upcoming shows

by Charles Dickens
adapted to the stage by Jason Rip
directed by Jeff Culbert
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
London Ontario
Nov 30, Dec 1,7,8,11,12,14,15

staged readings by London playwrights
directed by Jeff Culbert & Jack Grinhaus
The Grand Theatre
London Ontario
January 25,26

Blyth Festival
June 11-22, 2013

1812 play
by Jeff Culbert
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
July 16-25, 2013

Lighthouse Theatre
Port Dover, Ontario
Aug 20 - Sept 7, 2013

by Jeff Culbert
by Bernard Shaw
AlvegoRoot Theatre,
at The Arts Project,
London Ontario
Oct 30 - Nov 2, 2013

Click here for info on my solo show archy and mehitabel:

(click for more info)

archy and mehitabel
Based on the works of
Don Marquis

In 2010, I toured far and wide with archy and mehitabel, and I blogged the whole time, so for an account of that little adventure, click on the following:

Tour Blog 2010

Begins on June 1st, 2010 in London and covers Montreal, Ottawa, Wakefield, Regina, Swift Current, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Indianapolis and Halifax, wrapping up in London on September 22.


November 25, 2012, London:

It's all official - Dear Johnny Deere will be back next summer for a re-mount at the Blyth Festival (June 11-22) and a run at Lighthouse Theatre, Port Dover (Aug 20 - Sept 7). It sounds as though the entire cast is back, but that remains to be confirmed. This is a new (2012) show by Ken Cameron, based on the songs of Fred Eaglesmith, and the Port Dover gig is particularly significant, since that's Fred's home base when he's not touring. Good summer ahead!

October 22, 2012, London:

Welcome, delegates to Ontario Contact! Information on The Donnelly Sideshow can be found here.

October 4, 2012, London:

Done Fringing, looking forward to a weekend in Wakefield with The Donnelly Sideshow, hoping to get down to New Orleans to see The Chaser in its finished form, holding auditions for The Cricket on the Hearth and doing workshop for the PlayWrights Cabaret at the Grand. (And hearing talk of a Dear Johnny Deere remount in Blyth next summer.)

September 17, 2012, Vancouver:

More awards for Underbelly! - the Georgia Straight Critics' Pick Award and the Cultchinator Award, which means that the show will be part of the 2013-14 season at The Cultch.

September 15, 2012, Vancouver:

A great tour wrap-up for Underbelly (wriiten and performed by Jayson McDonald, directed by me). It was the "Artists' Pick" for the Edmonton Fringe, and then made the front cover of the Georgia Straight here in Vancouver. And here are the reviews from Plank Magazine, Georgia Straight, (Re)View from the House and The Snipe.

Congratulations to Karie Richards, who wrote and performed her first solo show, birdy. Here's the review from Plank.

And I got a review in Plank Magazine as well, for my own show, The Donnelly Sideshow.

August 12, 2012:

There's the Saskatoon Fringe, done and put to bed. During the final week, besides performing The Donnelly Sideshow, I was also directing The Chaser, by Bremner Duthie, which is heading off to the Edmonton Fringe. It's about the last act on the last night of the last big vaudville theatre in New York.

Now I'm heading home to get Karie Richard's Birdy ready for the Vancouver Fringe in September.

August 7, 2012:

I finally saw Jayson McDonald's Underbelly again, 14 month after I directed it for the London Fringe. I LOVED it. Here's the review from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

August 5, 2012:

Review of The Donnelly Sideshow in the StarPhoenix. "Jeff Culbert spins a great yarn, ... and he does it with the flair of an entertainer who leaves you wanting more."

August 4, 2012:

On to Saskatoon. In this radio interview broadcast on CFCA FM, Ishmael Daro talks to me about the Donnelly legacy and The Donnelly Sideshow. My segment takes up the first twelve minutes of the show.

July 24, 2012:

Here are the first reviews for The Donnelly Sideshow from the Hamilton Fringe.

In other news, I directed Jayson McDonald's Underbelly, a tribute to the Beat writers and William Burroughs in particular. It premiered at the London Fringe in 2011, and he's finally taking it on the road. The first reviews are in, from CBC Manitoba and The Winnipeg Free Press.

July 21, 2012:

Trying out the Hamilton Fringe for the first time. Looks good so far - good venue, good tech, nice neighbourhood.

