The Bank Theater in Leamington will launch a series of ‘songs and stories’



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A new collection of ‘songs and stories’ featuring local artists will spread its wings in Leamington next week.

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Monarch Café is inspired by Nashville’s Bluebird Café series and features performances by local musicians and the stories of how they brought their songs to life at The Bank Theater in Leamington. The series begins on October 20 and will run until May 2023.

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“Audiences love it because they learn about the performers and the songs, and watch all the performers perform, while learning that artist’s song,” said Michelle Fortier, manager of Bank Theater in Leamington. “It was a real team effort to complete this series.”

Fortier said she floated the idea for this series in 2017 and 2018, but was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theater’s current president decided the time had come to bring it to life. The name Monarch Café comes from the theater’s former president, Ursula Tiessen.

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Performer Justin Latam is the Bank Theater’s new artist-in-residence for its Monarch Cafe series, featuring local musicians and the stories of their work. Photo courtesy of Bank Theater /Windsor Star

“This kind of performance is popular at venues and festivals and is often more in the country and folk vein,” the president said. John Moran. “Our twist will be that we won’t just feature country or folk, we’ll focus on bringing all genres of writers to the show.

Justin Latam will be the theater’s artist-in-residence for the series and he created the shortlist of performers for the inaugural event. It’s a program with a bit of folk, blues, jazz and rock by artists Karen Morand, Max Marshall and Martha Renaud.

The Monarch Café — Songs and Stories in the Round will debut Thursday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.) at the Bank Theater in Leamington. Tickets are $15 plus tax. Buy tickets or find information online at

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