Croft Talks LIVE - S2E5 - Musical Greatness

March 1, 2017

MusicCounts Teacher of the Year focus of Feb ‘Croft Talks

This has been quite the month for local music teacher Dianne Winmill. Years of working tirelessly to share her passion for music finally got noticed and life has been hectic ever since.

In late January, the news broke that Winmill had been named “Music Teacher of the Year,” by MusiCounts, the Canadian music charity associated with the Juno Awards. And while the moniker was a great one to receive, the award comes with more than bragging rights.

Winmill personally receives $10,000 and she also scored $10,000 in prize money for North Hastings High School where she has been teaching and inspiring students for 16 years. In addition to the cash award she’s done countless media interviews, she’s met her favourite band, Blue Rodeo, and she’s going to the 2017 Juno Awards.

On Feb. 24 Dianne Winmill will be the featured guest on ‘Croft Talks and the show’s team is excited to keep the celebration going for this local educator.

“We’ve always loved working with Dianne and her students so we were thrilled with this recognition from the folks at MusicCounts,” says ‘Croft Talks host, Barb Shaw. “This show is going to be a chance for Dianne to tell us all the other stories associated with this fantastic adventure. From a shout-out from Blue Rodeo at their sold-out Toronto concert to recording with her students at Blue Rodeo’s studio, this experience has been full of big-heart moments.”

The show will also include a segment with some of the Royal Conservatory students that went to Toronto with Winmill to record music and an interview with Village Playhouse March Break Camp artistic director, Mary Ann Conlin. Conlin, a former student of Winmill’s, will share her experiences as she went from student to co-collaborator with Winmill on this latest musical theatre offering.

“This is a show about celebrating someone who probably never expected to be celebrated,” Shaw explains. “This will be a night of telling stories about the award, the impact of musical education and also, a chance for the audience to share their stories.”

‘Croft Talks will be expanding the Q&A time at the end of the show in hopes that everyone who was inspired by Winmill might join in the live celebration with stories and best wishes.

“This is such a profound recognition for Winmill and for Bancroft,” Shaw says. “Celebrating the special people who make a difference is what this show is all about.”


‘Croft Talks LIVE - S2E3 - Trail Blazers

November 30, 2016

Trail blazers share ideas on ‘Croft Talks

Trail blazers will fill the stage of the Village Playhouse on Nov. 29th for a very special episode of ‘Croft Talks LIVE.

“This will be our tenth show so the line-up is stacked with guests that have ideas and stories to share,” says host Barb Shaw. “I expect lots of audience participation with such interesting guests. How could you not want to chat with these people?”

First-up on the 29th will be Dave Naulls and Peter Whitehead, co-chairs of the Eagle’s Nest Interpretive Trails Project. The co-chairs and their project team have been working away to create a new trail between Clark Lake and the Eagle’s Nest. With a focus on natural ecology and First Nations, there is also a memorial component planned for the new trail.

“This is a big project – one that our community needs to know more about,” Shaw says. “Both Peter and Dave are passionate about this project, it hasn’t had much press attention and I think they will have some important stories to tell.”

Building on the theme of going a bit deeper into interesting local stories, Bancroft Councillor Bill Kilpatrick will also be on the show to talk about his recent proposal to have the municipality take a look at the idea of backyard farming. A majority of Council members shut down the research but Kilpatrick has pushed on with momentum from the community.

“Bill has been building support for this idea in the community so I’m really looking forward hearing more about this hot-button issue,” Shaw says.

Returning to the show for a look at the big and the should-have-been big stories of 2016 and a look ahead at 2017 is former broadcaster and politician Nan McGhee.

“Nan has such a feel for all things Bancroft so getting her back on the show to talk about what to watch for in the year ahead will be a real treat,” Shaw says.

All guests will form one big panel at the end of the show to take questions from the audience and no doubt, from each other.

“This show is growing in a really organic way with more and more community members recognizing that this is a fun and interactive way to share our stories, culture, ideas and beliefs,” Shaw says. “With November’s guest list, I feel like we might also be making some exciting news in the process.”

‘Croft Talks LIVE runs at the Playhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 7 – 8:30pm. Doors and bar at 6 and admission is only $5. Proceeds to the Playhouse Repair Fund.


‘Croft Talks - S2E2 - Halloween Special

October 26, 2016

Scary Halloween special planned for ‘Croft Talks

If your lights are flickering it might be more than a warning from HydroOne and according to ‘Croft Talks guest Rita Marie Browning, a local psychic medium and ordained metaphysical minister, it might just be spirit sending you a message.

