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August 19, 2009
Great Voices at Fort York catapults Canadian history into theatre spectacle. Nightly events begin September 1 to September 6
  
From September 1 through September 6, Festival at the Fort presents Great Voices; a 90 minute site-specific theatrical collage of historical figures, including Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, Laura Secord and Susanna Moodie combined with campfires, songs, fireworks and food animating Toronto where the city began - Fort York.

Written by nationally known playwrights Rick Salutin and Dale Hamilton, Great Voices features performances by Billy Merasty as Tecumseh and Simon Richards as General Brock. Original music was composed by prolific songwriter James Gordon (Frobisher Bay, Mining for Gold) who will be singing some of the songs alongside Fort York's Honour Guard, and Fife and Drum Corps. Members of the Red Pepper Spectacle Theatre act as larger-than-life puppet guides within this epic Brechtian-style theatre experience produced and directed by Sid Bruyn.

Great Voices begins with the infamous brothers speech by Tecumseh, which brilliantly describes the Native colonial experience. Part of the audience watches and hears a dialogue between Tecumseh and General Brock heralding their alliance, a monologue by Laura Secord conveying American troop positions, and a monologue by Dolly Madison surveying the aftermath of the burning of the White House by the British. At the same time, the rest of the audience witnesses a play within a play that mixes stories with historical songs and original songs composed and performed by James Gordon, accompanied by actors and members of the Fort York Honour Guard, and Fife and Drum Corps. These songs and stories will be set around two large campfires while the audience is served portions of Native corn soup and corn bread.

The theatre event moves indoors to some of Fort York's historic brick buildings where citizens will recount their stories of common life in the 19th century. The audience then moves back outdoors to take part in a finale parade and fireworks with the Red Pepper Spectacle Theatre puppets.

Great Voices is the second installment of the Festival at the Fort, produced in association with the Friends of Fort York and Fort York National Historical Site with funding provided by Heritage Canada. In the lead up to the War of 1812 bicentennial in 2012, the Festival at the Fort will present audiences the history of Fort York and Canada in an innovative and theatrical way. Artists and companies confirmed in subsequent years include Videocabaret, Mixed Company and Clay & Paper Theatre.

Great Voices is an Equity Production taking place at the Fort York National Historical Site located at 100 Garrison Road, North East of Exhibition Place and west of Bathurst St. via Fort York Blvd. Great Voices tickets are $20 and are available in advance at TOtix.ca and at the venue the night of each performance. For more information call Access Toronto at 416-338-0338 or visit www.festivalatthefort.ca

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact: Shane Gerard, Senior Promotions & Communications Coordinator, SDF&A Communications Unit, 416-397-5711, sgerard@toronto.ca
Sid Bruyn, Great Voices Artistic Director and Producer, 416-530 4152, sbruyn@pathcom.net


 

 

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