A look back on the Festival Lennoxville

By Gordon Lambie
A look back on the  Festival Lennoxville
A scene from The Festival Lennoxville performance of Lulu Street. (Photo : ETRC, P037 St. Francis Theatre Company fonds)

This summer marks 50 years since a motivated team of individuals made their dream of starting a professional theatre company in Lennoxville a reality, and 40 years since that dream fell into financial ruin and eventual obscurity. Although one can walk the streets of Lennoxville today without having any idea that it was once hailed as being home to one of Canada’s great theatre festivals
The festival was front page news on June 23, 1972, when Record reporter Lewis Harris speculated that it could someday reach the scale of the well-known Stratford festival, although the writer also questioned whether the concept of using the existing facilities of the relatively new Centennial Theatre to host a national theatre festival focused exclusively on Canadian—written works would prove too grand to really work out.
“It was certainly ambitious,” reflected Jonathan Rittenhouse, whose brother David was one of the driving forces behind getting the project going in the first place along with fellow drama professor William Davis.

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