Browning is booked to appear on the ‘Croft Talks Halloween special at the Bancroft Playhouse on Oct. 25 where she and others with special gifts and skills will talk about how spirit makes itself known to mortals all around the Bancroft Region.

Host Barb Shaw says she’s excited to have some fun with this theme – especially since she lives in a former funeral parlour.

“I’m not a ghosty person, but I’m looking forward to speaking with some experts who have personal experience with researching and communicating with things that go bump in the night,” Shaw says.

Joining Rev. Browning as a guest will be local Realtor Jody Didier.

“Most people know me as a Realtor or from the BBIA,” Didier said in an interview. “Fewer will know that I have made a study of the paranormal as a field researcher.”

Browning and Didier will be sharing stories of local experiences searching and researching spirit in homes and in local landmarks.

“There’s no shortage of people who have ghost stories about the Village Playhouse,“ Shaw says. “So who knows what kind of messages might be received during our live show!”

Shaw says she’s also excited to welcome back Lisa Star-Bickert to the show for a fun segment called “Ask a Wiccan.”

At this time of year when the growing stops and the earth goes back to sleep the veil between living and dead is the thinnest; this is when Wiccans celebrate. Star-Bickert hopes to offer some insight into this often misunderstood religious movement.

The live talk show will once again bring stories, laughs and surprises to the Village Playhouse on Oct. 25 at 7pm. Doors and bar open at 6pm and there will be a very special guest offering palm readings before the show.

“We’ve covered politics and religion in the past but I think this will be the scariest show yet,” Shaw says.

Tickets are $5 and available at the door.


‘Croft Talks - S2E1 - Art Schooled - Sept. 2016

October 4, 2016

‘Croft Talks welcomes artists to the stage

Live storytelling returns to the Village Playhouse on Sept. 27 with the launch of the second season of ‘Croft Talks LIVE. The talk show, hosted by Barb Shaw, brings notable locals to the stage to share their insights, stories and advice – all in front of a live audience. To tie into the local fall studio tour theme, Shaw is hosting three guests who are closely tied to the local arts movement.

“It’s fall, the leaves are changing and this is the season of studio tours,” Shaw says. “It just seemed like a great opportunity to hang out with some artists who inspire me and to get them to share some stories. Having the platform of ‘Croft Talks lets me share the experience and turn it into a bit of a celebration.”

Joining the ‘Croft Talks panel for the first time is photographer June Wells, the owner of Tin House Woodworking in Coe Hill. What started out as an idea to showcase and sell her husband’s eclectically crafted furniture has grown in just four years to an arts hub where Wells retails creations from 40 local artisans. She’ll be joining the panel to talk about the commercial side of art and the joy and struggles of making it all work in a rural community.

Also joining the panel is the creative force behind the successful Apsley Studio Tour, artist Molly Moldovan. For 24 years Moldovan has let the natural beauty of her Tallan Lake surroundings guide her abstract work. Add to the mix a great sense of political insight fused with a sharp wit and Moldovan will undoubtedly take the ‘Croft Talks audience on a fabulous behind the easel exploration of life as an artist.

The Sept. 27 show also welcomes Bancroft favourite, Arne Roosman who will share stories from his own, personal art adventures. Roosman has just completed a permanent installation on the upper balcony of the Bancroft Village Playhouse and so the show will also serve as a launch of this portrait of enduring love and commitment.

“I am so excited to spend time on the stage with Arne Roosman,” Shaw enthuses. “His stories are forever spinning in unexpected directions and this is a chance to get inside the mind of a master.”

‘Croft Talks welcomes art lovers to the Village Playhouse on Sept. 27 at 7pm. Doors and bar at 6 and the cost of the show is only $5. The show features a one-on-one interview with Roosman, the panel and time for the audience to ask questions. The show is recorded and released as a podcast but being there for the live taping is always more fun. The sketch that Roosman worked from for the new Playhouse mural will be raffled off with all proceeds to Hospice North Hastings.

“This show is live so you never know what’s going to happen or where we’ll end up by 8:30,” Shaw says. “It’s really quite a quirky production and I’m just so pleased that the Playhouse crew were kind enough to want it back for a second season.”


‘Croft Talks - Episode 7 - Meet the Press

April 27, 2016

Meet the Press at ‘Croft Talks

Get ready to turn the tables and ask your local press some tough questions at the April 26 ‘Croft Talks LIVE when local reporters and journalists are welcomed to Bancroft’s monthly talk show.

Each month a number of local folks join host Barb Shaw to talk about life in North Hastings. The un-scripted talk show is always an adventure for those in the audience as no one really knows what is going to happen in any of the different segments and this months’ show is no different.

