Stella Murdoch as Clara, left, Phil Chin as Dr. Classen and Joe Kapatch as Mr. Sesemann rehearse a scene from Royal River Community Players’ “Heidi.” Contributed / Rob Faucher

Royal River Community Players brings the classic tale of “Heidi” to the stage next month in a “labor of love” dedicated to the play’s former director.

RRCP newcomer Vanessa Glazier will direct the show, about a joyful young girl who wins over her reclusive and resentful grandfather when she is sent to live with him in the Swiss Alps. Glazier said she’s happy to be directing the beloved story of optimism and hope, but it’s also bittersweet.

Originally intended to premiere in 2020, the RRCP production of “Heidi” was put on pause for the pandemic. When quarantining lasted longer than anticipated, Executive Director Chris Sullivan promised the cast and crew they would do the show as soon as they could.

Then, tragedy struck. The play’s director, Emily Rowden Fournier, co-founder of the Recycled Shakespeare Company in Waterville, died in a whitewater rafting accident in July 2020 at age 32.

“A child went overboard, and Emily saved the child but didn’t make it,” Sullivan said.

“Heidi” director Vanessa Glazier said she hopes to do the show justice in Emily Fournier’s memory. Contributed / Royal River Community Players

The cast and crew are determined to make Fournier’s vision for “Heidi” come to life.


“It’s a labor of love,” Glazier said.

Glazier had a personal connection to Fournier. Growing up in the Waterville area, she sometimes helped to babysit her. As an adult, she worked with Fournier’s sister-in-law and later joined the Recycled Shakespeare Company to direct several shows.

“It means a lot to her mother that I’m able to step in and do this,” Glazier said. “I want to do it justice for the company and for her memory.”

RRCP invited all performers originally cast in “Heidi” to return for this year’s production, Sullivan said, and many have. As a theater “for all ages, by all ages,” the cast ranges in ages from 7 all the way up to seniors.

“I couldn’t ask for a better cast. I’m very happy with how things are going,” Glazier said.

“Heidi” will run from Feb. 2 until Feb. 11 at the Royal River Community Playhouse in Yarmouth. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at

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