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There is something about Prince Edward Island that fosters and attracts natural entertainers. We have among us talented children’s entertainers, such as Mike Pendergast and Teresa Doyle; musical groups, such as Barachois, that combine comic antics and folklore with rousing Acadian jigs and reels; and comic troupes, such as the Drill Queens and the ForPlay improvisational comedians.

Islanders in Emily of New MoonEmily
Martha MacIsaac is most famous for her role as Emily Byrd Starr, the title character in the CBC television series set and produced on Prince Edward Island, Emily of New Moon. The series filmed its third season in 1998. MacIsaac has competed in many Island music festivals and, in 1995, she was named “Best Performer” at the Queens County Music Festival. At age six she played one of the Avonlea children in a production of Anne of Green Gables at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. She has also performed in a stage production of L. M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle and played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. Martha’s face has also been frequently seen in a popular series of commercials promoting tourism in Prince Edward Island. As of autumn 1998, the thirteen-year-old had completed her third season of filming with Emily of New Moon.

The other Islander in the Emily of New Moon cast is Jessica Pellerin. Playing Emily’s best friend Ilse Burnley is not too difficult for Jessica. Her natural talent for acting aside, she is a close friend of Martha MacIsaac’s in real life. The CBC series is Jessica’s first television role.

Catherine MacKinnon and Don Harron
Catherine MacKinnonCatherine MacKinnon has been a busy and popular Maritime entertainer for over thirty years. Classically trained, she was a regular on CBC’s Sing-Along Jubilee and was in the cast of the Don Messer Show for two seasons. She has appeared on the Bob Hope show and has hosted her own television program. Most famous for her beautiful rendition of “Farewell to Nova Scotia,” MacKinnon has been awarded the Juno for top female vocalist and the Midem, an international recording award, for top record sales in Canada. In collaboration with her husband Don Harron, MacKinnon has spent her summers in Prince Edward Island, producing and performing shows that pack community halls and auditoriums alike. MacKinnon’s most recent project has been her Stanley Bridge restaurant, the Spot O’Tea, which serves traditional Maritime fare and Catherine’s specialty, potato fish cakes and beans.

Don Harron has made very significant contributions to arts and culture in Prince Edward Island. Perhaps his most acclaimed credit is his participation in co-writing the musical Anne of Green Gables; Canada’s longest-running musical. Harron’s alter ego, “Charlie Farquarson” has had numerous shows on the Island and has penned a number of humorous books.

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