Staging Our Stories

Gwen Shea Hall, Centre Wakefield La Pêche, Wakefield - October 28, 2019

The Gwen Shea Hall in Wakefield was host to an enjoyable evening of stories and music as the GVHS welcomed playwright and director, Janet Irwin to give a presentation on ‘Staging Our Stories’ – the challenges and the triumphs of bringing stories to a national stage, in particular the adaptation of local author Brian Doyle’s ‘Up to Low’ which played at the National Arts Centre last May 2018. Brian’s book originally published in 1982 and set in the 1950s, tells the tale from 12-year old Tommy’s point of view of a road trip to the family cabin up the line to Low, QC. Janet’s presentation included friends and colleagues who helped bring the play to life – stage actress Kristina Watt, music director and local musician Ian Tamblyn, Low historian Don Kealey and of course Brian Doyle himself. Included was the exhibit created by NAC Archivist Rob Vanderberg with assistance from the GVHS that was featured in the foyer of the NAC last May during the play's run. A highlight of the evening was a reading of a passage from the book by both Janet and Kristina accompanied by Ian Tamblyn on guitar. For those who missed seeing the play, this segment gave an idea of what they missed. In addition, the audience was treated to Kristina’s reading of two passages from Brian’s ‘Mary Anne Alice’ another of his novels which is Janet’s next planned adaptation. To the delight of many, Brian also brought with him copies of his ‘hot off the press’ new novel ‘Picking Berries’ and gave personalized book signings. Overall, a memorable and enjoyable way to spend an autumn evening locally.

Link of interest regarding the NAC 2018 production:
Theatre review: Up to Low has universal appeal

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