The Haliburton Summer Festival kicks off its season with She Loves Me, a musical all about a simpler time, when romance was innocent, and love could be found in the shop around the corner.

The first of a series of five performances over the next two months is being directed by award-winning actor, Lisa Horner.

She could not say enough about the people she has been working with in Haliburton to get the production ready for opening night. “Everybody is working so hard, it has been a wonderful experience. Everyone has been so nice, and so welcoming.” Horner was called in about a month into rehearsals for the production. She was performing a one-woman show in Winnipeg and returned home for about five days before coming to direct for the festival. “My husband and I own a house in Bancroft, so I was able to go back and forth on one of the most beautiful drives I have ever done in my life.”

The cast, and creative team, have been rehearsing every weekend since early spring to get the production built and staged for opening night, which was July 4.

Horner has directed community theatre in Oshawa, and will be directing Jenny’s House of Joys, for the Foster Festival in St. Catharines, and now here in Haliburton. She said the cast and crew of She Loves Me had been working “crazy hard” behind the scenes as well as in front of the curtain.

She applauded the dedication, from stage manager, Amy Leis, to behindthe-stage people who worked to get the period costuming, and set designer, builders, and painters. “I was just blown away by what they were doing. We only had about 14 hours a week together and it was incredible what they accomplished on their own. The effort, and the love, and the teamwork going into this is just amazing.”

The play runs until July 13 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton. More information and tickets can be found on the festival’s website: