The History of Theatre Panache
Theatre Panache was created in 2004 by Heather Markgraf Lowe. Heather was the founder and Artistic Director of Village Theatre West in Hudson and she ran the professional, English speaking non-profit theatre for 11 years, before resigning in 2003. At Village Theatre West she went from producing one play in a tent next to Mon Village Restaurant in St Lazare to renovating the old, historic, railway station in Hudson and converting it into an intimate 149-seat theatre. Village Theatre West now runs year round, offering a full summer season of plays, a Christmas pantomime and more thought provoking plays in the fall and the spring. It plays a very important part in the cultural life of the village of Hudson and surrounding areas, and draws its audience from Montreal and Ottawa.
When Heather Markgraf founded Theatre Panache, she had the rights to the 1940's wartime musical called “Till We Meet Again” by David Langlois. She had been working on the play with the playwright since 2001, and the musical had both a workshop and an Equity production at Village Theatre. In the fall of 2005, “Till We Meet Again” toured the Toronto area and ended up at the War Museum in Ottawa over Remembrance Day. It was a huge success and it was produced again in Montreal in 2006 at the DB Clarke Theatre and another tour of six theatres in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa was completed in 2009.
Locally in Hudson, Theatre Panache has brought in professional shows ranging from innovative and thought provoking to recent classics. Many shows have been presented as part of Theatre Panache's annual "Stories on Stage" Festival which is part of the Greenwood StoryFest. In addition, Theatre Panache has created a series of new plays based loosely on Hudson historical characters and presented in a historic Hudson home.
In a new initiative, Theatre Panache produced Dinner Theatre in the Rideau Lakes area of Ontario in partnership with a new Studio in Newboro. For StoryFest 2012, Theatre Panache produced Mrs. Dexter and Her Daily by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Hudson Village Theatre.