The family of actor Paul Cowling settled in PEI from Scotland
Actor Paul Cowling is performing this summer at Watermark Theatre in North Rustico. This is his first time on the Island, but he has roots that go a ways back.
“My mother’s family came to the Hunter River area from Scotland sometime in the mid-1800s, around 1839,” Cowling says. “My great-great grandfather, Farquhar Beaton, and his wife Flora, settled in that area. A land lease shows he was given 100 acres on the Old Princetown Road. He had 8 children, one of whom was Malcolm, who was my great-grandfather. Malcolm in turn had 22 children, most of whom were also born in Hunter River. My grandfather, Bentley, was among them.”
Cowling says he met many of his grandfather’s siblings. “The Beatons were, and still are, very close to each other. They are also very good musicians, and play fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo. When my great grandfather moved his family to Saskatchewan, he became well-known for his musicianship, winning old time fiddle contests around the region. This love and ability to play music was passed on to all of his children, and growing up I remember many, many kitchen parties that would go on long into the night. So, I hope to have a chance to go to the ceilidhs on the island, to listen to the music and relive those childhood memories.”
Paul is also a musician, learning the guitar in his early teens. “The Beatons all played by ear, and I was lucky enough to inherit whatever gene that was myself. Sadly, I contracted Lyme Disease several years ago, and it’s affected my hand. So, I haven’t been able to play since. I’m starting a new treatment in the fall, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to play again soon. My mother always said that the Beatons have music in their blood, and I do miss not being able to pick up the guitar from time to time.”
“I feel like I’ve been given a gift,” says Cowling. “Here I am, in the home of my ancestors, working on two fantastic shows with an enormously talented and wonderful group of individuals.…I can’t think of a better place to spend the summer. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a chance to do it again someday.”
Paul Cowling is performing in two shows at the Watermark Theatre this summer” Dial M For Murder, and A Moon For The Misbegotten. Both shows run all summer to September 1.