Muskoka is the summer home to one of Canada’s most successful performing dynasties, the Follows family, a group that includes thespian parents Ted Follows and Dawn Greenhalgh, producer son Laurence, actress daughters Samantha and Megan (the latter best known for her role as Anne Shirley in the iconic miniseries Anne of Green Gables) and producer and writer Edwina.
Laurence is also the general manager of the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts in Parry Sound, and not surprisingly, for Follows, Muskoka represents one of the birthplaces of summer theatre in Ontario. And he should know, he was there—for part of it, at least.
“I remember summers as a little kid watching my father, Ted Follows, perform in plays in Muskoka. This is literally where it all began. I remember the nights my father would return home from a performance. We lived on an island in the summer and he would come home on the boat, spray OFF [mosquito spray] on the windows before he came in the door and we’d all giggle and laugh about that. I remember theatre in Muskoka as being very playful, joyful and very entertaining.”
While past tales of Muskoka’s theatre beginnings are prized, what many theatregoers are most interested in knowing is when the Follows clan will perform together again as they did last year in the well received performance of Hay Fever in Bracebridge.
While Follows is keeping any plans to himself at present, he will confirm that he and his family will gather again in the Muskokas to “play.”
“All I can say is that we are up to something—yes, another play. I’m not sure yet, but it will be a comedy,” says Follows. “When we all get together we’re wacky.”