Welcome to The Village Playhouse

The Bancroft Village Playhouse offers audiences intimate access to live music, theatre and film. Drawing on local talent as well as nationally recognized names and acts, the Playhouse is the heart of Bancroft’s Theatre District.

With monthly TIFF screenings and community events, there’s always something going on at the historic theatre that is operated by Hospice North Hastings in partnership with St. Paul’s United Church.

This partnership makes the Playhouse different than most theatres. All of our proceeds support the restoration and up-keep of our historic theatre but we also use Playhouse proceeds to provide what we call “Caring through Culture.” This means that proceeds from Playhouse shows, the bar, different lotteries, raffles and contests help to fund the free programs and services that are offered in our community by Hospice North Hastings.

We thank you for your support and for your on-going patronage.


When you follow our “Buy Ticket” link you will land on BoxOfficeBancroft.com. Please register for a free account in order to purchase your tickets online. This requires an email address and the creation of a password. Billing will show up on your credit card statement as “All Occasion Event Rentals.”



Sultans of String @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Jul 18 @ 7:30 pm

3x JUNO nominees and SiriusXM winners Sultans of String create “Energetic and exciting music from a band with talent to burn!” (Maverick Magazine UK). Thrilling their audiences with their genre-hopping passport of Celtic reels, flamenco, Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms, Sultans of String celebrate musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar, while bass and percussion lay down unstoppable grooves. Acoustic strings meet with electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound, while world rhythms excite audiences to their feet with the irresistible need to dance.

Since forming 10 years ago, Sultans of String’s CDs have hit #1 across Canada on Top Ten national radio charts, and have received multiple awards and accolades, including 3 JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nominations, 1st place in the ISC (out of 15,000 entries), 3 Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus special guest recordings and sharing the stage with artists such as Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Richard Bona, Benoit Bourque (Bottine Souriante), Nikki Yanofsky, Alex Cuba, Ruben Blades, Crystal Shawanda, and Ken Whiteley.

With their 5th album, Subcontinental Drift, they served up a blend of ragas, reels and rumbas with special guest, sitar master Anwar Khurshid (featured in the Oscar winning Life of Pi, Kama Sutra, and Love Guru). Sultans of String are particularly excited about this east-meets-west project with Khurshid. “There is something magical about joining the world music rhythms we play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East”, says bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool. Indeed, while the album treks across all kinds of musical terrain, the fertile soil beneath each track is fed by hope unhindered and freedom found. “One of the songs we wrote together, “Journey to Freedom”, beautifully traces Anwar’s journey from Pakistan to Canada, finding his new home here.

With their 6th album, Christmas Caravan, Sultans of String have expanded the traditional notion of Christmas music, injecting it with new-found energy and non-traditional sounds. Recorded and co-produced with JUNO Award winning engineer John ‘ Beetle’ Bailey, this isn’t your typical holiday album. You may recognize a few titles, but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before. “We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards” says McKhool. “This is a seasonal album, but approached from the perspective of a world-music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from the classic sounds of the Andrews Sisters, to a Himalayan sleigh ride, African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony.” Christmas Caravan hit #6 on BILLBOARD World Music charts in the first week of its release.

McKhool (who has performed with Jesse Cook and Pavlo), was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in creating community through music. He grew up in a Lebanese-Egyptian (Makhoul) house bursting with music and diversity. Growing up, he was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality alongside Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons.

When McKhool first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s (Jesse Cook) rumba rhythm, their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. From this rich foundation, the dynamic duo grew, featuring such amazing musical friends as bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), jaw-dropping Cuban percussionist Rosendo Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, Parachute Club), guitarist Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), as well as special guests such as The Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney, Anwar Khurshid, oud player Bassam Bishara, and more!

The band’s US manager and acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez) states, “Over the decades, I’ve worked with numerous top ten and #1 Billboard artists. In all that time, I have not worked with composers more talented than Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté from Sultans of String. Not only are they a superb writing team, they are also amazing arrangers & musicians. Adding the virtuosic talent of Anwar Khurshid adds to their truly global and mesmerizing sound!”

