The Registry Theatre is my favourite live performance venue in Waterloo Region. It has the inspired and affordable programming, the staff starting with program director Lawrence McNaught and the warmth, accessibility and intimacy to satisfy all my entertainment needs.

The vibrant performing arts presenter located in the heart of downtown Kitchener has unveiled its playbill for its 16th season.

For less than $250,000 annually, the Registry offers an assortment of in-house programming — spanning folk, jazz and classical music, film, dance, visual art and children’s theatre — extending from September through June. It also partners with various community performing arts organizations including Lost & Found Theatre, MT Space and IMPACT International Theatre, ACTone Play Festival and KW Musical Productions, not to mention JM Drama Youth and JM Drama (which manages the venue on behalf of the City of Kitchener).

It’s not only tax payers’ money well spent, it’s a bargain; enough to put smiles on the grumpiest of taxpayer watchdogs. Programming continues to grow and expand as two of the Registry’s most popular series — Folk Night at the Registry and Jazz at the Registry — celebrate their 11th anniversaries.

I’m thrilled Lawrence has once again invited Reid Between The Lines to present a concert in partnership with the Registry. Our sophomore concert features guitar virtuoso/vocalist Don Ross. The concert takes place November 26. (I will post a separate blog closer to the concert date).

Here then is an outline of the Registry’s inhouse programming. I will post a separate blog shortly surveying the Folk Night at the Registry season, but acoustic music fans can look forward to English artist Jez Lowe, East Coast singer/songwriters Laura Smith. Lennie Gallant, Steel Rail folk ensemble and acclaimed American artist Bill Staines, among others.

One Night Only: Live at The Registry

One Night Only is a genre-bending series designed to offer a variety of musical styles. This season features the return of some of the venue’s most popular acts.

October 14 & 15
Court and Spark – The Music of Joni Mitchell

Kevin Ramessar returns to the Registry for his annual tribute concert. From his performances on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical to the Stratford Festival’s A Chorus Line, Kevin is an area fave.

Kevin Ramessar

Kevin Ramessar

November 25
Ellington Meets Gershwin

Two of Canada’s great jazz musicians share the stage to play the music of two of the 20th century’s greatest songwriting pairs, Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, and George & Ira Gershwin.

February 3
Virtuosity From The Soul

Scotland’s musical gift to the world who now calls Elora home is back for his third Registry appearance. Caledonia Soul, with a nod to the classics and jazz, from one of the world’s premiere Celtic guitarists.

April 7
Homegrown Canadian Bluegrass

The best in homegrown New-Gen bluegrass. With roots in the classic sounds of Bill Munroe and Flatt & Scruggs, the Slocans represent the pulsing heart of bluegrass North. They have quickly become leading lights on Canada’s roots music scene with energetic live shows, impeccable musicianship and intricate bluegrass harmonies.

Concerts at 8 pm. Tickets $27 each taxes included 

Classics at The Registry

Classics at The Registry celebrates its 10th anniversary with local musicians, including resident ensemble Nota Bene Baroque Players, plus a brand new quartet named for the venue.

October 16
Pärt and Parcell

Arvo Pärt is one of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary composers. Cynthia Hiebert and Ben Bolt-Martin perform his beautiful and deeply spiritual music, combined with the lesser known contemporary American composer John Parcell. Highlights include two of Pärt’s best-known works Fratres and Spiegel Im Spiegel.

Cynthia Hiebert ~ piano
Ben Bolt-Martin ~ cello

November 6
Fantastic Style

Early Baroque composers created a daring new style that combined fantasy, virtuosity and improvisation. The Stylus Fantasticus of Buxtehude and his contemporaries strongly influenced J.S. Bach and the Sturm und Drang music of C.P.E. Bach.

Rona Goldensher ~ baroque violin
Laura Jones ~ gamba
Borys Medicky ~ harpsichord

February 5
Resorting to Pleasure

From the coffee houses of Leipzig to the royal ‘cottage’ at Versailles, Alison Melville, Heather Carruthers and Borys Medicky provide a glimpse of the chamber music from the personal realms of the 18th century. This afternoon of baroque flute, recorder, bassoon and harpsichord features beguiling solo and trio sonatas by Telemann, Boismortier, Corrette and Leclair.

