ontario, where we’ll be taking in a couple of plays and having a talkback with members of the cast of Treasure Island. This is becoming an annual tradition at RTC; it’s our third trip, and it feels like a well-earned reward for a season of hard work. (To be absolutely clear, this is a family-funded field trip, and no sponsorship money goes toward the excursion!)

We’ll be seeing Treasure Island and Romeo and Juliet this time around, and the kids are excited. We have a fair number of students who have been studying Romeo and Juliet this year at school, so it’s nice to see it afterwards. For a few, it’ll be their first Shakespeare play, and I’m hoping very much that they enjoy it because we did not have time this year to study it at all at Riverfront, despite my best intentions.

I expect there to be a lot of chatter about the two plays we’re seeing this week, on the drive up and back, and during our picnic and our day at Stratford. No doubt about it, they’ll have a lot of thoughts and opinions and reviews. It’s so much fun bringing theatre kids to a talkback at Stratford. They make keen observations and have a lot of interesting questions. The cast members tend to really love interacting with us, and ask us nearly as many questions as we ask them!

That said, I know that there will be a lot more chatter about next season at RTC, because these kids are heavily invested in their own company, and they’re very keen to discuss how things will be shaping up.  I’ve already heard back from almost every one of them about their plans for next year, and almost without fail, unless they have to leave the country, as our two exchange students do, they’re returning. That’s great news for RTC – the programme is super-popular with its members, and they love it and don’t want to leave. It’s harder news for those on the waiting list. Our Senior Ensemble is already going to be very, very large, and we’ll be lucky if we get to grab even one or two from the Senior List. Those waiting on the Junior list will have better luck. Lots of our kids are moving up (another reason our Seniors are getting crowded). I should be able to take a fair number of Juniors from the list. But I’m afraid that it’s quite certain that anyone applying from this point on will already have to be placed on the waiting list for our 2018-2019 season. The main reason for this is volunteer-student ratios, and cast sizes. I could cram extras into every corner of the stage and try to make that work, but we really do want our students to have a good and productive experience and be able to do something that holds their interest. There’s only so big a cast can get before people don’t have a lot to do.


Princesses Aplenty: a Wonderful Success

In the chaos of the aftermath of our last production, this blog post comes a bit late. It’s hard to believe it’s all over but the cast party, frankly!  This season has been so incredibly busy, that although the work on stage is over, there are a hundred administrative details to wrap up.

Last weekend, we held our final production of the season, Princesses Aplenty. We performed four times, with a total of approximately 900 people seeing the show.  There were 50 actors in the play – our stage and dressing rooms were packed, and in fact, we spilled out into the audience with our Juniors, seating them in the front rows to join the rest on stage when their turns came up.

I can’t even tell you how many positive comments we received about the show. People loved the story, the songs, the dancing, our live band. They thought the improv scene with Sleeping Beauty and her unexpected hero was a lot of fun, they loved the strong independence displayed by our princesses. Our beautiful dragon was a big hit, our Minstrels kept them laughing, and we had so many opportunities to showcase the talent that each and every member of the cast brought to the table this year.

Princesses Aplenty was a labour of love from the moment we started cooking up the story in the winter of 2011. Expanding it for the full cast was absolutely the right call for us, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the result.

There was a PARTICULARLY noteworthy element to this production – our opening night held a special surprise which we’d been keeping secret for months.  Sabin Visan, long-time production crew member, met Katina Vido, five years ago during Riverfront’s first production of Princesses Aplenty. He asked permission to propose to Katina during this production, and we worked an excuse for him to do it on stage right into the show. It was a beautiful moment for us to be part of, and very special for not only our very dear couple, but for everyone who got to see it.

Sabin proposing

If you’d like to actually SEE the proposal (OF COURSE YOU WANT TO SEE IT) – then have a look right here.

I hope to produce Princesses Aplenty at least once more with Riverfront before I retire; it is, without fail, the show the kids request the most.  Anyone who joined us this season to see it will, I hope, agree – it’s pretty special.


Again, our thanks to everyone who made this season possible and successful.  We’re already hard at work getting ready for the coming season, and the number of students returning tells me that I’m not likely to get to more than a couple of students on the Seniors waiting list. I might do a bit better with the Juniors, because we have a lot of kids moving up this year, which creates openings.  I hope everyone has a safe and happy summer – we’ll let you know about our annual Car Wash and Smash fundraiser coming up in July!

