The making of The Philanthropist: Part 4

Photo: Francis Fontaine

Michael Bourguignon plays the role of Jeffery Hale in his later years.

As the The Philanthropist’s August 24 opening night is almost here, we wanted to check in with Mike Boden again to see if he had anything he might want to share with our readers.

“It’s been a two-year process and we are in the crunch period, putting all of the pieces together. We’ll be going right down to the wire. I must admit, I have the jitters,” he confessed, “but I just can’t wait to see it come to life on stage and screen.”

Boden hasn’t got much longer to wait, but exactly how will he measure the success of this venture? The number of people who attend? The quality of the show? “I asked myself the very same questions the other day,” he pondered. 

“But as my colleague Richard Walling reminded me, it doesn’t really matter because we have succeeded in engaging the whole community in the process. All I can do is add to his wisdom by saying ‘que sera sera’”.

As promised, Boden chose this moment to reveal the names of two very significant members of the cast. “I’m excited to tell you that Mark Lepitre, who also the production’s costume designer, will play Jeffery Hale’s brother Edward. His character will narrate the production.”
Mark Lepitre plays the role of Jeffery’s brother Edward Hale, who narrates the production of The Philanthropist. Photo provided by Jeffery Hale Partners 

And just who will play The Philanthropist himself? (drum roll please).... “Michael Bourguignon will be Jeffery Hale in his later years. He’s perfect for the part because he brings an air of refinement and confidence and more than a dash of flair to Hale’s stage incarnation. With these two Quebec Art Company veterans in the cast, there’s no doubt, it’s going to be one ‘Hale’ of a story.”

Boden was also pleased to announce that June Bridgeman, secretary of the Friends of The Woodbury Park Cemetery where Jeffery Hale is buried, will be flying over from England especially for the show. “I have worked closely with June over the past few years on the various activities surrounding the 150th (anniversary of the founding of Jeffery Hale Hospital). She is a fascinating woman who is dedicated to preserving Jeffery Hale’s memory.”

“June was instrumental in making the restoration work of Jeffery Hale’s gravesite happen,” Boden continued. “In the eyes of the Jeffery Hale Foundation, that is also funding this project, it is a great honour that she will be attending The Philanthropist.”

In fact, Boden can’t get over the community support for this creative venture. “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am overwhelmed by the passion and devotion by everyone involved. There are so many people to thank: the outstanding volunteers in cast and crew and beyond; our community foundations, including the Citadel Foundation for their matching donation of ticket sales for suicide prevention initiatives in honour of the late young actor in the production, Alexander Huard.

“This project is aptly named The Philanthropist because it’s been all about giving,” affirms Boden. “Even the St. Lawrence Lions hockey team will be able to raise funds for their cause by running the cash bar prior to each presentation.  I’d like to send out my thanks to coach Mike Labadie at the college for his cooperation.

“And last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph for having published this making-of series,” Boden concludes. “Hope to meet many QCT readers at the show!”

Buy your tickets ($15 each) at or call Kathleen Poulin at 418 684-5333, ext. 1384.