The Highlands Little Theatre (HLT) of Haliburton was established in 1978 by a group of enthusiastic thespians who wanted to “put on a play”. With the help of Dennis Sweeting, a professional director and actor from Lindsay, they mounted their first production, Blythe Spirit, in the fall of that year. They followed that with a production of The Creature Creeps in the spring of 1979. As they became more accomplished, local directors took on the role of producing shows. They were mostly comedies or melodramas and involved a wide variety of local citizens. There was a lot of Neil Simon done in the early years. The first attempt at a musical came with the production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown in the fall of 1984. It was so well received that it was decided by the executive of the day to produce 2 productions a year with every 4th being a musical.
Over the years HLT has presented such musicals as Camelot, Brigadoon, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, and Once Upon a Mattress. They have mounted traditional classic plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, Moon for the Misbegotten, and You Can’t Take it With You as well as popular comedies such as Barefoot in the Park, Opening Night, and Plaza Suite to name a few.
HLT is particularly proud of the number of plays that have been entered into the Eastern Ontario Drama Leagues (EODL) Festivals over the years. Many awards have been won for both acting and production. One particular highlight was HLT’s workshopping and then eventual production of local playwright Michael Fay’s work Never Such Innocence Again. This play won a number of awards at the full length festival that year and has since been included in an anthology of plays published by EODL. This anthology includes the works of Canadian playwrights whose plays have been produced by EODL groups over the years.
Despite some challenges in recent years, HLT continues to grow and enable the local citizens of Haliburton County to become involved in the Performing Arts. Many people have had their first experience in live theatre with our group and then gone on to greater adventures with other local groups and beyond. A few have even turned their love of theatre into a career.
We invite you to be a part of the future of the Highlands Little Theatre by supporting with a membership, auditioning for a play, or volunteering for one of our many behind the scenes committees. Come make history with us!