The Play 2017

Preview performances: November 1 and 2 at 7.30 pm

November 3-4, 10-11 at 7.30 pm

Sundays, November 5, 12 at 2:00 pm

Tickets: $25 (see our online ticket buying option). Tickets available in early October

At the Elmwood Theatre, 261 Buena Vista Road, Rockcliffe Park

THE PLAY – Enchanted April


The Author Mary Annette Beauchamp (1866-1941) – who wrote as “Elizabeth von Arnim” – was Australian by birth, the daughter of wealthy and highly cultured parents. She also had a famous cousin, the New Zealander Kathleen Beauchamp, whose literary pseudonym was Katherine Mansfield. Mary’s English father and Australian mother brought the family to Britain when their youngest daughter was only three. The Beauchamps also lived for a time in Switzerland. “May” was educated in England, where she studied at the Royal College of Music, specializing in the organ, and considered a career as a professional musician. While visiting Rome, however, she met the newly widowed Prussian aristocrat, Count Henning von Arnim-Schlagenthin. They married in 1891 and moved briefly to Berlin, though Mary came to prefer the County’s country estate, where she wrote her first, highly auto-biographical novel, Elizabeth and Her German Garden (1898), in which she described her husband as “The Man of Wrath.” This was the first of 20 novels, including The Enchanted April (1922), that established an international reputation for the author. Separated in 1908 and widowed in 1910, the Countess thereafter divided her time between London and Switzerland, where she welcomed many literary friends, including H.G. Wells, E.M. Forster and Hugh Walpole. In 1916, this newly naturalized British citizen married Francis Russell, the 2nd Earl Russell and older brother of Bertrand Russell. The couple separated after three years but never divorced. The First World War, in the wake of which the Countess wrote The Enchanted April, had been a difficult time. During the war, May’s youngest daughter – just 16 years old – died in Germany, along with many close friends and relatives. After the war, she returned to Switzerland, and there, she embarked on a long romantic relationship with Alexander Stuart Frere-Reeves (later president of Heinemann publishers). Living in France from 1930 to 1939, she fled the threat of renewed war to join three of her children in the United States; one daughter remained in Germany throughout the war. In the United States, the author published her last enormously popular novel, Mr. Skeffington, “Elizabeth von Arnim” died in 1941 in South Carolina. History has identified her an early feminist, who often wrote wittily about the lack of female power in a male-dominated world.

The Playwright Matthew Barber was born in Los Angeles, studied literature, film and theatre at the University of California at Los Angeles and pursued an early career as an arts journalist. He lives today in New York, where he writes for stage and film. Enchanted April premiered in Connecticut in 2000 and moved to Broadway in 2003, earning the John Gassner Award for Outstanding New American Play and Drama League and Tony Award nominations for Best Play. Barber’s latest play, Fireflies, premiered at Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre in October 2017.


Venetia Lawless – Lotty Wilton

Jenn Sheffield – Rose Arnott

Robert Hicks – Mellersh Wilton

Geoff Gruson – Frederick Arnott

Lindsay Laviolette – Lady Caroline Bramble

Janet Uren – Mrs. Graves

Jesse Lalonde – Anthony Wilding

Carolina Barrios – Costanza


Venetia Lawless (Rose Arnott) – Venetia is delighted to return to the Linden House stage after last year’s debut in Imaginary Lines. She’s had the pleasure of working with the entire cast before, during a recent directing gig (Calendar Girls, Ottawa Little Theatre), and in past years in Pride and Prejudice. Her favourite roles performed in years gone by include Dangerous Liaisons, Dangerous Corner, Touch & Go, Death of a Salesman, and Wrong Turns at Lungfish.

Jennifer Sheffield (Lottie Wilton) – This is Jenny’s second appearance with Linden House, beginning with Wanda in last year’s Imaginary Lines. Favourite credits with other companies include Calendar Girls, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Inspecting Carol with the Ottawa Little Theatre, Steel Magnolias with the Valley Players of Almonte, and Vagina Monologues with the Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica.

Mellersh Wilton (Robert Hicks) – Look for this bio soon

Geoffrey Gruson (Frederick Arnott) – Geoff has been acting, directing and administering theatre in the Ottawa area for almost 40 years and is currently Chairman of the Board at the Ottawa Little Theatre. This is his second time on the Linden House stage, following last year’s role as Sir Michael Thurston in Imaginary Lines, and he has worked many times with most of this year’s cast. Most recently, he appeared in Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of Old Love, directed by Venetia Lawless at the Ottawa Little Theatre.

Lindsay Laviolette (Lady Caroline) – Lindsay teaches drama in the public school system and has appeared recently in the Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of The Three Musketeers, where she played the Queen of France, and in Pardon Me, Prime Minister, in the role of the love-struck Miss Frobisher.

Janet Uren (Mrs. Graves) – Founder of Linden House in 2007, Uren has played roles over the past ten years including her favourites, Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit and Florence Foster Jenkins in Glorious! She has also recently appeared at Ottawa Little Theatre in Pride and Prejudice (Mrs. Bennett), The Calendar Girls (Ruth) and this year as the prime minister’s wife in Pardon Me, Prime Minister.

Anthony Wilding (Jesse Lalonde) – Look for this bio soon.

Carolina Barrios (Costanza) – After a professional career in theatre in Bogotá, Colombia, Carolina emigrated with her family to Canada a few years ago, and here she has pursued her interest in drama. This is her second role with Linden House, following her hilarious interpretation of the role of Maria in Glorious! (2015).