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Rhindress, Live Bait team up for dinner theatre

Heather MacIntyre as Ma tries to steal a cutout of her favourite singer from the Anne Murray Centre.
Heather MacIntyre as Ma tries to steal a cutout of her favourite singer from the Anne Murray Centre.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Charlie Rhindress wrote his first dinner theatre for Live Bait in 1994. He and Karen Valanne co-wrote the show, The Krazy Family Christmas Reunion, as a fundraiser for Live Bait, having no idea how popular it would prove to be.

Rhindress and Valanne ended up writing thirty more dinner theatres, many featuring Granma Krazy and a host of her wacky relatives.

When Rhindress resigned as Live Bait’s Artistic Director in 2007 he left dinner theatre behind to work as Director of Education and Associate Artist at Neptune Theatre and then Artistic Director of Eastern Front Theatre, both in Halifax.

Last year he moved back to the area to work as a freelance artist, most notably writing I’m Not What I Seem, a best selling biography of Rita MacNeil. He also decided to return to dinner theatre and remounted his show, Anne of Springhill, as part of the Maritime Music Fest for the Anne Murray Centre this past summer. Live Bait Theatre was looking to start producing interactive dinner theatre more regularly and they decided to work together on the show.

“I worked on a lot of dinner theatres over a 13-year stretch and it was nice to have a break,” Rhindress said recently. “But working on Anne of Springhill reminded how much fun the format can be.”

The musical dinner theatre tells the story of a group of wacky Anne Murray fans who get together to create a tribute to their hometown hero. It features songs from the 50’s to today as well as a number of classic songs made famous by Anne Murray.

Standing left to right: Spike (Ron Kelly Spurles), Keith (James Hand) and Anne (Carley Varner) check on Ma (Heather MacIntyre) after she gets a little too excited and passes out in the dinner theatre Anne of Springhill.

The show features a number of local actors including James Hand and Erin Lewis from Amherst, Liam Cole, Ron Kelly Spurles and Heather MacIntyre from the Sackville area and Carley Varner of Springhill.

Anne of Springhill was so popular, selling out all three nights, that Rhindress and Live Bait are bringing it back for three more performances. The show will be presented at the Legion in Sackville, NB on Thursday, September 14 as part of Sackville Fall Fair; at the Amherst Golf Club on Friday, September 29; and finally at the East Botsford Recreation Centre in Murray Corner on Saturday, September 30.

Although Lorne St. in Sackville is still under construction access to the Legion is still available via Allison Ave. and there is parking in the lot directly across the street.

For more information on the Sackville performance of Anne of Springhill, phone Live Bait at 506-536- 2248. For more information on the Amherst performance of Anne of Springhill, phone 902-667-1911. For more information on the Murray Corner performance of Anne of Springhill, phone 506-538-7343 or 506-538-2834. Or, for more information about any of these performances, contact Rhindress at

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