Overthinking Valentines Plans? Try Drinks, Chocolate & A Few Laughs

So, you’re looking for something that’s a little different than your usual dinner and wine routine?  Single and want a night out with friends to celebrate your independence?  Just started dating and the intensity of a quiet meal is awkward?  You’ve been married for 30 years and you’re just over the hearts and flowers?  Well, have we got the night for you!


VOS Theatre director J.P. Baldwin chose Speed Date and Check Please: Take 2 because they’re plays that entertain without being heavy. “Whether you’re currently single, casually dating, a serial monogamist or been married for years, we can promise that you will identify with some of the characters you meet! The 2 one act plays we are presenting take the audience through the good, bad and well….just plain strange world of break ups, dating and relationships.”

The staged reading features actors Heather Town, Khursheed Sethna, Krista Sluiman, Jules Osen, Dan Fraleigh and Chris Ketola.

Doors open at Dalewood at 6:45 p.m. where you’ll find the bar is open so you can enjoy a pre-show cocktail.  The good news is you’ll pass the dessert buffet on your way to the bar. “Valentines Day is all about chocolate! Chef Jennifer Robson recommends, “Treat yourself to our decadent buffet of cakes, square and chocolate covered strawberries.” Guests are welcome to enjoy some sweets before the staged reading or at intermission.



We caught up with Marketing representative for Dalewood, Aimee Tedford who told us “We are so happy to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with VOS Theatre on three theatrical presentations this year. It has certainly expanded our horizons as to what we can offer as a club to both the public and our members. We look forward to partnering with VOS THEATRE on new and exciting projects for the 2018-2019 season.


Tickets are available at the door so don’t miss out if you didn’t plan ahead but we’d love for you to book your tickets online so we have an idea as to how many strawberries to dip.

Book Online Now


An Exciting Play Reading with Linda Hutsell-Manning


VOS THEATRE’s Play Reading Series continues on Saturday March 19, 2016 with A Certain Singing Teacher. The reading, under the guidance of Beatrix Quarrie, features Florence Fletcher, Blair McFadden, Hugh Stewart, Liam Cragg and Marlena Sculthorpe.

We caught up with Linda recently to get some background on the play.

VOS: What or who inspired you to write this play?

Linda Hutsell-Manning: I had written and had professionally produced three children’s plays, all comedies, and thought I’d like to try my hand at a comedy for adult audiences. Also, after hearing Jacqui Manning-Albert’s fabulous song, I was sure I could use it in the play. The song was certainly a factor in developing the script.


Linda Hutsell-Manning and her husband James Manning

VOS: Tell us about your process for this piece.  When did it happen, and how did it come about?

LHM: I first wrote the play several decades ago. Sent it to a number of professional theatres and heard from none so abandoned it. I showed it to you, maybe four years ago? And you said you would show it to director Bea Quarrie. Subsequently the VOS began their play reading series and you told me they were interested in reading my play. Great opportunity!


VOS: What are you most looking forward to in having this play read by actors in public?

LHM: The only way I can assess whether or not the play works is to hear it read by actors. I’m as interested in seeing where it doesn’t work as where it does.

VOS: We’re excited to hear it too! This Saturday, March 19th at 7:30 p.m. at the Citizen’s Forum at Victoria Hall, Cobourg. Entrance to the reading is by donation so there are no tickets to reserve. Just come and enjoy and chat with fellow audience members, actors and the playwright, herself!

A Few Words with Playwright Jessica Outram


This Friday, VOS opens our Play Reading Series with Once Upon A Rocking Chair, written by our very own Jessica Outram.

Jessica with the original production team for Once Upon A Rocking Chair

We took this opportunity to find out a little more our friend Jessica and what makes her tick.

VOS: When did you write Once Upon A Rocking Chair?

Jessica Outram: I began writing the play in the spring of 2006. That winter I had directed a couple one act plays for StoneCircle Theatre in Ajax. I sat in the back of the theatre during the performances and thought, ‘Okay, I could do that.’ My life was immersed in Drama at the time. I taught Grade 9-12 Dramatic Arts by day and worked with Community Theatres by night. The play evolved that year with the support of my mentor Ken Bond (an amazing playwright and Artistic Director of Stone Circle) and by spring 2007 I had a finished manuscript. Ken directed a staged reading of the play over two nights as part of the theatre’s New Play Development series. Audiences sat at tables with paper and pens. They recorded feedback as the play was in process. At the end of the reading, the audience shared their feedback, commenting on parts that worked and parts that needed more attention. Over the summer I responded to the feedback, adjusting the script. StoneCircle Theatre added it to their season, asking me to also direct it. In January 2008 it was staged.


VOS: What is the motivation behind writing a play vs a short story or a novel?

J.O.: I spent so much time in theatres during that decade that my mind formed stories in plays easier than the other forms. Full script outlines complete with staging and lighting notes would often pop into my head. With teaching Drama, directing big high school shows, and working with community groups, writing plays was a natural fit for me. Theatre was what I knew best. I love the collaboration in the theatre, creating a script in a way that invites other partners in the process an opportunity to share their talents. I wanted to create characters that actors would enjoy becoming. I wanted to create a set concept that would be consistent but offer space for a designer to make it personal. Writing plays appeals to me because I can watch the story literally come to life and walk across the room through the staging of a production. I love the intimacy and the immediacy of theatre.


VOS: What should an audience expect from this reading?

J.O.:An opportunity to hear the stories of six diverse women. The play is about three mothers and their adult daughters who go to the cottage for Girls’ Week. It’s based on a real tradition and the women are inspired by women in my family. The story is fictional and explores a number of themes, like aging, love, motherhood, career, health, family, through the lens of three generations. What does happily-ever-after look like to women in their twenties and thirties? How does this change when the women are in their fifties and sixties? The play also explores relationships—between mothers and daughters, among sisters, cousins, aunts and nieces.

VOS: How did you get started in theatre?

J.O.: High school. I was blessed to go to a school that had a strong arts program and dedicated, talented teachers. I took as many arts courses as I could in high school, including a Performing Arts Program. Then I got involved in theatre at Trent University, studied to become a Drama and English teacher. The summer before I started teaching I worked with Driftwood Theatre Group performing outdoor Shakespeare across southern central Ontario. I’ve had many rich and dynamic theatre experiences through my schooling and in the community over the years.

VOS: What brought you to VOS?

J.O.: Spamalot was spectacular. The energy was so electrifying that I wanted to jump onstage with the group. I had seen Spamalot in New York with much of its original cast and I went to the VOS show thinking it would be funny, but I didn’t expect it to affect me as much as my Broadway viewing of it—every detail from the performers to the directing to the band to the lights and props and sound and set were amazing. It reminded me of the contagious, joyful energy of theatre. Having moved to Cobourg nearly four years ago, I wanted to make some friends in my hometown. My first years here I spent nearly all my time working in Brighton so I hadn’t made many connections. I remembered how theatre connects people, builds community and I craved to be part of that again. It had been nearly ten years since I’d been onstage and I was very nervous about the performing parts, but felt strongly that this would be a chance to feel part of this great community, to meet some likeminded people, to get out of the habit of working all the time. I joined two shows last year: On the Rooftop and Shrek: The Musical. Both shows were powerful experiences for me in a number of ways.

VOS: What is the one thing that we should know about the playwright before hearing a reading of her play?

J.O.: That she feels blessed for the opportunity to share this evening with you.

Come and meet Jessica in person on Friday at 7:30pm at the Citizen’s Forum at Victoria Hall!