Sultans of String have been criss-crossing North America for the last several years. Equally at home in a concert series, folk or jazz club, or festival setting, they have been featured at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, legendary jazz club Birdland in NYC, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival in the UK, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Stratford, Ontario and Niagara Symphony Orchestras, as well with Kingsfield POPS in Maine. Sultans of String also perform for Youth, and perform Pops, Christmas and Family/Education shows with symphonies. Sultans of String were recently filmed by MPBN’s Maine Arts! in a feature concert, and performed live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, World Cafe, and on SiriusXM in Washington.

“Virtuoso playing…. An exuberant and infectious sound… Powerful and moving…The Sultans are simply an awesome musical group!” – Mike Hill, Artistic Director, Mariposa Folk Festival

“They are players without borders… world music that transcends place and time with a heavy dose of playfulness added in.” – The Vancouver Province

“Chris McKhool and the boys were fantastic!  They can play my Bar Mitzvah.” – Bob Ezrin, producer (Pink Floyd, Kiss)

“Simply brilliant!” – Jeff Mifsud, 3NRG 99.3FM, Australia

Nominations and awards

  • 2017 USA Billboard World Music Charts – CHRISTMAS CARAVAN CD hits #6
  • 2017 JUNO Award Nominees – World Music Album of the Year- SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT
  • 2017 USA Billboard World Music Charts – SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT CD hits #15
  • 2016 Canadian Folk Music Award – World Group of the Year- SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT
  • 2016 Global Music Awards– World Music / Beats
  • 2015 JUNO Award Nominees for “Instrumental Album of the Year” – Symphony!
  • 2015 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) – Subcontinental Drift
  • 2015 Toronto Independent Music Award Winner – World Music
  • 2014 SIRIUSXM Independent Music Awards Winner- World Group of the Year
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental Song – “Josie”
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Vox Pop Award – Music Producer – Symphony! -Chris McKhool (Producer), Rebecca Pellett (Associate Producer)
  • 2013 ISC  International Songwriting Competition- Instrumental category – “Monti’s Revenge”
  • 2013 Folk Music Ontario- Songs of the Heart Winner – Instrumental category – “Monti’s Revenge”
  • 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year
  • 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader Chris McKhool
  • 2013 SiriusXM Canadian Indie Awards Nominee for World Group of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees – Instrumental Group of the Year & Pushing The Boundaries
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee- Producer of the Year for Chris McKhool
  • 2012 OCFF Songs of the Heart Winner
  • 2012 Festivals & Events- Entertainer of The Year
  • 2011 Ontario Contact – Artist of the Year
  • 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental
  • 2011 Independent Music Award 2x Finalist – Instrumental Album & World Beat Album – Yalla Yalla!
  • 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition 2x Finalist-  Instrumental & World Music categories
  • 2010 JUNO Award Nominees for “Instrumental Album of the Year” – Yalla Yalla!
  • 2010 Canadian Independent Music Awards nominees- Favourite World Artist/Group
  • 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place Winners – Instrumental
  • 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year (also nominated for Ensemble of the Year and
  • Pushing the Boundries)
  • 2009 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Award 2x Winner- Best Toronto World CD & Artist of the Year
  • 2008 International Songwriting Competition Winner (ISC) – Instrumental
  • 2008 Festivals & Events Ontario- Best Variety Act
  • 2008 Canadian Independent Music Awards Finalists- Favourite World Music Band
  • 2008 International Independent Music Awards Finalists- Best World Fusion Song
  • 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees – Best Instrumentalist Group
John McDermott @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Jul 20 @ 7:30 pm

John McDermott can recall the precise moment when he realized he had made the right decision to give up his day job and make singing his full-time career. That moment came at 8 p.m. on October 5th, 1993 at the Rebecca Cohn Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia as he walked on stage to a full house and a thunderous East Coast welcome.

As he mentioned to a magazine interviewer, John remembers the details so well because it was the first concert with his own band, following a year as the opening act for the internationally renowned Irish group, The Chieftains. John was thrilled that the Halifax crowd was wildly enthusiastic – so enthusiastic, in fact, that their encore-encouraging applause kept the show going for more than four hours. Not that many years before, John had been working in the circulation department of one of Toronto’s daily newspapers, The Sun. As a creative outlet, he would sing a few Irish and Scottish folk tunes at staff gatherings– songs he had learned growing up in a musical household in Willowdale, Ontario after his family moved therefrom Glasgow, Scotland.