Alison Melville ~ recorder & baroque flute
Heather Carruthers ~ baroque bassoon
Borys Medicky ~ harpsichord

March 12
Dialogue – Duos for Lutes and Early Guitars

Two of Canada’s finest lute and guitar players combine their talents to feature music by a diverse collection of early music composers from Francesco da Milano to Anton Diabelli — and beyond.

April 9
We Wrap Our Brahms Around You

We celebrate the 10th anniversary of Classics at The Registry with the debut of a new ensemble, featuring some of Waterloo Region’s finest musicians and compositions by one of the greatest and most influential composers, in history — Johannes Brahms.

Julie Baumgartel & Leslie Ting – violin
Jody Davenport – viola
Paul Pulford – cello

Concerts take place Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets $30 Adult/$25 Senior/$5 university and 12 and younger free. Concert series pass $150/$125 Senior taxes included

Jazz at The Registry

Jazz at the Registry begins a second decade with more great local talent, plus the best Canada has to offer.

Larry Larson

Larry Larson

Winter Jazz Festival Weekend

The K-W Symphony principal trumpet and jazz virtuoso makes his annual visit to the Registry with his Guys. Featuring Larson on trumpet & flugelhorn, Paul Shilton on piano, Matthew Lima on bass, Dave Thompson on guitar and Dave Campion on drums.

The concert is also part of the 2nd annual Winter Weekend Jazz Festival, presented in partnership with Waterloo’s Jazz Room.

Tribute to Moe Koffman

Moe Koffman will forever be remembered as The Swinging Shepherd. Bernie Senensky played piano with Canada’s master of the flute and sax for more than 20 years. He makes a welcome return to the Registry for this tribute featuring acclaimed flautist Bill McBernie and members of the original Moe Koffman Quintet.

Masters & Modern Double Bill

Mary-Catherine Pazzano performed one of her first jazz concerts at the Registry a few years back, and is now one of the community’s foremost jazz vocalists. She returns with her trio to pay tribute to the great song composers of jazz. The Phoenix Quartet completes the double bill with new original tunes by Phoenix pianist John McLelland, with Pazzano on vocals.

JUNE 2 & 3
Coming Home to Kitchener                                                                                                                                  

Don and Jeff Breithaupt are among North America’s finest songwriters in the tradition of the Great American Songbook. Their family has a historic name in Kitchener. The brothers return to their ancestral home for two nights, featuring an orchestra and an array of local vocalists who will put their unique spins on the Breithaupt Brothers Songbook.

Concerts at 8pm. Tickets $30/concert series pass $105 taxes included

Dance at The Registry

Dance at The Registry continues its commitment to nurturing contemporary dance and developing audiences for Canadian dancers and choreographers. Registry general manager Sam Varteniuk curates the novel Pay-As-You-Leave ticketing option which allows audience members to experience contemporary dance before determining the value of the experience.

November 4
petites danses

Four musical compositions. Twelve performers. Eight dances. Marie-Josée Chartier creates unique choreographic worlds that shape and reshape our perception of sound. With an ensemble of professional dancers, as well as local performers, Chartier imagines and reimagines each instrumental score by creating a visual and physical landscape. Set to the music of Linda C. Smith, Rodney Sharman, James Tenny and Nick Storring.

January 20
dead reckoning

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica comes to the Registry stage. Blue Ceiling Dance artistic director Lucy Rupert unites with internationally renowned ballet choreographer Peter Quanz. They perform, along with dancers Elke Schroeder and Sky Fairchild-Waller, an investigation of Shackleton’s account of a disembodied presence who guided him through a near-death experience in his disastrous 1914 Antarctica expedition. Using Shackleton’s memoirs and the collaborators’ personal experiences, the work follows Blue Ceiling’s path of passionate, imaginative and vulnerable performances, with original music by Jascha Narveson and Walter Frank.

