Tom Thomson & The Colours of Canada, the musical in ragtime inspired by the writings of Roy MacGregor, hits Barry’s Bay on August 15 as the final stop on its tour of Eastern Ontario in support of local hospitals. This performance will benefit St. Francis Valley Healthcare Foundation and will be the final stop on the company’s nine-community tour that began in Rankin in April. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug.15, the show will be performed at the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre (the arena). Admission is $40 plus HST and tickets can be purchased online at www.stonefence.ca or at the door for $45, including tax. Above: Winnie Trainor (Sarah Wright), the presumed fiancée, and Tom Thomson (Nigel Epps) stroll together. Photo courtesy of The Eganville Leader.
Last year, the company launched this musical, which Theilheimer wrote in musical collaboration with jazz pianist Peter Brown, who is well known to Ottawa music fans. Directed by Chantal Elie, the play chronicles the life and death of Canada’s most famous artist as seen by local people.
“One of the things our company likes to do is support local hospitals,” said its producer, Ish Theilheimer. “We’ve had some big turnouts at the arena in the past, and we hope for another one.”
In the show, Nigel Epps plays Tom Thomson, and Sarah Wright plays his presumed fiancée Winnifred Trainor, of Huntsville. Featured Stone Fence actors include Ambrose Mullin, Rob Tremblay, Jayson Bradshaw,Shirley Hill, Beverly Lews, and Kirk Harber, with Virginia and Marianne Mallen. Before the show, audience members can enjoy pre-show music by Jayson Bradshaw, a singer-songwriter and cast member who writes wry, contemporary songs, and by Peter Brown and Ish Theilheimer, who do a set of ragtime and swing.
The story of the play is largely based on the writings of author and journalist Roy MacGregor, who lives in Ottawa and was raised in Whitney and Huntsville, where he heard stories and speculation related to the Thomson saga throughout his childhood. He is related to some of the characters involved. “Roy’s books Northern Light and Canoe Lake really inspired me,” says Theilheimer. “And Roy, who I’ve known since we both worked for the Ottawa Citizen in the ’80s, encouraged me to read as many books about the Thomson story as possible, which I did. I still go with Roy’s interpretation, though.”
Stone Fence Theatre has been creating original musical theatre for 20 years. “Using a very collaborative approach, we develop original theatre that comes from and is about our community. Tom Thomson died in Algonquin Park, our backyard, and many people involved with our company have connections with the Park and Thomson’s art. We are very excited to be bringing this great Canadian story to so many communities and making contributions along the way,” he said.
Tickets for all shows at all locations are available online at www.stonefence.ca or by phoning the box office: 613-401-1497 or TOLL-FREE 1-866-310-1004.
Theilheimer,I.(2023,Aug.3) Stone Fence Theatre’s Tom Thomson tour to make final stop in Barry’s Bay to raise money for local hospital [media release]