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A Look at Opening Night of The 39 Steps at the Grove Theatre

August 24, 2022

Escaping on top of a train - Courtenay Stevens, Susie Burnett, Matthew Boden

On Thursday, August 11, 2022, the Grove Theatre opened its first mainstage production, The 39 Steps. It seemed as though everyone who attended really enjoyed the performance. The 39 Steps was adapted from an Alfred Hitchcock novel, written so that it could be played with a cast of just four. After his friend Annabella is murdered, Richard Hannay (Matthew Boden), a Canadian in Britain, is suspected of the murder, becomes a fugitive, and has to figure out how to stop a ring of spies from stealing British military secrets. Ellen Denny plays his three love interests, while clowns Susie Burnett and Courtenay Stevens depict every other character in the show.

For a first performance, The 39 Steps was an ambitious undertaking. It is incredible to watch how the cast works together to create the world of Richard Hannay, with few props, as the clowns transition seamlessly between roles. In some scenes, one actor plays two characters, in conversation with each other, changing costumes as they go. Their ability to seamlessly and instantly switch between roles, is remarkable to watch. It is apparent how much thought, care and work has gone into creating this amazing production.

Many volunteers, donors and special guests attended the opening, and it was apparent how much it meant to everyone in attendance that Fenelon Falls now has a professional theatre company. Founders Christy Yael, Sean Cox and Tim Wisener agreed, “we are thrilled with how opening night went. The show was great, energetic and entertaining and the audience was engaged and laughed throughout. We couldn’t ask for anything more! The night was a fitting celebration of all the work put in by so many passionate people over the last five years. It is a testament to what a community can achieve, to the power of volunteerism and love of community.” 

The 39 Steps Runs from August 11 to August 28. It’s fun, exciting, and something very new for the village of Fenelon Falls.

For more information about the production check out:

Photo Credit to Storey Wilkins (

Matthew Boden* – Richard
Ellen Denny
* – Annabella, Margaret, Pamela
Susie Burnett
* – Clown 1
Courtenay Stevens
* – Clown 2
Jeremy Lapalme* – Understudy for Richard Hannany and Clown 1 & 2

Lighting Design by Kimberly Purtell
Set Design by Jennifer Goodman
Costume and Properties Design by Sean Mulcahy
Assistant Costume Designer and Head of Wardrobe Ellie Koffman

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