July 13, 2012:

The Donnelly Sideshow is back up and running - this time in a barn at Fanshawe Piuoneer Village. I'm performing with a barn swallow that's nesting in the rafters. I'm also directing a new solo piece by Bremner Duthie call The Chaser. This one will premiere at the Edmonton Fringe in August. Bremner's shows are always dark, funny and musical - check out his stuff here.

July 8, 2012:

That's it for Dear Johnny Deere at the Blyth Festival. Great cast and crew, and a great run. If all goes well, there will be a re-mount next summer in Port Dover (Fred Eaglesmith's home base) and in the meantime, an original cast recording is in the works.

So now it's a sharp swing into Donnelly mode.

July 3, 2012:

Heading into the home stretch of Dear Johnny Deere, here's a review from Beat Magazine.

June 29, 2012:

Another great review of Dear Johnny Deere, this one from Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star : "Bring this show to Toronto. But first make an original cast recording."

June 25, 2012:

Great audience response to Dear Johnny Deere. And here's a review by Joe Belanger in the London Free press. "Dear Johnny Deere is like taking a ride on an emotional roller-coaster: It will make you laugh, cry, smile and want to cheer, whether you're a Fredhead, farmer or city dweller."

The review was accompanied by an article about Fred Eaglesmith, whose songs provided the foundation for the play. It includes the following quip from Fred: "You know, it's like nobody even noticed the farms disappearing, probably because it wasn't 'cool' to be a farmer. Well, we get our garlic from China now, congratulations."

June 18, 2012:

A preview article about Dear Johnny Deere.

June 6, 2012:

Fred Eaglesmith songs in Dear Johnny Deere:

Yellow Barley Straw
White Trash
White Rose
Spookin' the Horses
Small Motors
John Deere B
I Wanna Buy Your Truck
Bench Seat Baby
Wilder Than Her
Time to Get a Gun
Ordinary Guy
John Deere
Freight Train
Worked Up Field
York Road

June 5, 2012:

The cast of Dear Johnny Deere at the Blyth Festival:
JD (Jack) Nicholsen
Rebecca Auerbach
Jeff Culbert
Matthew Campbell

on fiddle: Capucine Onn
multi-instrumentalist and maestro: David Archibald

playwright: Ken Cameron
director: Eric Coates
lighting design: Rebecca Picherac
set and costume design:Pat Flood
stage manager: Dini Conte
ASM: Heather Thompson

June 4, 2012:

Please consider this website blacked out for the day. I am joining a HUGE number of environmental and democratic organizartions that are taking action together to oppose the federal government's omnibus bill, which is alarmingly anti-environmental and anti-democratic. For information on the campaign, the issues and the participating groups, please go to http://www.blackoutspeakout.ca/.

May 16, 2012

The final Boneyard Man show of the season will take place on Saturday May 26th. Last chance to see! Then it's up to Blyth to start rehearsals for Dear Johnny Deere.

March 16, 2012:

Great news - I'll be doing a show at the Blyth Festival this summer. Dear Johnny Deere is a new play by Ken Cameron, based on the songs of Fred Eaglesmith. June 19 - July 7, directed by Eric Coates. Blyth is an amazing theatre, located in a small village inland from Goderich Ontario on Lake Huron, and it has produced over 100 premieres of new Canadian plays. I always hoped to work there some day and that day is coming soon.

I'll be playing MacAllister, the small-town newspaper editor who mixes it up with the other characters, but also serves as the narrator of the story. Should be fun.

In other gigs, the Boneyard Man is going strong, with two new episodes every month. Upcoming performances: March 23, April 28 and May 26. The show is performed as if it were a live radio broadcast from the 30s-40s era. We describe it as "Radio Noir on Stage" and it is a faithful tribute to "The Shadow", but it's a lot funnier.

Feb 27, 2012:

I just received confirmation that I'll be performing at the Piggyback Fringe in Wakefield Quebec in June. I was there with archy and mehitabel in 2009 and 2010 and I loved it. So my 2012 tour with The Donnelly Sideshow looks like this: Lucan, Wakefield, Ottawa, London, Hamilton, Saskatoon and Vancouver.

Dec 1, 2011:

My first confirmed dates for The Donnelly Sideshow in 2012 are rolling in, beginning with two shows in Lucan, ground zero for the Donnelly story. I'll be there on the 132nd anniversary of the murders: February 3rd and 4th*.

