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County seniors will be making waves of memories for stage and radio

Main Duck Harbour. Janet Kellough photo

Prince Edward County seniors will be making waves on shore and on the air as 99.3 County FM launches a new radio play and live stage performance series.

The series “Seniors Making Waves” is a special project funded by the federal New Horizons for Seniors program. It features four plays written by seniors, acted by seniors, and is “all County” in content. Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis presented the radio station with a $23,766 gift from the program earlier this year to help finance new mobile broadcasting equipment to be taken on the road to produce senior-related historic segments in the community.

The first show, “A Fluid Enterprise” features an original story by renowned County storyteller Janet Kellough (not a senior yet), adapted for stage by Ken Murray and Pearl Hucul. It is a rolicking look at rum running days on Main Duck Island and Milford during the roaring 20s.

Kellough was approached by Murray a few months ago, asking if she was interested in developing some scripts. Busy with the release of her new Thaddeus Lewis murder series book The Heart Balm Tort, writing another book, and launching the inaugural Women Killing It Crime Writers’ Festival, Kellough said she was “already up to her ears in new projects”.

“He confided that he had a hankering to try scriptwriting and asked if it would be possible to use any of my stories as starting points,” said Kellough. “I said I would be delighted as most of my stories are based on tales I’ve been told, and therefore, really belong to the people of the County as a whole.”

Kellough sent him files from her short stories CD “Swear On My Mother’s Grave” that were developed for her many stage shows.

“He chose to work with a piece called “The Enterprising Wives of Milford” which dealt with rumrunning on Main Duck Island and in Milford during the Prohibition era and which, to the best of my knowledge, is mostly true,” said Kellough. “They have expanded it and given it a whole new take.”

“A Fluid Enterprise” opens the series Oct. 15th at 2 p.m. at Macaulay Museum.

The second play set to premiere Dec. 6 at Huff Estates Winery is a new work written by Suzanne Pasternak.

“The live performances of these plays will be rebroadcast across our listening area at a later date,” said Deb Simpson, 99.3 CountyFM general manager. “What the audience will be seeing is an actual radio play and a live stage performance all at once. “Much like Garrison Keillor’s ‘Prairie Home Companion’ used to be, these plays not only teach us about our history but provide us with a glimpse of it through the eyes of our seniors. This is a very exciting and unique project featuring some extremely talented senior writers and voice actors.”

Pasternak, acting as the producer as well as a writer, agrees.

“This is an incredible outreach program for seniors across the County,” she said. “We are doing our dress rehearsals in nursing homes, plus involving seniors in the productions who have serious mobility issues. It is truly and amazing performing arts project unlike any I have ever seen.”

Admission to the shows will be by donation. The remaining two plays are yet to be announced.

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