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COLUMN: MAT show lifts curtain on a busy stretch for Orillia

'Toronto, eat your heart out! We have more events, and they are more affordable, and every bit as good as the big city to the south,' says columnist
The cast is gearing up for the Mariposa Arts Theatre's 50th anniversary show, which runs Thursday through Sunday at the Orillia Opera House.

I feel like I say this in every column, and I probably do ... but there is so much going on!

From now until mid-December, you are totally spoiled for choice in arts and entertainment in our town. Toronto, eat your heart out! We have more events, and they are more affordable, and every bit as good as the big city to the south.

And, a word to the wise ... if I am putting it in my column, it’s top quality and going to be completely worth going to. So, buy those tickets and go! Spend your money on experiences, and they will make your life richer, and fuller; even better, share them with those you love, better than any gift from Amazon. 

So, onwards, a quick overview of what’s coming up in just the next couple of weeks. A couple of disclaimers: I don’t claim to be perfect, so I might leave something out; and, I’m not even going to try and put all the Christmas markets in here. You will have to do your own research on those. There are a ton!

This weekend, of course, it’s all about the Mariposa Arts Theatre 50th anniversary shows at the Orillia Opera House. Thursday to Saturday, evenings, and a Sunday matinee. It is an incredible show. There is lots of information out there on it — including my recent story — so get off the fence and get a ticket, I can’t believe it hasn’t sold out yet. You will kick yourself if you miss it. Tickets

Next week, things really get going. Staring with Chris Murphy from Sloan on Thursday, a solo show at St. Paul’s put on by Inside the Music. These guys have really delivered with their Thursday night series at St. Paul’s this fall; the Matthew Good show sold out in October.

So, we have Chris Murphy on Nov. 16 and then the Skydiggers Christmas Show on Dec. 14 to wrap up this fall series. Incredible music by amazing musicians right here in town, in a great venue, for affordable prices. You would be paying a lot more to see these guys in Toronto. For tickets to either of these amazing shows, go to

Next Friday, also at St. Paul’s, also a monthly great event with great musicians: Pub Night. This month, with Patrick (Sean Patrick) Martyn (Michael Martyn) and MacDonald (John MacDonald). Banjo, guitar, and Uilleann pipes…this will be one for the books, take it from me. This might slip under the radar, but it shouldn’t. It’s going to be sensational.

Pub Nights are a ridiculously cheap: $10 cash at the door, with pub food and a cash bar, and run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in St. Paul’s lower level. Bring your cash and come out, the money goes to support St. Paul’s, which, as one of two main event venues in town, is eminently worth it!

I am going to break my no Christmas Markets code slightly and say, the Orillia Christmas Market at Creative Nomad Studios is on next Friday night and Saturday daytime and looks really good. There will be tons of vendors, Santa, treats, artisanal products of every kind ... so yeah, you should check it out. For more information, click here.

Also, shout out to the galleries in the Orillia Arts District for Christmas shopping ideas this year ... so much beauty, all price points. Check them out first for your gift shopping!

Next Saturday (Nov. 18) at the Orillia Opera House, Mariposa Folk Festival presents Lance Anderson’s 60 in 60, a celebration of some of the greatest acts and music in the Mariposa Folk Festival history. Lance brings an amazing all-star cast of musicians to bring this incredible music to life. I have my ticket already, you need to get yours as I would be surprised if this doesn’t sell out.

Amidst all of these amazing events, let’s not forget to applaud the people who produce them, the people who star in them, the people who make Orillia the great place it is. Please come out to the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards, where we can do just that, on Nov. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios. It’s a free event, with snacks and a cash bar. Mingle, then enjoy the awards ceremonies, where you will meet 20 nominees in five categories and then find out who gets to take home the prizes. And, you can congratulate everyone if you are there! So, be there!

Coming up, loads more Christmas events, including The Cellar Singers Baroque Messiah, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at St. James’ Anglican Church. This will be a beautiful entrée to the Christmas season. Always a great rendition. Tickets

More Christmas shows! Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie is putting on a reading of A Christmas Carol again this year. Last year was the first year and was a great success. This year, some familiar faces return including Mayor MacIsaac, Krista Storey, and MP Adam Chambers…and there will be some new faces, TBA. It’s on Dec. 1 at St. Paul’s Centre at 7 p.m. Get your $25 tickets now, all proceeds to DFS which is a great cause. Tickets available here.  

Back to the 90’s Video Dance Party number 2 is happening Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. at ODAS Park. Raising money for The Sharing Place. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Tickets here.

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble Christmas concert is Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s. Entrance by donation. 

Hawkestone Singers Christmas concert is Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. at the vibrant Hawkestone Hall. For tickets, email [email protected]

Leacock Museum is putting on a ton of fun Christmas programming, including Nutcracker Teas from Nov. 23 to 25, and Christmas tours and stories, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Also, don’t miss Paint your Pride on Nov. 26.  For a full list of Leacockian fun and tickets, go here.

Tons of live music this weekend, including Samantha Windover Nov. 10, Tamica Herod and Sean Cotton Nov. 11, and Jazz in the afternoon Nov. 12, all at Couchiching Craft Brewery. 

Phew, that’s more than enough for now. Get your tickets and have those experiences! See you out there.

If you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included. 


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