MORRISBURG – It’s so much more than a big fish story soon to hit the Upper Canada Playhouse stage, which is continuing its summer season with another Norm Foster hit.

The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby opens Sat., Sept. 8 (with preview nights Thurs., Sept. 6 and Fri., Sept. 7).

Foster is not only an audience favourite at the playhouse, but is also Canada’s most-produced playwright, who according to Donnie Bowes, UCP’s artistic director, “always looks at life with a comic eye, creating characters and situations that reflect the lives and predicaments of everyday people.”

The noted playwright’s latest offering takes audiences to the little community of Kooshog Lake, where the locals are prepping for the annual fishing derby, with participants looking to catch a famous fish that has eluded them for years.

Legend has it that the big fish was not only a match for any and all who attempted to land it, but also had a striking resemblance to a local high school shop teacher known as Hollis McCauley.

AnnaMarie Lea (clockwise from left), Marshall Button, Linda Goranson, Katie Ryerson, and Warren Bain star in the Upper Canada Playhouse’s latest production, The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby. Press Photo – Uhrig

The derby’s prize money has grown through the years, and the town is invaded with visitors casting their lines for the winnings.

James Bell, a young city slicker whose car breaks down in town, is forced to spend the weekend, soon finding himself caught up in the event drama with a colourful troop of wise and witty locals.

Sienna is owner of the local grocery store, where the front porch serves as the town’s popular meeting place. Kirk, who owns the bait and tackle shop, is the guy who almost caught Hollis McCauley before it escaped his grasp 23 years earlier, and Rhonda is the proprietor of several small businesses in town.

Melanie, meanwhile, is a young lady who recently left the hustle and bustle of the big city behind.

It’s a weekend filled with intrigue, adventure, romance, and hilarity as the entertaining fishing tale unfolds.

The play’s cast is led by Marshall Button, known to local audiences and to others throughout Canada for his portrayal of the hilarious and insightful New Brunswick millworker, Lucien.

Button puts on a new hat this time around, playing Kirk, one of Kooshog Lake’s oldest and most colourful residents.

Linda Goranson, whose previous appearances at the playhouse has included roles in The Cemetery Club, Steel Magnolias and A Nice Family Gathering, features as Sienna, and is joined by Anna Marie Lea as Rhonda, the village’s lively entrepreneur. Lea has starred in countless UCP shows, and also produces Cow Patti Theatre Company, which got its start in Cornwall as a dinner theatre, and is now a thriving company in Alberta.

Rounding out the cast is Warren Bain, who stars as James Bell, and Katie Ryerson, who plays local antique storeowner Melanie Morningside. (Of note is the fact that Bain and Ryerson recently got engaged in real life.)

“Foster never fails to entertain audiences with shows that are filled with humour and heart,” Bowes said. “The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby promises to do the same for playhouse audiences.”

For tickets or more information, visit or call the box office at 613-543-3713.