His father Peter – John still considers him the finest tenor he has ever heard – and his mother Hope encouraged family sing-a-longs. The only formal musical training John received was when he attended St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto for two years. John recorded an album of Irish and Scottish ballads as a nice 50th wedding anniversary gift for his parents. He recorded 12 tracks, one for each of the 12 McDermott children, then added one more version of Danny the way his father liked to hear it sung a cappella. Those who heard the album encouraged John to have it produced commercially. Recalling that a couple of entertainment business heavyweights, Michael Cohl and Bill Ballard, had been impressed with his singing at a Karaoke Night during the Toronto Floating Film Festival a couple of years earlier, John took the album to Ballard, who put him in touch with the president of EMI Music Canada. EMI released 2,000 copies on November 10, 1992. The next day being Remembrance Day, famed Canadian broadcaster Peter Gzowski played three tracks from the album – And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Dann yBoy and Christmas in the Trenches. The stores couldn’t keep it on the shelves and more copies were quickly produced.

A few months later, Paul McGrath, a CBC-TV documentary maker who had also attended St.Michael’s Choir School, profiled John in a short piece that Peter Mansbridge aired on his prime time nightly newscast The National. Within a short time the album had sold more than 50,000 copies. EMI began urging their new ‘find’ to go on tour to capitalize on the success of the album. John resisted at first because he had a steady job at the Toronto tabloid. Then he remembered Bill Ballard and Michael Cohl saying that if he ever turned professional, he should get in touch. John once again contacted Ballard, who arranged for the gig with The Chieftains. Hedging his bets, John took a leave of absence from The Sun in case his musical career failed to take off. As things turned out, he needn’t have worried.Throughout 1994, John toured Australia and New Zealand where Danny Boy had topped the charts.

In 1995, Ballard arranged a British tour with The Seekers. John played his first U.S. concert at Boston’s Ritz Carlton Hotel in 1995 and a member of the audience went backstage to pay his respects. It was Senator Ted Kennedy and the American icon invited John to perform at the Democratic National Convention in 1996. They became friends and John, at Ted’s request, frequently visited the Kennedy Compound at Cape Cod. When the Massachusetts senator died in August, 2009, John was invited to sing at the memorial service.

Since the beginning of his musical career, John has recorded more than 25 albums, three of which have gone platinum while another has reached double platinum status and yet another achieved a triple platinum ranking. His latest offerings are entitled The Old House– a collaboration with his long-time musical director, guitarist and artist in his own right, Jason Fowler – and My Gentle Harp: A Tribute To Thomas Moore, the musician, poet and singer who lived from 1779 to 1852.

The Old House offers such perennial favourites as Wild Mountain Thyme, The Cliffs of Doneen and Red is the Rose, as well as the hilarious crowd-pleaser I’m My Own Grandpa.With My Gentle Harp, John pays homage to the man whose words have been used in opera, in the works of James Joyce and have been featured in performances on some of the greatest stages of the world. For more than 200 years, Thomas Moore’s poetry, prose and music have touched the lives of millions and continue to have an important influence on the arts to this day.

There are many other milestones in John’s career. His concerts are sell-outs and sales of his albums are brisk. In addition, John is a perennial favourite to sing the National Anthem at Toronto Maple Leafs home games, and he has met five U.S. presidents. He has been nominated for a number of Juno awards and received the U.S.Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Bob Hope Award for his support for veterans’ causes. Veterans are special to John. His father, who died in 1995, served in the Royal Air Force. John’s mother, who lived on for about five years after her husband’s death, had a brother who died in the notorious Changi Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Two of John’s cousins were killed in Vietnam and another took his own life after serving there. In 2010, John was awarded a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for his work on behalf of veterans. He is also an honorary member of the War Amps of Canada.