Joining the ‘Croft Talks panel are Andreas Pandikiu from Moose FM, Kristena Schutt from The Bancroft Times and Jim Eadie from Bancroft This Week.

Award winning journalist Mark Bonokoski will also be joining the show for a very special one-on-one interview. Bonokoski will also stick around for the last segment of the show when the audience gets to ask questions.

“Having spent many years working in the media I’m happy to have these talented folks share their stories,” Shaw explains. “The work they do is tough and at times, thankless – especially in a small town. Each one of my guests has done some interesting things and they’ve all helped shape how we view the community that we live in.”

And Shaw says it’s a really big deal to interview Mark Bonokoski.

“Mark is well known for his punchy editorials but he’s also reported on some major international events during his lengthy career,” Shaw says. “He was on the ground when the Berlin Wall came down and he was the first Canadian journalist to arrive at the scene of the Lockerbie disaster. He’s got amazing stories to share with all of us.”

‘Croft Talks hits the stage at the Bancroft Village Playhouse on Tuesday, April 26 at 7pm. The show is always recorded and a podcast is broadcast a few days later. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds of ‘Croft Talks support the Village Playhouse Repair Fund.

‘Croft Talks LIVE is produced by Plan B Communications in partnership with the Village Playhouse. Meet the Press is sponsored by Sas and Derek.


‘Croft Talks Live - Episode 6 - The Greatest Debate Ever Told

April 1, 2016

Croft Talks tackles God

Croft Talks EPS 6Bancroft is a community that is rich with stories and each month, some of those stories are shared live on the stage of the Village Playhouse at The ‘Croft Talks. This month, a Christian, a Jew and an atheist will tackle questions about life the universe and everything as they participate in “The Greatest Debate Ever Told.”

Host Barb Shaw says the unscripted show is always worth attending.

“I invite community members to share their stories, their insights and then we get the audience to jump in,” Shaw says. “It’s really unpredictable which is why I think it ends up being such a rich experience.”

Guests for the March 29th show include Joey Shulman, Bill Kilpatrick and Rev. Lynn Watson and they can’t wait to debate the role of God in our lives and in our community.

Watson and Kilpatrick have been involved with the local monthly “Theology on Tap” event so they pitched the topic for ‘Croft Talks.

“I’m really excited to see how this panel answers the questions I’m working on,” Shaw says. “It’s going to feel like speed dating combined with ‘cards against humanity’ and there’s no telling where we’ll all be by the end of the show.”

This will be the sixth episode of “Croft Talks and Shaw says she likes how the show has started to evolve.

“Our audience is pretty loyal and they know the format,” Shaw says. “They pay attention, they shout out comments and they’re always ready to jump in with questions for the guests in our last segment.”

The talk show is a great way to go a bit deeper into the stories that matter to us and to our community. It’s outreach, learning and entertainment.

This month The ‘Croft Talks is sponsored by the Outreach Committee of St. Paul’s United Church. The show starts at 7pm but the doors open at 6:30. There’s a bar and tickets are only $5. All proceeds from the show go to supporting the Village Playhouse Repair Fund. The ‘Croft Talks is produced by Plan B Communications Consulting in partnership with The Bancroft Village Playhouse.

Anyone with ideas for upcoming episodes can get chat with Barb Shaw at the theatre on the 29th or they can send ideas to


‘Croft Talks 5 - Renegades of Business

February 25, 2016

Renegades of business share secrets of success on ‘Croft Talks

Ever wonder what it takes to launch and run a brewery? Or ever wonder what it takes to run a tattoo and body piercing studio? On Feb. 23 two of Bancroft’s renegade business owners will share their personal, behind the scenes stories with host Barb Shaw on North Hastings’ own talk show, ‘Croft Talks LIVE. For these local business owners, success is all about being different, taking risks and laughing along the way.

This month’s show features Bancroft Brewing Company owner Ray Krupa as well as Lisa Star-Bickert from Deuce Tattoos. Both of these local business renegades will dish the dirt on the realities of making a business work in Bancroft.

And while the Bancroft Brewing Company and Deuce Tattoo are not looking to attract the youth market, the rest of us might want to take some notes because joining the two business experts are Bancroft Youth Advisory Board members Jade McCarthy and Sam Riedl. These members of the YAB will be on the show to talk about a recent project called, “Beading Boredom.” The YAB looked at businesses around our community and then compiled a list of youth and family friendly spaces. Find out what they looked for and hear which businesses made the list.

