The Belle of Amherst


Starring Robin Hebb as Emily Dickinson

Directed by Jeremy Webb

Costume Designed by Emlyn Murray

Produced by The Belle Collective in association with Off The Leash Creative Ltd and Will Power Theatre

Based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson from 1830 to 1886, and set in her Amherst, Massachusetts home, the play makes use of her work, diaries, and letters to recollect her encounters with the significant people in her life – family, close friends, and acquaintances.

It balances the agony of her seclusion with the brief bright moments when she was able to experience some joy.

Robin Hebb sparkles as Emily Dickinson in Off The Leash‘s production of The Belle of Amherst directed by Jeremy Webb.
Fourth walls be damned—pull up a chair and a cuppa and tuck in to some of your friend Emily’s famous black cake. She talks a lot and gets lost in her own stories, but it’s all part of the charm of the non-linear existence of a writer.
We all know her poetry, but the woman behind it has remained a mystery until now. It turns out that Emily is more than a bit ridiculous. In the best way possible. Coming to terms with the fact that she is not, in fact, the Belle of Amherst, has served her well. Turning instead to perpetuating local rumours that she is an eccentric recluse, she has taken to dressing completely in white —bridal white— through every season. She retreats to the second floor whenever visitors come by, spying under the guise of social visits and real estate inquiries. She takes her post as a ghostly figure in the window quite seriously, and draws enormous joy from her idiosyncratic reputation.
(Brian Goodwin)
(Brian Goodwin)

To say that Hebb is captivating in her performance as Emily is simply an understatement. She is poetry personified. The entire performance is like spending an evening with your very best friend, just marvelling at her existence.

Together you will experience a full spectrum of emotions: laughter, curiosity, hope, disappointment, sorrow. The ease with which she transitions from storytelling to poetry recitation to enactments of conversations past is absolutely seamless. This, paired with subtle musical and lighting cues, sets a remarkable scene that goes by in an instant. You will be surprised when it’s already intermission and saddened when the time comes to say goodnight to your new companion.

It is entirely possible that your inner writer will awaken during the show.

Every sentence William Luce has written spins with energy, bringing Emily Elizabeth Dickinson to life. Her perspectives on the world, from the tender strokes of buttercup petals to her gentle recollections of her father, are replete with marvellous whimsy, painting pictures with her words that make you wish you’d thought to describe it that way first.


Belle of Amherst 1



The Belle of Amherst is available to come to your venue.

Load-in and set-up takes 4 hours. Belle travels with one actor and a stage manager. We tour with set, props, costumes. Strike takes 20 minutes.

We build our 25 lighting cues from your house plot with 5 specials. We build the cues and the SM will call the show to your operator.

We operate sound from a MacBook Pro, using Q-lab. The SM operates sound.

The Belle Of Amherst is a two-act play: Act One is 40 minutes and Act Two is 35 minutes.


“ The Belle of Amherst was a big hit with our audience. Our audience marvelled at Robin Hebb’s energy and command of the characters and script. The set is very minimalist, but effective, making this a great show for small venues.”
Troy Greencorn
Creative Director
deCoste Performing Arts Centre


Accommodation & hospitality

We require two hotel rooms (single occupancy, non-smoking) within a ten minute drive of the theatre.

If possible, schedule-permitting, we prefer to arrive the night before the set-up/ performance/strike day and depart the morning after the performance. However, if we are touring and at another venue the night before your booking, it is possible to load in, set up and perform in the same day.

We require a hot meal on the day of performance, for two people, prior to the show. A restaurant meal buy-out voucher is acceptable (value $25/person) or a meal at the venue itself.



The Belle Of Amherst has a sliding price scale, based on seating capacity of the presenting venue.

0-100 Seats                            – $1200 per performance

100-199 Seats                        – $1750 per performance

200-399 Seats                       – $2100 per performance

400 & above                           – $2500 per performance


Multiple performances will be negotiated. All prices subject to 15% HST in Canada.




To book The Belle Of Amherst, please contact:

Jeremy Webb

Off The Leash

Tel: 902 402 5733



How this all came about…

Robin Headshots-Desktop-0003Robin Hebb is an actor.

She raised the money to stage a production of “The Belle of Amherst” by William Luce  March, 2015 as an actor showcase at the beautiful Local Woman’s Council House, on Young Avenue in Halifax.

“The Belle of Amherst” is a one woman show portraying the life of Emily Dickinson.

After being challenged by actor/ director Jeremy Webb to get off her behind and create her own work,  Robin found “The Belle of Amherst.” Robin believes the play is rich in humour, power and character. It’s the perfect piece for an actor to sink their teeth into and with its 15 characters it’s the perfect little “show-off” piece for an emerging artist.

A week after receiving Jeremy’s challenge, Robin brought him the script and demanded he direct her in it and he agreed.

A minute later we convinced stage manager/ theatre artist Daniel Oulton to join the project and now there’s no going back.

With the initial run now over, Off The Leash Creative has added The Belle Of Amherst to it’s slate of productions. “It’s a beautiful piece,” says Producer Webb.  “I am delighted to offer it to venues in 2016-17 and beyond.”

Robin Headshots-Desktop-0004ROBIN HEBB

Robin is a professional actor based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Originally from Saint John New Brunswick, she received her training from Dalhousie University’s acting program where she was awarded the Richardson performing arts award for demonstrating artistic excellence and commitment to performing arts in the community. Since graduating in 2012 Robin has appeared on stage with LunaSea Theatre (Estate), at Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre in (Run for your Wife, Magical Mystery Munsch, Best of Broadway) and most recently at Neptune Theatre (The Comedy of Errors). She has also been involved in a workshop of 2b Theatre’s new work A Kind of Reminiscence.