A current project close to John’s heart is his drive to raise $3.6 million to enhance and expand the Palliative Care unit – K-Wing Veterans Centre – at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital. He wants to help the staff give the best possible care to their patients – veterans, serving members of the military, First Responders such as police officers and firemen, and members of the general public who are admitted to the unit. Funding for the project so far has come from a series of concerts entitled Music in the Key of Giving as well as from corporate sponsorships and individual donations made through John’s not-for-profit charitable foundation, McDermott House Canada. John is particularly touched by the donations from people with little cash to spare– especially senior citizens who send in $2 or $5 because they realize the importance of having the project succeed.


Wilderness Trails – Doc and Talk @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Jul 25 @ 7:00 pm

Enjoy an epic Lake Superior adventure from a seat the Village Playhouse

Two guys, six days, 65 kilometres, 90 pounds of gear and an endless amount of natural beauty along the Eastern Shore of Lake Superior is all eloquently captured in the short documentary film, “Wilderness Trails.”

The doc, set to screen on July 25th at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft, delivers stunning visuals while hinting at the physical and emotional challenges faced by filmmakers, Daryl Phillips and Scott Jordan when they set out to capture their passion for outdoor adventure in August of 2018.

With 25 years of canoe trips and hikes as a foundation, Phillips is no stranger to traveling by his own steam. Phillips says each journey brings a renewed connection to the power of nature and inspires a reverence for the sacredness of the spaces that these trails traverse.

The documentary is subtle with layered sounds and visuals. And while the film is not a “how to,” on remote hiking, watching the film, on the big screen, gives you a sense that you were there with Phillips and Jordan as they crossed some of Canada’s most impressive topography.

There are subtle tips along the way and the perspective shared through the minimalist script does impart wisdom to those who might be interested in planning their own pilgrimage in the future. Still, Philips says the process is not really about guiding others – it’s about inspiring others.

“I do this for me,” Phillips says of his need to make documentary films. “I love the creative process, creating memories that will be stimulated by watching the film again and again. It also gives people a chance to watch – people who might not ever take on something like this.”

Phillips and Jordan will be at the July 25th screening to participate in a Q&A after the film and the creative team anticipate questions from what to bring on a hike to how to shoot a doc with minimal gear and crew. All questions will be welcomed.

“Wilderness Trails” screens at the Bancroft Village Playhouse on Thursday, July 25th at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and proceeds support Hospice North Hastings. This is a family-friendly event that will appeal to those who thrive on outdoor adventure but also to those who like to take intellectual adventures from a comfortable seat, a bit closer to home.

Sarah Hagen – Perk Up Pianist – Live music and comedy @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Aug 8 @ 7:30 pm

A First Prize Winner in the 2013 Bradshaw & Buono International  Piano Competition, Sarah now transforms her award-winning role as concert pianist into a stand-up, or rather, sit-down piano-filled comedy. “Perk up, pianist!” is a uniquely charming music and storytelling  experience that takes you deep inside the world of a touring classical musician.







The Little Mermaid – It Takes a Village Summer Camp Production @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Aug 17 @ 2:00 pm
The Little Mermaid – It Takes a Village Summer Camp Production @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Aug 17 @ 7:00 pm
Cottagers and Indians -Live Theatre @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Aug 24 @ 2:00 pm

Wild rice sparks a battle royal between a native farmer and a white cottager, whose increasingly bitter dispute becomes a microcosm for reconciliation.

Told with warmth and humour, and encompassing issues of community, respect and ownership, Cottagers & Indians is a tale for our times – and a food fight for the ages.

The role of Maureen Copper will be played by Meagan Sutherland and Siren Thoms. The role of Arthur Copper will be played by Peter Toulouse. Students at North Hastings High School and Richview Collegiate will be creating a chorus of indigenous and settler voices as a soundtrack to the script.







Cottagers and Indians -Live Theatre @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Aug 24 @ 7:00 pm

Wild rice sparks a battle royal between a native farmer and a white cottager, whose increasingly bitter dispute becomes a microcosm for reconciliation.

Told with warmth and humour, and encompassing issues of community, respect and ownership, Cottagers & Indians is a tale for our times – and a food fight for the ages.

