They Like our Ham and Jam and Spamalot (Costumes!)

We received some kind words from a recent renter today – this from Jacinta Mackey Graham, Artistic Director for Atlantic Light Theatre:

Thank you VOS Theatre and Liz Clark for your excellent service in providing Atlantic Light Theatre (St. John’s Newfoundland) with costumes for our production of Spamalot!

The costumes were great and we had many compliments on them! Your attention to detail in communicating with us and compiling a comprehensive list that ensured success went well beyond what was expected!

Many thanks!

We have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll hear about the success of these costumes.

An extra special thanks to our team of folks who work all hours to keep these rentals flowing from the VOS Costume space at the Henley Arcade.

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She Would Have Loved This

HATS OFF! 3 SHOWS ONLY – OPENS FRIDAY!

All profits go to the Ruth Harcort
Memorial Scholarship Fund

Ruth Harcort
Ruth Harcort, VOS Founder

Cast member Erin Welsh was on selfie duty tonight and captured these great moments during a dress rehearsal for the show.  We think Ruth would approve.

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Hat’s Off is a Gilbert Sullivan Revue which runs for 3 shows only,  opens this Friday and runs through Saturday night at the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall.

This show is a benefit for the Ruth Harcort Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Hugh Stewart – Music Director – Hats Off!

The VOS sat down with Hugh Stewart, Music Director for Hats Off!, opening February 13th at Victoria Hall in Cobourg.

Hugh Stewart, Music Director for Hats Off!
Hugh Stewart, Music Director for Hats Off!

VOS: Hugh, you’ve been with the VOS for a long time as a board member, performer, tech team member. What’s your background, musically and with the works of Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan?

Hugh Stewart in the VOS Production of HMS Pinafore
Hugh in the VOS Production of HMS Pinafore

Hugh: I remember singing as part of a family quartet when I was five. Our mother taught us singing in harmony using Sol Fa. She put me in piano lessons when I was 9 and I took singing through high school, including doing G&S at end of school year, and studied music through to first year university. I sang with a number of groups including the Scottish National Youth Choir under Dr. George McPhee, and the Savoy Club under Stanley Thomson.  We performed G&S in the Kings Theatre in Glasgow and unfortunately I could not get enough of it.

Hugh Stewart as Tim in Spamalot
Hugh as Tim in Spamalot

Canada interrupted music study. In ’85 I joined a local choir led by Philip Schaus. Philip called me one Sunday afternoon saying he had given my name and number to a person called Ruth who would be calling me. Within ten minutes Ruth called and I found myself singing with her in Trial By Jury. We followed that with G&S reviews. I traveled around Ontario for years and sang with local choirs. When I landed back in Cobourg I reconnected with old friends now in the VOS. I sang my first show with VOS as a lead in Pinafore.

Hugh with the men of HMS Pinafore
Hugh with the men of HMS Pinafore
Hugh in the VOS Production of The Fantasticks
Hugh in the VOS Production of The Fantasticks

Ruth had a very humorous side, as we know very well. In that ’86 performance of Trial my character, The Defendant, enters an emotionally packed court house to a jury already sympathetically biased toward the Plaintive. Ruth changed one of my first lines to “Be strong, be strong my resolve”. On the first gathering of the cast, the Read Through, the group fell apart as I said that line while the cast read the actual line, “Be firm, be firm my pecker”. Ruth did not wish any possible offense by the once innocent words.

VOS: So how did this project, Hats Off!, come about?

HUGH: Ruth made a great impact on my life during late ’80s, and after she passed last year a number of us began chattering about honouring her name and life’s work through a yearly scholarship which would be funded by donations and proceeds from a G&S review. We bounced the idea around and I knew I would want to be in a leading role in this project. Liz and I asked that our friend Keith Pickett join in leading the show. The VOS Board has been wonderfully supportive in this endeavour, and I know this would have made Ruth very proud.

Hugh as a Frenchie in Spamalot
Hugh as a Frenchie in Spamalot

VOS: Tell us about Ruth. She made an incredible difference to the arts community in this area. VOS THEATRE wouldn’t be here unless she had decided to do that very first show.

Hugh: Ruth spent her years as a teacher and opera singer in New York and as part of traveling opera shows throughout the States. When she retired she returned to her home town. Not one to take retirement sitting down she decided to put forward a proposal to the Northumberland Players to produce a G&S show as a benefit concert so NP could take over the Old Firehall behind Victoria Hall. Ruth made this show happen as producer, director, music director, casting director, costume mistress, and almost every other production role. After a few short months and 16 performances to packed audiences in the “Old Bailey” Courthouse in Vic Hall Ruth delivered a substantial boost to the realization of an NP dream.

Hugh as the Rabi in the VOS Production of Fiddler on the Roof
Hugh as the Rabi in the VOS Production of Fiddler on the Roof

People involved with Ruth during that 1986 production of Trial By Jury and subsequent productions through the late 80s supported her in her drive to perform G&S and other great shows to  Northumberland County audiences. While doing all this Ruth supported and ran the Northumberland Music Festival which is a huge reason this area has the tremendous musical talent it enjoys today. That old saying “build it and they will come” could have been said about Ruth’s commitment to nurturing the musical abilities of the youth of Northumberland County.

Hugh in the 2010 VOS Production of White Christmas
Hugh in the 2010 VOS Production of White Christmas

With the above in mind “Hats Off!” is one way local people, whether touched by Ruth’s boundless enthusiasm, delighted in local musical theatre, or enriched by musical training, can ‘pay forward’ and keep the development of local musical talent alive, that driving force behind everything Ruth did.

Ruth Harcort and the company of the VOS Production of Gondoliers
Ruth Harcort and the company of the VOS Production of Gondoliers

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Hats Off – A Gilbert & Sullivan Revue opens February 13th and runs through 2 more performances on February 14th.

Book your tickets now for Hats Off - A Gilbert & Sullivan Revue