Magnus Theatre Presents Buying the Farm
Story by Ayano Hodouchi Dempsey, Photo by Warden Bémont

Always offering Thunder Bay’s audiences something different, Magnus Theatre will feature a March production that will be very different from February’s Huff, which was a dark, gritty tale of suicide and addiction.

Buying the Farm is a romantic comedy in two acts about a young real estate agent who approaches a third-generation farmer to buy up his farm for development. Add to that combination the elderly farmer’s young and smart great-niece, a city girl who has decided to make her life on the farm, and you have the perfect trio for some lighthearted comedy.

The playwrights, Shelley Hoffman and Stephen Sparks, actually met at Magnus Theatre in the 80s acting in a play, says artistic director Thom Currie. This is the couple’s first play (she is an award-winning TV writer and he is an established actor) and when they approached Currie with Buying the Farm, he immediately liked the humour surrounding the clash of rural versus city cultures (as well as old versus young) and also thought it would be “fun to bring it home for them,” he says. It’s not by accident that the old Scandinavian farmer in the play is named Magnus.

Two up-and-coming actors from Winnipeg, Olivia Ulrich and Tristan Carlucci, are taking the roles of the story’s two young protagonists, Esme and Brad, while the old patriarch Magnus will be played by Sandy Winsby, who was last seen at the Magnus Theatre last season in Miracle on 34th Street. “He’s a veteran of Broadway and the Stratford Festival; he’s been in North American theatre for decades and is a delight to watch on stage,” says Currie. “I was thrilled when he said yes.”

A co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the show is touring northern Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario before arriving in Thunder Bay for 20 shows between March 14 and 30. As always, there will be one pay-what-you-can performance; this time on March 24 at 2 pm. For dates, times, and ticket availability, stop by the Magnus Theatre box office, call 345-5552, or visit