The role of Maureen Copper will be played by Meagan Sutherland and Siren Thoms. The role of Arthur Copper will be played by Peter Toulouse. Students at North Hastings High School and Richview Collegiate will be creating a chorus of indigenous and settler voices as a soundtrack to the script.







Mudmen @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Sep 7 @ 7:30 pm

Always entertaining and definitely unique, The Mudmen are a blast of Celtic energy whose members are known to be characters both on and off the stage. First discovered in 1993 as “The Campbell Brothers”, the band signed a deal with EMI Records and changed their name to “Mudmen” in 1998. Their music has been featured on Xbox and PlayStation games, NBC’s television show “Black Donnellys”, WWE Wrestling, Don Cherry’s 9, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27,29 hockey videos, The Mackenzie Brothers TWO-FOUR Special on CBC, HBO’S Shameless TV show, HNIC Coach’s Corner (Dale Hunter tribute), 6 music videos on Much Music, and they’ve reached top 20 on the Edge radio.

In 2008 the Campbell Brothers were asked to perform on the new “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song produced by Canadian Icon Bob Rock, where Ron McLean quoted “Mudmen we love em” televised. This lead to many opportunities including a 3 month tour, PBS special/DVD, and a performance at the Canadian Country Music awards with Johnny Reid.

The Mudmen have appeared twice on Parliament Hill for Canada Day where they performed and shook hands with the Queen televised, performed at the Edmonton Oilers & Calgary Flames home opening game ceremonies on CBC, Guested on The MacKenzie Brothers 24 Anniversary CBC, and performed at The ’84 Oiler’s Stanley Cup Gala Re-Union with Wayne Gretzky, Sarah McLaughlin, Red Ryder, and full team present .

With nearly 3000 shows to date, The Mudmen Robby Campbell, Sandy Campbell, Jeremy Burton, Mike Meacher and Dan Westenenk believe that nice guys can finish first. While enjoying life & what you do translates to all audiences.

The Mudmen are building a legion of fans from young to old with career highlights such as 12 Canada Walk of Fame Ceremonies, the Leaf & Bruins Game at The ACC, opening performance for ZZ Top & The Guess Who, 7 Grey Cups, 2 Brier Curling events,2 IPA plowing matches, The IHHF World Hockey tournament , 3 Memorial Cups,6 Molson Canadian Snowjams ,over 40 cross Canada Tours, festival dates in Canada,America & Europe and a performance at TSN’s “For the Love of The Game” Canadian gold ring presentation with Sidney Crosby.

The Mudmen have 9 studio recordings ( formerly signed to EMI Records) 6 music Videos ( MTV/Much Music) celebrating their 20th anniversary in March of 2018.


Sean McCann @ The Bancroft Village Playhouse
Sep 27 @ 7:30 pm


Séan McCann bought his first guitar in 1989 which he affectionately calls “Old Brown”. Old Brown has been around. He was there for the first song Séan ever wrote. He was there as Séan founded Great Big Sea, the acclaimed and multi-million album selling band that would change his life. He was there to hold Séan up many a night as he struggled with alcoholism, and he has been there to help guide Séan out of the darkness with music as his medicine.

John Lennon once sang “You can live a lie until you die. One thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.” After exiting the internationally renowned Newfoundland folk group and publicly admitting a secret past where he used alcohol to mask the pain of sexual abuse by a priest ; Séan stopped lying to himself. With his boys and his wife Andrea as his motivation, Séan found the courage to face his truth and overcome his demons. Today he continues his journey as a singer, songwriter, husband, father, and now a sought after speaker and mental health advocate, always with Old Brown by his side.

Séan’s 2014 album “Help Your Self” was a battle cry; a line in the sand which announced that he was ready to start over again. It resonated with people in a way he never could have expected. The experience helped Séan understand that he wasn’t alone and that telling his story could help others as much as it helped him. His album, “You Know I Love You” (2015) was inspired by the love Séan found in sharing that story and his attempts to find connection in a world seduced by the false social media promise of real connectivity. The latest album, “There’s a Place”, is a collection of songs from a man who is determined to remain “face to face” when we are tempted to keep our eyes buried in our screens and the artificial light of this digital age. It is the story of a man freed from the weight of a lie; a man who is changing his narrative and never forgetting……that he is not alone.