COLUMN: Want to laugh? Derek Edwards gets ready to yuker in Orillia


The Orillia Opera House will welcome funny man Edwards, musician Sarah Harmer and many more this month as the local arts scene heats up, according to the columnist

And just like that, it’s May. Despite late spring and cooler weather, plans are well underway for a great spring and summer of cultural events in our region.

The Orillia Opera House (OOH) has something for everyone in its lineup, and it’s only in the next few weeks. May 5, Mudmen in concert; May 6, Country Legends Tribute; May 7, Tribute to Elton John; then, Derek Edwards.

Edwards, an award-winning Canadian comedian, is at OOH May 12 at 7:30 p.m. as part of a 12-show Ontario tour called In Praise of the Ostrich, which takes him cracking jokes from London to Ottawa and all the way to in Pembroke too.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Edwards on the phone and he certainly made me cringe as he jumped from topic to topic, including the definition of northerners and southerners in Ontario ( he hails from Timmins and has toured as far north as Baffin Island), and the inspiration to call his show In Praise of the Ostrich.

As Edwards said, “Why praise the ostrich? Because the world is so crazy and it’s the only way to survive it. Avoid any inconvenience. Keep your head in the sand. Relive warmer times. Life these days feels like you’re in that rocking chair and you’re almost going to tip over backwards. Can you catch up? Who knows?” he joked.

Edwards is a fan of Stephen Leacock, and just re-read the story, The bankfew months ago.

“It was so lovely and so funny,” he recalls, while recalling playing Casino Rama with Dave Broadfoot. “He knocked me out of a clam. It was a big deal, with dry ice, not something I thought I did, but for Dave Broadfoot…”

This is Edwards’ first tour since the pandemic began, and I asked him how he felt about it.

“A little anxious. There hasn’t been as much training, so I rely on the generosity of strangers, the forgiveness factor,” Edwards said. “Hoping people are ready to sit thigh to thigh, to be part of a big group again, it’s like post-ban magic. I hope they’re ready to let loose. Anxiety rising and hopefully brimming with happiness I go there with my eyes closed and my fingers crossed, like when you skydive with a guy you don’t fully trust.

Tickets for the show are $53, plus fees, and are available at the OOH box office here or by calling 705-326-8011.

OOH continues its excellent lineup with Sarah Harmer’s COVID-delayed Have you left to visit. As the album was released in February 2020, Harmer had to wait two years to tour, but I’m sure the show will be worth it.

Harmer’s publicist describes the album:

“A deeply personal and political collection of songs driven by the beauty of life, the urgency of the climate crisis and the issue of loss, Sarah called the album a spiritual successor to her acclaimed 2000 debut, you were herewho made numerous year-end critics lists, and who Weather named best debut album of the year. Its simple title, Have you leftis a meditation on the idea of ​​presence, and a bookend to the questions asked about you were here — a sharp, more electric confrontation with the realities of nature and human nature.

Harmer had taken most of music’s last decade co-founding the citizen organization PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and leading successful coalition efforts to prevent the construction of a quarry on the Niagara Escarpment.

Now she’s back and fans couldn’t be happier. Harmer is at the Orillia Opera House May 21 at 8 p.m., and you can get your $50 tickets (plus fees) at the box office. here.

Well done, Orillia Opera House.

A few notes on upcoming events in May:

Miriam Goldberger has a new “Dance Balm” series at Creative Nomad Studios starting May 10 and running through June 14. Click here to sign up and find out what dance can do.

Hibernation Arts’ featured artist for the month of May is Mike Sallows, and there will be an opening reception on Saturday, May 7 from noon to 3 p.m.

Peter Street Fine Arts’ guest artist for the month of May is Norman Robert Catchpole, so when you’re on the go come check out his work too.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History’s May speaker is Charlie Ellins and he will speak on the history of the Trent-Severn Waterway on May 18 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Call Monica at 705-326-2159 for the conference link.

Don’t forget the show from the Orillia Youth Center this Friday, featuring Crabrat, Grant Mask, Mitch Sleeman and many more, at the youth center. You can take your tickets here. Please remember this is a fundraiser for the Jake Beers and Nelson Bell scholarships.

Finally, DFF Productions, documentaries Underground Orillia fame, shooting a new project, Muskoka childrenat Camp Couchiching on May 14. Here is the information:Muskoka children strives to answer the question: if we brought together a group of young people and offered them a safe physical and emotional space, what would they tell adults about the mental health of the child? What would they tell us that they are living? What would they tell us they need?

“The media production will be a 10 to 20 minute short film that traces the arrival, introduction, development of the group and the intimate expressions of a small group of children brought together for this purpose. “Camp” is the magic sauce that will allow these children to be safe and have a meaningful experience. »

DFF is looking for a local youth with mental health awareness between the ages of 18 and 23 to join the group on May 14th. Contact Aaron at 416-629-0123 if you would like to get involved.

It’s all for this week. Stay safe, enjoy the sun, and if you have any arts news, send them to by Tuesday noon to be included.


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