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Opera House, MAT teaming up to present The Christmas Tree

As Christmas approaches, there's lots going on in the local arts and entertainment scene, columnist says
Stacey Schat and Doug Ironside, credit Knightvision Media
Doug Ironside and Stacey Schat play a couple in The Christmas Tree, a Norm Foster show that will be presented at the Opera House later this month. Tyler Knight Photo

In honour of Remembrance Day this year, local artist Pat Beecham is running a fundraiser for the Orillia Legion’s Poppy Fund. Until Nov. 21, she will be donating $2 of each sale of her poppy cards to the Poppy Fund.

The wrapped cards are available at Shadowbox, Hibernation Arts, Peter St. Fine Arts and the UPS store. Please pick up some cards before November 21, and help remember.

Local musician Zachary Lucky is hosting an all-request livestream show, this Sunday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. This is your chance to hear your favourites and listen to a great Canadian musician, in the comfort of your living room. The show will be available on Zachary’s Facebook page here. You can also check him out on Instagram @ZacharyLucky. Enjoy the show!

Mariposa Arts Theatre and the Orillia Opera House are excited to team up and present a “bubbled” Christmas show, The Christmas Tree, by Norm Foster. There are just two performers in this show, so MAT advertised for a couple, therefore already socially “bubbled” to play the parts. How great it was that two excellent couples showed up to auditions and got the roles!

John Challis and Gayle Carlyle will be the actors for some of the shows, and Doug Ironside and Stacey Schat will play the other shows. As the Opera House is only allowed 50 people in the audience at a time, having two casts allows the show to be performed more times, thus allowing more happy audience members to enjoy.

The show runs from Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 19 to Dec. 6 and there are matinee and evening times available. As an added treat, members of the Orillia Silver Band will be performing as well. This show is guaranteed to be enjoyable, full of laughter and poignant holiday feelings. Don’t miss it! Tickets are available now here.

Creative Nomad Studios is open and is hosting the annual Streets Alive Ornament painting, ongoing until Fri. Nov. 13. Visit their website to reserve a timeslot to paint an ornament, to be given away in the annual Streets Alive event, Merry Streets Alive. Artists gratefully accepted!

Local artist Craig Mainprize has an exhibit, Wind, showing currently at Creative Nomad, and the opening reception is Thurs. Nov. 12. There is no cost to attend, but you must pre-register by clicking here.

Creative Nomad also has several upcoming holiday-themed workshops, click here for lots more details and to register.

Otter Art Club founders Travis Shilling and Naomi Woodman have not been idle during this pandemic. While the club had to be closed to keep everyone safe, Travis and Naomi took refuge in the outdoors and discovered that studio, creativity, and art can be everywhere.

Their new interactive online art series, Bear Builds a Beaver Dam, will launch January 10. As part of the launch, Otter Art Club will be giving out 150 art kits to local youth, so they have all the supplies they need to participate in this 6-week program.

If you are interested in donating to help make these art kits a reality, or interested in learning more about the program, you can email This program will make the winter a lot more fun for interested local youth.

Announcements of nominees for the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards are ongoing through the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s Facebook page hereand Instagram @orilliamuseum. I can share that both Otter Art Club and Stacey Schat and Doug Ironside have been nominated this year!


Stay tuned for the big reveal of the award recipients, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m., also on OMAH’s Facebook page. This will be a very special night for our creatives in this difficult year.

Send your arts news to by Tuesdays at noon. Thanks and please stay safe.