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Stone Fence Theatre in 2019: Up at Fred's, Cuban trad concert, showband

For fifty years or so, "Fred's" - the Hotel Chapeau in Chapeau, Quebec, was the destination of choice for diners, drinkers, and dancers, lumbermen, hunters and soldiers, tourists and locals, celebrities and salt-of-the-earth. For many people along the Quebec shoreline of the Ottawa River in Pontiac County and across the big river in Pembroke and Petawawa, Ontario, Fred's was the place to be.

It was known for two-inch thick prime steaks, for fine wines, for great music and for fun and tricks of all kinds. Mention the "silver beaver," the "hare-a-lope," the clock running backwards or the "time-out room" anywhere in these parts and you'll get a sly wink of recognition. Only at Fred's - the hotel run by the legendary Fred Meilleur and his hard-working family - did such marvels occur.

Up at Fred's - Allons-y! is the story of Fred Meilleur, his family, his guests, and the remarkable little town of Chapeau [pronunciation: SHA´- po.], where half the town was French, half Irish (no one said English), and almost everyone was intermarried. The official language of business, at least at Meilleur's, was English, but the hotel was run with a French hospitality and bonhommie that had everything to do with why the place was so phenomenally popular that customers often waited on long lines to get in.

The show was written by Stone Fence Theatre's producer Ish Theilheimer and directed by its creative director, Chantal Elie-Sernoskie, a pair that has been working together since 2012. Theilheimer wrote most of the songs, with most of them based on French-Canadian folk music. It also includes some classic songs that are well known in "The Pontiac."

The show opens July 11 in Rankin, ON, with most shows scheduled there, from July through October. One special show will be performed in Chapeau August 11 and one in Barry's Bay August 8.

Tickets go on sale in May.

This year's Stone Fence concert: Party with Manacanabo!

We bring you some very different traditional music in the 2019 Stone Fence Theatre summer concert. Three years ago, our producer Ish Theilheimer met Manacanabo - a band specializing in traditional Cuban music while on tour of southern Cuba near the 500-year-old city of Trinidad. Although a lot of modern audiences in Cuba want the kind of commercial music that modern audiences in Canada do, Manacanabo exists to promote real, traditional folk music from their part of the Island. One thing led to another, friendships were formed, and now, Manacanabo is coming for a July tour of the Ottawa Valley, including a July 23 concert in Rankin, featuring free salsa dance lessons with some very cool Cubans!

Stone Fence Theatre Showband to tour Valley

To reach more Ottawa Valley people and communities, Stone Fence Theatre plans to launch the Stone Fence Theatre Showband this year. The Showband will tour the valley with songs and comedy from the company's fifteen amazing seasons. Because it won't be as large and difficult to move as a full-fledged theatrical show, it will be easier for the company to take from place to place so as to share the joy of Stone Fence Theatre more widely.

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Stone Fence Theatre recorded a video of I Come from the Valley at its November 3 performance in Rankin. To enjoy the show again, or for the first time, click on the links below:

Act 1

Act 2