May 4

Old Men Dancing are back with a program of greatest hits, plus new work. Dances by some of Canada’s leading choreographers, new works include the intriguing titles Revisit, Older and Still Moving and We’re here . . . let’s dance.

Advance tickets $25/$5 eyeGO or Pay As You Leave For The Enjoyment Received  

VOC Plays the Movies

The VOC Silent Film Harmonic is a group of area musicians whose approach to accompanying silent movies is explained by bassist and group leader Ted Harms. ‘The blockbuster movies of the 1920s came with symphonic scores and big-city theatres had their own orchestras. However, most film music was supplied by pianists or small ensembles that worked from classical themes or cue sheets of generic-themed music serving as the basis for improvisations. This is the tradition that the VOC pursues.’

October 27
A Page of Madness 

A 1926 Japanese avant-garde classic. Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa, this tale of insanity in a family is explored using many of the new, innovative film techniques of the day including rapid montage. Lost for decades, Kinegusa found the film in his garden shed in 1971.

February 2
The Phantom Carriage 

This seminal 1921 Swedish horror film was directed by and starred Victor Sjöström, who also wrote the screenplay. One of the leading European filmmakers of the silent era, he returned to acting with the advent of talkies. This film was a major influence on Ingmar Bergman, who cast Sjöström in his 1957 classic Wild Strawberries. The figure of death who collects the deceased in his carriage would re-appear in Bergman’s landmark film The Seventh Seal.

April 27
Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary

The 2002 silent version of Bram Stoker’s iconic story. One of the world’s leading exponents of silent films, Winnipeg’s Guy Maddin produced Dracula for CBC television, starring Zhang Wei-Qiang as Count Dracula. Shot as a dance film featuring the Royal Winnipeg Ballet the film features traditional silent techniques including title cards. Not strictly black and white, special effects add colours to tint certain elements such as green bank notes,and blood. Produced by Vonnie Von Helmolt, with choreography by Mark Godden.

VOC Plays The Movies is introduced by Andrew Hunt, Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo.

Movies at 8 pm. Tickets $18/$5 eyeGO/$12 at door with Food Bank donation.

Comedy @ The Registry

Canada’s most exciting comics perform eight evenings over the season.

  • October 12 & 26
  • November 23
  • December 21
  • Jan 25
  • Feb 8
  • May 3
  • June 14

Starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets $25

Local Heroes

January 27
Great Canadian Songwriters

Juno-nominated Peter Katz, roots & blues wizard Sean Pinchin, soulful R&B vocalist Mike Todd, plus Rollo’s percussion and songs.

January 28
British Blues Vol II

Waterloo Region’s blues rock guitarist and vocalist returns with more pickings from the Golden Age of British Blues.

March 11
Plays Van Morrison

From Them to Now, with his blue-eyed soul vocals and multi-instrumental talents, the local blues artist pays his respects to Van the Man.

Concerts 8 pm. Tickets $22 advance/$25 at the door, taxes included

A Big Band Christmas
A Waterloo Region Record Books for Kids fundraiser with The Big Band Theory
December 15 & 16
8 pm. Tickets $25 taxes included

JM Drama Present
ActOne Play Festival

Submit your one-act plays by November 18 for the chance to have it workshopped, developed and staged. There will be a call for directors, actors, designers and stage crew in early 2017.
See details at

The Registry Theatre For Young Audiences 2016
Lightning Banjo Productions & The Registry Theatre present
The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends
based on stories by Beatrix Potter
adapted for the stage by Amy Neufeld

Following the success of her adaptation of the Cinderella story with Cinderella CEO, Amy Neufeld returns with her new stage adaptation of the beloved Beatrix Potter classic, featuring some of the region’s best community theatre actors.

December 1, 6:30 pm
December 2, 6:30 pm
December 3, 11am & 2 pm
December 4, 11am & 2 pm
Tickets $20/$15 for children 12 and under/$5 eyeGO

The Registry Theatre
122 Frederick St
519-745-6565 or

Tickets at Centre in the Square Box Office
phone at 519-578-1570, online at and at the door

(Featured image figer-style acoustic guitarist Tony McManus)