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New theatre company wants to build cultural venue close to Thorold

Want to offer entire evenings of live music, local art and stageplay

On the drive home from a visit to a Niagara winery five years ago, former elementary drama teacher Lana Borsellino had a sudden realization.

"Once the Shaw theatre closes down, the theatre scene in wine country is pretty much dead. A light went on, that this is where some theater needs to happen to fill that gap", she says.

Now, she is seeing her vision come alive, as Theatre Bacchus is entering the stage this spring with a 10-person cast, performing 'Murdered to Death' - a comedy spoof on a classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery.

The show was requested and tailored to the venue, Beamsville-based winery London Born, run by British ex-pats and producing Britain-inspired wines.

Borsellino says the newly formed group will be performing at the winery alongside a classical guitarist, making the theatre company a part of an entire evening experience for the visitors.

But the grand vision for Borsellino is something that could put the town of Lincoln on the map as a center of live theatre; an actual venue, featuring local and sustainable food and drink, with musical entertainment for guests around the plays put on by the company.

"We would be hosting you, not just have you rush out of your car, and into the theatre, intermission, act two and then go home. We would be opening the doors two hours before, and after the show so that the audience can stay around and mingle and discuss the show and have another glass of wine or a coffee while watching art installations in the lobby." 

While it is a vision that could become reality 3-5 years down the road, the business plan is already taking shape with ideas on how local wineries could get involved in things like sponsoring the theatre.

"And the ones who do, we would be pouring their wine for the evening", said Borsellino.

She says the response from local wineries has been strong.

"There is a big interest from them to have us come and perform there."

The town of Lincoln also seems to see a potential in the idea, says Borsellino, adding they have offered to help look for a suitable piece of land where the venue could be built.

For more information on the upcoming production of 'Murdered to Death', visit Theatre Bacchus website.