Book Your Classes For Princesses Aplenty!

On Friday, May 26, 2017. at 10 a.m., the Riverfrontiers will be opening Princesses Aplenty: The Musical, for our school audiences. Students from Windsor and Essex County will be filing into The Olde Walkerville Theatre to see our first performance, as they do with every production.

I love watching the students filing in and seeing our beautiful historic theatre, which excites them, and watching their faces as they enjoy the performances. Invariably, after every school performance, I get a surge of emails from parents who want to know more about the programme we run, and how their kids can get involved. I like to imagine the excited chatter around the dinner table when the kids share about their experience with RTC earlier that day.

Princesses Aplenty is suitable for all grades to come to see – there may be some jokes or speeches that go over the heads of the smallest members of the audience, but there’s enough there to appeal to everyone. We have all your favourite princesses, we have just enough villainy to keep things exciting, we have a splash of Shakespeare for the older students – and enough fairy-tale characters bewildered by them that there’s frequent “interpretation” of their lines.

We have heroic characters standing up for themselves in choosing their own destiny and facing a prince-eating dragon. We have strong friendships, and mended relationships.

We have a SECRET DRAGON-SLAYING WEAPON that the audience will LOVE.

And we’ve set the entire thing to music from the 1960s. Over 20 wonderful songs, performed by our cast members, with the assistance of a live band.

It is a rollicking good time, performed by actors from 6-18, inspiring their audiences to become engaged in theatre, entertaining them, and making for a happy morning for all.

The performance runs till approximately 12:30 p.m. Tickets are only $5/student, with chaperones admitted at no cost.  Through our Riverfront Educational Initiative, we are able to assist with cost reduction in some circumstances. Seats must be booked prior to the morning show, and at this point, we have sold approximately 70% of the theatre, so don’t delay in calling or emailing.

Do you believe in magic? Enjoy the magic of live theatre with your students, at our production of Princesses Aplenty on Friday, May 26th!


For those who would like to donate to the Riverfront Educational Initiative, please contact us as well, and know that your funds go directly to ticket money, allowing students to see the show who might otherwise be unable to afford to do so.  Donations made to Riverfront Theatre Company are tax-deductible, and receipts are issued. 

Windsor Police Association Supports RTC Again!

It was with great pleasure that I received a cheque today from the Windsor Police Association for another season of sponsoring Riverfront. WPA has been one of our sponsors for several years now, and it’s so good to know that they stand behind the youth of our community, and keeping them engaged in healthy and constructive activities. I know that some of our Board of Directors have commented to me that at Police Week, they’ve had several favourable comments from the public about this sponsorship – people are pleased that they support more than sports for our youth.

Members of the Windsor Police Association have attended every Riverfront production since becoming sponsors, too, which is always very special for our cast.  In providing us with this sponsorship cheque, we were also requested to submit an article and photographs for their Blue Serge Magazine, which we will, of course, be absolutely delighted to do!

This year, the Windsor Police Service is celebrating 150 years of policing. We would like to take this time to recognise the fine contributions of the members of the Windsor Police Service both on and off duty.

Thank you once again, WPA, for your ongoing support!



Happy World Theatre Day!

Happy #WorldTheatreDay.

Here’s a flashback to four years ago – March 27, 2013. This photo has an interesting story behind it. Our Intermediate students performed Number the Stars at the Capitol Theatre that year in January.
This incredibly story, adapted from a novel by Lois Lowry, told about the Danish evacuation of the Jews during the Nazi occupation of WWII. Through a massive effort on the part of the Danish people, 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews, and 686 non-Jewish spouses were evacuated in secret under the noses of the Nazis. As a result, over 99% of Denmark’s Jewish population survived the Holocaust. We at Riverfront couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about telling this story – and we were very excited about what it taught our students as they studied the play.
Because of a school board strike, however, we had very low attendance at our school show. We chose the play specifically for our students and the valuable lessons it provided them. We were prepared for lower public attendance with such a serious play, performed by younger kids. But not having the schools attend was a blow. After so much hard work, it was very discouraging for our students to have so few people attend our performances.
When the strike situation was resolved, however, we were approached by Talbot Trail Public School, unhappy to have missed the show, asking us if we’d consider going on the road and performing a show for them there.
We were interested! But our students were young – all between the ages of 10 and 13. And the show had closed two months ago. The costumes had been put away, the sets were all in storage. We’d have to get rights for another show. Would everyone even be able to attend? Two more days off school for our cast.  There were some challenges, but our members all answered with a resounding YES, they wanted to make this happen.

