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The Beatles Hosted By Lucy Peacock promises an extraordinary evening in support of Stratford's Performing Arts Lodge
As published in the Stratford Beacon Herald, September 1, 2016
The Beatles Hosted By Lucy Peacock promises an extraordinary evening in support of Stratford's Performing Arts Lodge

Stratford’s Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) promised an extraordinary evening.

And with the calibre of talent assembled by artistic director Lucy Peacock and musical director Laura Burton, that might actually border on understatement.

For PAL’s 11th annual Expect the Extraordinary fundraiser, Peacock has asked a few very special guests to join her on the Avon Theatre stage. In addition to members of the Stratford Festival company, this year’s show, The Beatles Hosted By Lucy Peacock, will welcome legendary Canadian actor Brent Carver and local folk trio Trent Severn.

Peacock, a celebrated actor and singer with 29 seasons with the Stratford Festival, had been leaning towards a Beatles night when she began planning the Sept. 12 fundraiser earlier this year. While she had considered an evening dedicated to interpreting one of the band’s albums, she decided to open things up.

“This time, it seemed to be more fun to throw it up in the air and see what fell out of the sky,” Peacock said.

The evening’s performers were invited to select the songs they wanted to perform, making for a deep exploration of the Beatles’ unparalleled catalogue. As for her performance, Peacock waited until the other singers and dancers had made their selections before choosing her own. After three months of listening almost exclusively to the Fab Four, she knew what she wanted to sing.

“People are choosing songs that mean a lot to them,” Peacock said.

Accompanied by a small group of “extraordinary musicians” led by Burton, the evening’s artists will be free to interpret the songs as they wish, which provides for a broad range of performances. While some may hew closely to the original versions, others will involve dance and other theatrical elements.

The Tony Award-winning Carver, known for his iconic Broadway performances, is also no stranger to singing a Beatles song for an appreciative audience. Last year, Carver joined the Art of Time Ensemble on Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre stage for a performance of Honey Pie, a Paul McCartney tune from the White Album.

As for the talented Trent Severn, the three members – Emm Gryner, Dayna Manning and Lindsay Schindler – are enormous Beatles fans. As a child, Manning remembers painting her bedroom while listening to a dad-dubbed cassette of Rubber Soul and Revolver.

“Personally, I’m a McCartney freak,” Manning said. “I love his melodies.”

Manning’s connection to the Beatles became more personal when she worked with Sean Lennon on her debut solo album, 1997’s Volume 1.

As for Trent Severn, the Beatles’ exquisite vocal harmonies were an enormous influence on the trio.

When Peacock reached out to Trent Severn about the evening, it was an easy sell.

“I’m a huge fan of Lucy Peacock,” Manning said. “I’m definitely not going to say no to her. And I’m a big fan of PAL. What they do is just genius.”

Established in 2002 and formally registered in 2005, PAL Stratford serves a critical purpose in the city, providing much-needed support for actors, musicians and other artists. A volunteer-based non-profit charitable organization, PAL describes its purpose as “the provision of affordable housing, social assistance and other services” to members of Canada’s professional performing arts community who are in need of assistance by reason of low income, age or disability.

The proceeds from The Beatles Hosted by Lucy Peacock will be used to further reduce the mortgage of PAL Place, a five-unit affordable housing project within a stately heritage home. With the community’s support, PAL hopes to soon be able to purchase a second property to house those on its current wait list. To bolster the proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, organizers are also holding a silent auction that features cast-signed show posters from the 2016 Stratford Festival season, other theatre memorabilia, jewelry, spa treatments, artwork, wine and other items donated from several local businesses.

Making the evening even more special, David Lester, the owner of The Three Houses Inn, and Nada Ristich of BMO Financial have partnered to bring the 56 residents of the PAL Place in Toronto and their caregivers to the show. Lester has arranged for a Stratford Festival bus to provide transportation while BMO Financial is donating the tickets.

“It’s just a wonderful gesture,” Peacock said.

What: The Beatles Hosted By Lucy Peacock
When: Monday, Sept. 12. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Avon Theatre, 99 Downie St., Stratford

Tickets are $20, $35, $50 and $75 (VIP box seats) and are available at the
Stratford Festival box office at 1-800-567-1600 or online at

Copyright © 2016 PAL Stratford (a chapter of PAL Canada)
Original web design and hosting donated in memory of former PAL board member Bruce Swerdfager.
Home page header images by Marg Boemer, Lynn Boehler, Amanda Ryan.
PAL Stratford logo design courtesy of Maxine Graham.