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IF TRUTH BE TOLD at the Blyth Festival through September

In 1978, a group of puritanical thinkers who called themselves "Renaissance Canada" successfully convinced the Huron County School Board to put three books on its list for banning, and finally voted to forbid any student at one of the five high schools in the county from reading Margaret Laurence's iconic, Governor General's Award-winning, The Diviners(arguably one of the single most influential Canadian books of the 20th Century). At the same time, Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women was removed from the Peterborough high school curriculum.

This real life flashpoint is the inspiration for If Truth Be Told, a gripping new play by Beverley Cooper receiving its world premiere this summer at the Blyth Festival from July 27 to September 3 in Blyth's Memorial Hall. Reserve your seats by calling the Box Office at519.523.9300, Toll Free 1.877.862.5984 or online at blythfestival.com.

With If Truth Be Told, Festival favourite Beverley Cooper (Eyes of Heaven, Innocence Lost: A Play About Stephen Truscott, and The Lonely Diner: Al Capone in Euphemia Township) has approached this significant moment in our Huron County history with passion, sympathy, and daring.

Peg Dunlop is an internationally celebrated writer, with a long list of distinguished awards, living with her family in Vancouver. Peg is the most famous and successful writer ever to come out of the small town of Wayford. In spite of her influential career and accomplishments, Peg is no local heroine. Far from being celebrated in her hometown, many of the locals despise her work, and deeply resent her writing, revealingly, about life in Wayford.

When Peg unexpectedly moves home, few in the town embrace her return. Unaware of the apparent controversy surrounding Peg, Wayford's eager young high school English teacher assigns one of Peg's books to her grade thirteen class, and invites the writer to come and speak at the school.

As news of Peg's return spreads, and details of her book emerge, a group of concerned parents, led by a local pastor, endeavour to have her book banned. As the townspeople begin to choose sides, Peg befriends a teenage girl named Jennifer, who comes to learn the difference between telling the truth and telling a good story.

Starring as Peg Dunlop is Festival favourite Catherine Fitch (Falling: A Wake, Pearl Gidley, The Nuttalls, The Mail Order Bride, Courting Johanna) most recently seen in the Festival's season opener, Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning.

Also in the cast are J. D. Nicholsen (Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning St. Anne's Reel, Billy Bishop Goes to War, Dear Johnny Deere, Death of the Hired Man, Barndance Live), Rebecca Auerbach (Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning Stag and Doe, Kitchen Radio, Dear Johnny Deere, Reverend Jonah, The Ballad of Stompin' Tom), Meghan Chalmers (Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning), and Anita La Selva who is making her Blyth Festival debut.

Playwright Beverley Cooper is a writer, actor and teacher. She has written for TV, film and extensively for CBC radio drama, twice being nominated for Writers' Guild of Canada Awards. Other plays include the award winning Thin Ice (co-written with Banuta Rubess), The Woman in White (adapted from the novel by Wilkie Collins), and Janet Wilson Meets the Queen, which was recently produced at Great Canadian Theatre Centre in Ottawa. She is currently the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship to look at ways to renew the art of radio drama. Her play Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott produced by the Blyth Festival in 2009 was a finalist for a Governor General's Literary Award and on the Globe and Mail Bestsellers List, a first for a Canadian playwright.

Over 35 years of directing across Canada, Miles Potter has directed numerous productions for the Blyth Festival, most recently, 2014s hit comedy Stag and Doe, as well as Beverley Cooper's previous hit Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott. His directing credits include productions at the Stratford Festival, The Grand Theatre, The National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage, Mirvish Productions, among many others. He has also been a guest director and teacher at the National Theatre School, George Brown College, St. Clair College, Fanshawe College, Dalhousie University, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.


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