And it got even BETTER. ! Once we confirmed the entire cast was available, Talbot Trail upped the ante, and asked if they could invite other schools to join them. We actually did TWO more shows, and several schools were bussed to Talbot Trail to attend. We performed to over 700 students in those two days. And Talbot Trail didn’t ask for a penny of the admissions for themselves. Those two shows saved our season that year.

World Theatre Day

Number the Stars, final performance, March 27, 2013, at Talbot Trail Public School. Photo by Colleen Coleman. 

NTS cast

Number the Stars Cast and Crew. March 27, 2013. Photo by Colleen Coleman.

It was exciting to have our school performances – and the spring musical, later that year, rescued after all our cast and crew’s hard work, and to have this really inspiring show seen by so many young people in our community.

World Theatre Day has been being celebrated worldwide since March 27, 1962.  As it says at the World Theatre Day page, “This day is a celebration for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “theatre”, and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people andto the ndividual and have not yet realised its potential for economic growth.”

Every week, Riverfront Theatre Company is proud to work with the young people of our community – to work very, very hard at something with strongly believe is valuable and important.  Looking back on this special memory of today for our company, it is heartening to think about how affirming these final two shows of our production was for us, as the young people of our community came out in droves with their teachers to say, “Yes, this matters, and this matters enough to perform all over again two months after you closed. Please do it again.”

Announcing: Our 2018 Spring Musical!

On this, the 113th birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, Riverfront Theatre Company is proud and excited to announce that our Spring 2018 Musical will be:


We will be producing this musical with our full company at the Olde Walkerville Theatre, from Friday, May 25, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018!

YES, that IS more than a year away!  But don’t worry!  Before we get to that point, you’ll have three RTC productions to look forward to!

NEXT UP – Princesses Aplenty, THIS May 26th-28th at the Olde Walkerville.


STAY TUNED for our announcement of our other two 15th Season productions, coming later this week!

is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

The Curtain Falls on Narnia: The Early Chronicles

From February 24-26, 2017, Riverfront Theatre Company Senior Ensemble (with a few Juniors, actually) staged our first production of Narnia: The Early Chronicles.

This was an original adaptation of the first two books in the Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Our school show was sold out, with over 400 students and chaperones in attendance for our Friday morning performance.  Over the remaining three shows, we had approximately 325 people attend performances.

The show involved 39 students and over a dozen crew volunteers. It ran for two and a half hours plus intermission.

This was our 30th production – and, as has been a recent trend with RTC, it was an original adaptation created especially for the RTC students to perform – taking into account our need for a large cast.

We have received many compliments on our performance through email and online comments, as well as in person after the shows. Several of the students have said that this show will always be special to them, or has been their favourite so far.

It’s hard to let go of a show that you’ve been working on so long. These students have been rehearsing every Saturday from September to produce Narnia, and it’s been realy special. However, rehearsals have also been happening for Princesses Aplenty, which opens at the end of May, and from this Saturday, we’ll be bending all our efforts in that direction!

Thank you to everyone who made Narnia possible – through participation, attendance, sponsorship, volunteering, costume loans, and spreading the word for others to enjoy the show!  We appreciate your involvement, and hope to see you in May with Princesses Aplenty!

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Through the Wardrobe, and Into Narnia: The Early Chronicles


We’ve been rehearsing every Saturday (and the occasional Monday and Wednesday) since September.  40 kids in the cast have been working hard with their directors, their choreographer, and one another.

A costuming team has been sewing, purchasing, compiling, creating, and going over and over ever-expanding lists of costumes.

The production crew has all but moved in to RTC HQ for the past few weeks to construct the set.



As usual, the neighbours have been slowing down, and wondering – what on EARTH are those people up to?

But finally, the day came when everything got loaded into the truck, and it all trundled away again, to be put together at the theatre. Nothing left in the 2-car garage where we build but the paint stains and the rubble.

And now it’s all there, put together at The Olde Walkerville Theatre, looking beautiful. And the kids have started coming in to rehearse as of tonight. The costumes are being sorted and ironed and hung, and all that hard work is about to move into the big payoff – performance for the audiences.