*This show was re-scheduled for March 9 and 10, due to illness (mine).

Other dates will be added to the panel to the left as they come in.


Sept 8-18, it's archy and mehitabel at the Vancouver Fringe! Click here for background and media release and photos.

Sept 12, 2011:

Review of archy & mehitabel by Lisa Barratt in Plank Magazine,

And here's a video promo for archy & mehitabel made by the Vancouver Fringe at Strut Studios..


August 31, 2011:

I was asked to contribute a behind-the-scenes blog about my Donnelly show for the CBC website and here it is.

Also, I have three new reviews from my Victoria run. (All require that you scroll down a bit when these pages appear.) They can be found at The Visitorium, Culture Vulture Victoria and Victoria News.

August 24, 2011:

The Donnelly Sideshow review in the Edmonton Sun.

August 15, 2011

First review for The Donnelly Sideshow in Edmonton: Five stars in Vue Weekly.

And here's the review from CBC Manitoba.

And the Winnipeg Free Press.

And the London Free Press.

August 1, 2011

Congratulations to all who made the inaugural Clear Lake Fringe Festival in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, such a success. Long may it prosper.

June 28, 2011

The Donnelly Sideshow is up and running. Good times at the London Fringe this year. A good crop of shows too. Next stop: Regina.

I'm collecting Donnelly stories during this trip, so if you have any memories of your own, or stories that you heard from relatives or teachers or anyone else along the way, send 'em to me via this website.

There's also a CD of the songs from The Donnelly Sideshow, so if you'd like to get a copy, let me know and I'll contact you when they are ready to go out into the world.

February 4th, 2011

Greetings. This is a site for the theatre activities of Jeff Culbert. I am still touring with my solo show archy and mehitabel, but I am also launching a new show that will premiere at the London Fringe this June.

It's called The Donnelly Sideshow.

This will be my take on the Donnelly feud that put my home town of Lucan on the map in the late 19th Century. My great-great grandparents, John and Mary Culbert, made the trip from County Tipperary in Ireland to the wilds of Biddulph Township in Southern Ontario in 1840, four years before the Donnelly family made that same trip.

It was 131 years ago today that five members of the Donnelly family were murdered by their neighbours.

I will be posting details and developments of the show on this site in the days to come, but in the meantime, you can poke through the Donnelly lore at The Official Donnelly Homepage.

If you're interested in archy and mehitabel details, click on the cockroach image to the left. For full reviews, click here, and here's an interview and clips from the show in Wakefield.


Photography by Leif Norman
Review snippets:
The Donnelly Sideshow

“a tale of romance, feuds, conspiracy, and murder, navigated with energy and charm … illustrates why the legend of the Donnellys is so compelling”

- Joff Schmidt, CBC Manitoba
"a satisfying show made great by its historical relevance"
- Dan McKechnie, Vue (Edmonton)

“Culbert tells his tale with real conviction – you can see the audience sitting forward in their seats as he draws us in – an inspired storyteller”

- Colin Maclean, Edmonton Sun
“draws the audience in and does a fine job of detailing the fascinating events”
- Wendy Burke, Winnipeg Free Press
“Jeff Culbert has one of the most winning stage presences I've ever seen …The script is simple and clear, the songs are catchy and clever, and the jokes are subtly delivered and well-timed.”
- Clara Madrenas, Theatre in London
“Culbert is an engaging, endearing storyteller and a killer guitar player.. fascinating subject matter and catchy original tunes — when the lights went up, I found myself wanting to hear more.”
- Jen Zoratti, Uptown
“Inspired … It quietly observes the madness of men … Culbert has an oozing passion for the subject. Directed by Jayson McDonald with minute attention paid to the presentation - including Culbert hilariously etching out the neighbouring houses in the air - The Donnelly Sideshow , revisits the horrendous story and we hear just what Johnny saw.” 
Kathy Rumleski, London Free Press
“I thought the script, performance and interpretation were absolutely brilliant. And this is coming from someone who has studied and researched the Donnellys for some 50 years! What a riveting and gut-wrenching performance!”
- Dan Brock, historian

“I loved the show. It was the best telling of the story I have ever seen.”

- Laura Garner, Curator, Lucan Area Heritage & Donnelly Museum

“The Donnellys' murders are an entertainer's gold mine. Lucky for us Culbert still finds gold in them thar hills.” 

- Donald D'Haene, Beat Magazine