Grand Theatre presents "Comfort and Joy"

A FREE virtual holiday show 
in support of London Food Bank

December 1, 2020 – London ON  - Families’ tradition of coming to the Grand Theatre each holiday season will be kept alive (virtually) this year as the theatre presents Comfort and Joy  that will be streamed at 7 PM on December 22. Thanks to the generous support of Title Sponsor Canada Life and Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group, the show will be offered at no cost to anyone wishing to tune in.

“On this Giving Tuesday, we consider Comfort and Joy our gift to our city and the many frontline workers who continue to inspire us. It is our hope that on December 22, folks will be able to gather virtually or in their bubbles, take a breather from holiday preparations, and enjoy some holiday entertainment,” noted Dennis Garnhum, Artistic Director of the Grand.

The Grand will be asking for voluntary monetary donations to the London Food Bank, a tradition that has seen audiences donate over $290,000 to the Food Bank over the past three seasons. 

“The need is greater than ever before to help folks who need a little kindness. We may not be able to ask our audience members in person this year, but we know that what we will present virtually will entertain, inspire and encourage people to donate and support this important cause in our city,” said Deb Harvey, Executive Director.

Along with Dennis, three other directors will share the duties of presenting a 45 minute show full of holiday songs, stories, music and memories: Megan Watson-Artistic Associate of the Grand who directed the previous two holidays musicals on the Spriet Stage; award-winning actor, singer and artist Vanessa Sears; and Andrew Tribe, Artistic Director of Original Kids Theatre Company and Director of Titanic the 2019 High School Project.

Guest artists taking part include Jan Alexandra Smith whom Grand audiences will remember in roles such as Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol from 2018 and Johanna Donnelly in Vigilante, and Amaka Umeh who was to star in the titular role in Hamlet at the Stratford Festival this past summer. Guest musical directors participating include Matthew Atkins, musical director at Original Kids who made his Spriet Stage debut at our Un-Opening Night event in October, and acclaimed musical director/director/artist and educator Alexandra Kane. London musician Richard Gracious and his band ‘Bad Teeth’ are set to appear, and viewers can also expect a fun performance by some of our amazing High School Project students. 

“It wouldn’t be the holidays without young Londoners, and we are so happy have Hayden Baertsoen, Zoe Brown and Abigail Verhaeghe, sharing their talents with us in a special performance,” noted Dennis. “Londoners will recognize Hayden and Abi as the Banks children from last year’s Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, and Zoe Brown, a veteran of the theatres across Canada, including the Grand Theatre stages, Stratford Festival and Neptune Theatre.”

There will be many more surprises and inspiring performances.

“One of our goals with this production is to showcase our extraordinary city to those watching near and far. Viewers will see many iconic London locations, starting out at the Grand and travelling to places like Victoria Park, the Food Bank, Museum London, and the Thames River,” noted Dennis Garnhum. “We’ll also be travelling just outside the city limits as we visit Kettle and Stony Point First Nation to visit with the George family. John George, his four daughters and ten grandchildren will share their holiday traditions with us.”

More information on the holiday show, including how to register can be found at

About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud. 
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. The Grand is currently undergoing a $9 million renovation to its lobby spaces and backstage areas scheduled for completion in Spring 2021. The Grand announced the cancellation of its 2020-21 Season in June 2020 due to the global pandemic.

For more information please contact:
Suzanne Lanthier, Director of Audience Development
slanthier [at] (slanthier[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
519-672-9030 ext. 251

Jennifer Matthews, Communications Manager
jmatthews [at] (jmatthews[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)