On Friday morning, we have about 420 students and chaperones coming in to see our school production. Like almost all of our school shows, it is completely sold out.

But have no fear!  We have three public shows, and there are lots of seats available.

Friday, February 24th and Saturday, February 25th at 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 26th at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or purchased ahead by email transfer and held at Will Call (Riverfronttheatrecompany@gmail.com). Call if you have questions – 519-817-8780.

Julian David (15 years) and Kristina Garswood, Executive Director, took The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and wrote an original script for RTC combining the events of those two stories. We go through the wardrobe with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, definitely – but we also review the less-commonly known story of where the White Witch came from in the first place. It is faithfully retold by people who love the stories dearly, and we hope very much that the families of Windsor and Essex County will agree that it’s a fine family entertainment, by and for the young people of our community.

We can’t wait to welcome you in to see one of the most beloved children’s stories of the 20th Century.  Come on out to see Narnia: The Early Chronicles.

Narnia: The Early Chronicles – About to Open!

Set construction is furiously underway at RTC HQ.


You only get to see a tiny bit. If you’re very nosy (I hope you are), then come see the show!

Day after day, new costume pieces have been arriving. Fittings have been going on, extra rehearsals are being squeezed in, choreography being finalized, press releases are going out, makeup templates being created for the 30+ animals and creatures to be presented in this fabulous production.  We have fundraised and applied for grants and sponsorship, and worked terribly hard to make sure that we could offer a lovely show for the families of Windsor-Essex at the end of this month.

Yesterday, there was a knock at the door of RTC HQ and – I kid you not –  a Centaur walked in looking for a job. We tossed him on the treadmill to see how he trotted, and hired him on the spot (thank you, Julie and Sam Hebert, for donating your time and effort and resources to construct said wonderful beastie for our production!).

During rehearsal, students are busy making crowns for Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund. img_26401The White Witch has made her own crowns, because no one wants to help her!  There have even been students tucked away in corners of the rehearsal space busily growing beards and moustaches!


Beard under construction….stay tuned for final results.


I’m telling you, things are on the move!

You won’t want to miss this show. 39 kids in this cast (the dressing room assignments ought to be interesting, to say the least), with a gaggle of lions, dwarves, water spirits, dryads, cheetahs, rabbits, lemurs, marsh wiggles, hags, wolves, witches, foxes, etc., etc. to captivate our audience. You would not believe the piles of makeup that have been accumulating!


Small sample shown here!

This timeless classic is going to be a beautiful show for Windsor. Riverfront is so proud to be presenting another original adaptation. We love having our students collaborate with Kristina to write new plays with enough room for meaningful time on stage for all our actors.

Please be sure to come out to see it. Tickets can be reserved by email transfer (contact us at Riverfronttheatrecompany@gmail.com) or by phone at 519-817-8780. We will also operate a box office an hour before each performance.

You have THREE CHANCES, and THREE CHANCES only to see this show, unless you’re lucky enough to be one of the schools who DIDN’T hear, “I’m so sorry, it’s already sold out,” and you’ll be at our school performance.

Friday, February 24th, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 25th, 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 26th, 2 p.m.


Tickets are only $15 for adults, $10 for students under 18.  With nearly 40 actors entertaining you live for over two hours – you’re going to get your money’s worth!  With extra happiness supplied at our by-donation bake sale! ( We have a team of magicians furiously making Turkish Delight on a daily basis, the better to enchant you.)

Riverfront Theatre Company is a charitable organization, a branch of the House of Play and Education for Youth and the Youth Connection Association for Academic Excellence. The participating students rehearse each week from September to June to produce three plays a year. All the staff are volunteers, and the students pay no fee to participate in the program. Your assistance in spreading the word about this production helps us to ensure the continuation of this valuable program in the community.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Our Juniors are opening this weekend with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!  We’ll be performing at Paulin Memorial Church at 3200 Woodland. There is NO admission cost – we accept donations at the door for the program, and for our bake sale. It’s a chance for our little ones to get their feet wet and to get over any stage fright before joining the Seniors in their big musical in the spring.

We hope that you will come out to join us for our performances, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, December 17th and 18th, at 6:30 pm. It’s not a long show, about an hour, and the audience is welcome to sing along during the show’s Christmas carols.