Newmarket 2021 One Act Play Festival hits the Old Town Hall stage Sept. 9-11

Photo courtesy of Greg King

Finally some ‘good’ news!

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Very Useful Theatre Company has had to shift dates of its prestigious Newmarket International Festival of One Act Plays, but we announce loud and clear the ‘show will go on’.

The Very Useful Theatre Company, producers of the festival, along with the Rotary Club of Newmarket, have been extremely busy behind the scenes. After changing dates a number of times, we can now officially say the Festival is planning to open Sept. 9, 10 and 11. 2021

With vaccines happening at a rapid pace – York Region is giving vaccines to those over 80 years of age starting Monday, March 1 — the Very Useful Theatre Company is fairly confident that the Festival can go ahead as planned this September.

The province is planning on rolling out the vaccines on March 15 and a new Indian vaccine has been approved in Canada, with millions of doses coming the end of March and the Johnston and Johnston vaccine is now under review.

The Very Useful Theatre Company selected eight plays from over 100 powerful submissions into the Newmarket International Festival of One Act Plays, by seven playwrights coming from around the world – this includes more tales of Carl and Ida by famed Hollywood writer Jim Geoghan and also a play centering on the Holocaust by skilled playwright Adam Szudrich of Australia. The Newmarket International Festival of One Act Plays really is an ‘international’ affair, presenting some just sensational one act plays, with several World Premieres. Not to be missed!

It’s world-class theatre — in historic downtown Newmarket — three nights, Saturday afternoon, and eight plays on one stage, September 9, 10 and 11, 2021 at the up-to-date Old Town Hall. It’s the Newmarket International Festival of One Act Plays coming soon. Before the theatre explore first- class dining on charming Main Street, apre theatre sample Newmarket’s own craft beer.

And for this World-Class event, the producer, The Very Useful Theatre Company has now opened the doors to accept resumes from actors and directors as they prepare for the Festival! The venerable VUTC is also looking for theatre volunteers. Inquire at:

Hollywood actors Carl and Ida brilliantly played by Robert McNeely and Laurie Laing and directed by Patricia O’Hare in last year’s hilarious comedy ‘The Next Ivan Sharansky,’ written by famed Los Angeles Playwright Jim Geoghan. This big hit in last year’s festival McNeely and Laing will reprise their roles in the further adventures of Carl and Ida in two new plays penned by Geoghan in 2020.

‘Room for Cream’ features Carl and Ida in the Subway Sandwich shop on Hollywood Boulevard where they meet once a week. Carl shows up late, again. On his way to meet Ida he’s had an bewildering encounter with one of the colourful street buskers.

‘It’s a Bird; it’s a Plane’ has once again Carl showing up late, He’s had an unexpected run in with Superman who’s been in an accident. Superman is one of the many costumed actors who entertain on Hollywood Boulevard for donations. It’s hilarious stuff!

New this year is a Matinee Theatre for a Young Audiences’ production, featuring emerging young actors and directed and organized by the talented Joanna Kaufman. The children’s play is ‘Gilda’ — nature-lover, young and beautiful, but poor, Gilda, who is watched over by Forest Elves, is given the chance to live like a Princess, which she accepts. Taken in by the King and Queen, it’s the King’s evil brother’s son, Denny, who has eyes for Gilda and kidnaps her. Thanks to the Forest Elves and visiting Prince, Poul, will Gilda be rescued in time and returned to her life in the palace?

It’s penned by Newmarket’s own, Rod Urquhart. Rod is an award-winning journalist and author of three books, now retired. Rod took to writing plays about four years ago and has been pursuing this full-time. ‘Gilda The Princess’ is his first script to be accepted and performed live on stage. Thanks also to Ole Madsen, the author of the book Gilda, which Rod turned into a play with full permission.

Other plays to be performed include: “The Third Life of Eddie Mann” by New Brunswick John Spurway; “Mourning Glory” by New York playwright Rich Orloff; “Rosa and Leo” by Australian Adam Szudrich; “Mark My Worms” by San Fransico’s Cary Pepper; and, “The Book Club Thief” by Ontario playwright Renee Baillargeon. Her play “Choices” won the “Ross Award” at the 2019 festival. For more on each play and to see a video synopsis by the playwrights please visit:

Get a way and spend the weekend with us exploring the quaint historic Main street, fine dining representing 10 countries from around the world, enjoy a cocktail on the patio of Cachet Supper Club overlooking magnificent Fairy Lake. Packages and Weekend Festival Passes are available with group rates and discounts.

Tickets for this sensational lineup of world-class plays will go on sale in mid-summer. Stay tuned for more information and visit the website festival web site often.

Tyrone Guthrie, the English Theatrical director and one of the founders of the Stratford festival in Canada, said, “We are looking for ideas large enough to be afraid of again.” The 2021 festival is now open to actors and directors, and volunteers. Actors, directors and volunteers are asked to submit resumes through the festival web site at

Break a leg!!!

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