Each month ‘Croft Talks tackles the big stories and the small stories and dives deeper into what these stories mean to our community. We cover anything of interest and add a bit of humour to keep each show flowing all from the stage of the Village Playhouse in Bancroft.

Tickets are $5 and will be available online at or at the door. All proceeds support the Bancroft Village Playhouse Repair Fund. Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7pm.

‘Croft Talks LIVE is sponsored and supported by Deuce Tattoos and the Bickert Family. “Croft Talks LIVE is produced by Plan B Communications Consulting in partnership with the Bancroft Village Playhouse and Hospice North Hastings. Our set was generously donated by Leon’s Bancroft. The show is taped live at the Playhouse and then released as a podcast.



‘Croft Talks LIVE - Legends of North Hastings - Jan. 26, 2016

January 27, 2016

Legends ready to answer questions at ‘Croft Talks LIVE


There are some people that just seem to be a foundational part of our community and three of them have agreed to join ‘Croft Talks LIVE host Barb Shaw on Jan. 26 at the Village Playhouse to talk about how they became legends in North Hastings.


The January line-up features local Funeral Director Tim Baragar and while many know Tim for the support, comfort and care he provides to those at difficult times, he’s moving into a new role as a political advocate.


Over the past year Tim has been doing interviews and spreading the word about the provincial Estate Assessment Tax. Newly rolled-out at the start of 2015, Tim has been getting some traction educating people and pushing the Wynne government to consider changes to the tax that targets people in their deepest moments of grief and despair.


Joining Tim Baragar to share stories is Nan McGhee. Nan will be making time in her busy travel schedule to share stories from her CJNH days, insights from her council adventures and she’s also going to give the audience a sneak peek into some of her current projects and plans.  


“I am really looking forward to interviewing both Tim and Nan,” says host Barb Shaw. “They are fabulous storytellers and they truly could each have their own show. I am also thrilled to have Joey Shulman returning for another visit. Joey was such a hit at the last show that we really needed him to come back – and thankfully he agreed! He’ll be doing a community update for us and joining everyone for a Q & A segment. I really think these three legends are going to deliver a great experience for our audience.”


‘Croft Talks LIVE is a monthly talk show hosted at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft. The show is recorded and released as a podcast but being part of the live, interactive show is something you don’t want to miss.


‘Croft Talks LIVE is sponsored this month by Deuce Tattoos and the Bickert Family and Marlow Bickert will be on stage to do the sponsor’s welcome. For those who don’t know Marlow, this future legend managed to steal the last show from the comfort of the audience with his tough questions and fabulous humour.


“Croft Talks LIVE is produced by Plan B Communications Consulting in partnership with the Bancroft Village Playhouse. Tickets are $5 and the door and the bar open at 6pm on Jan. 26.



‘Croft Talks LIVE - The Most Interesting Person in North Hastings

November 25, 2015

‘Croft Talks – The Most Interesting Person in North Hastings


What makes someone interesting? Is it notable when our friends and neighbours work quietly behind the scenes to create beautiful art? Is it interesting when they are wrapped-up in a National news story or is it more interesting when they share their laughter and joy with others?

On Nov. 24th ‘Croft Talks will invite three of North Hastings’s most interesting people to the stage to share their personal stories and to answer questions from the audience.

Join host Barb Shaw at 7pm at the Village Playhouse and get the full disclosure from three of North Hastings’s most interesting people.

Our panel includes local actor and business woman, Patricia Whitlaw. From life on the road to running a business from a house with no roof – nothing stops this geek in a skirt. She’s been a fixture in our local theatre for years but now she’s taking the stage to let us go behind the scenes into her tornado of a life.

Joey Shulman is a legend in these parts. Joining the panel, Joey is known lovingly as the gay Jew from Newfoundland. Joey has made a name in the community for producing fabulous theatre and raising funds for charity and now he’s running an art gallery out of his downtown Maynooth home. But there’s more to this former publicist than meets the eye. Find out how he almost left North Hastings to answer an Elliot Lake casting call.

Our final panel guest is none other than Dr. Rob Kamermans, the local doctor that has unapologetically become the face of Canada’s medical marijuana movement. From a booming practice to the police raid that saw him hauled off to jail, the small town doctor now struggles to run his community clinic. With the full support of his patients, friends and activists across the country, Dr. Kamermans is still fighting for the rights of his patients.

For this very special show our guests will be answering questions live from the audience and sharing the stories that make them some of the most interesting people in North Hastings.

‘Croft Talks is sponsored by Hybla Consulting Corporation. Our comfortable set is generously provided by Leon’s Bancroft. ‘Croft Talks is produced by Plan B Consulting and Hospice North Hastings.