On the Road
The Raven crew dusted off their costumes for a jam-packed mini-tour in Ontario. Our crew, Carlos Rivera, Jonathan Fisher and Patti Shaughnessy, reunited to perform 20 shows to schools around the GTA over the course of two weeks. On the road, they went to the “Hammer” (Hamilton) to visit Mohawk College to perform two shows for a very diverse crowd consisting of energetic college students, families with children, community members, college administration and faculty members.
The Great Mountain crew hit the road for another tour to visit schools in Stratford and Mitchell, Ontario before heading out to New York City.
This being our first visit to Stratford with The Great Mountain, we were excited to visit the schools to share this exciting new piece! Both the students and teachers were very engaged and attentive as we even had some non-blinking students right in the front row! They also encouraged an encore at the end of the show.
From January 25 to March 7, 2011, Red Sky’s newest work for family audiences, The Great Mountain, got off to a fantastic start on its inaugural tour to three provinces: Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. After an intense rehearsal period in Toronto, the cast and crew set off for Calgary and Medicine Hat, Alberta to begin the first public performances of this new family production. Our first show in Medicine Hat had us at the Esplanade Centre for two capacity house performances. Here, we met the wonderful Deborah Lloyd – Director of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education.
The Tono cast and crew have now all returned home after a five-city tour across Canada. Over the past few weeks, Red Sky has travelled from Ontario to Québec to the Yukon to Alberta and back! We saw and enjoyed so many corners of this wonderful country and experienced a number of different Canadian cultures and customs along the way.
After a busy week of school hopping in and around Toronto, the Raven crew headed west to share some trickster love with the good folks in Alberta and British Columbia. This past week saw us in Calgary at the Vertigo Theatre Y-Stage, where we were welcomed with open hearts and some very warm prairie hospitality.
After 144 performances, Raven has landed at last in Toronto. Our impressive five months on the road saw 62 communities, from urban centres to remote villages and everything in between. One of our final stops was on the isles of Haida Gwaii, where we spent a magical week. From Prince Rupert, we boarded the overnight ferry and checked into our berths. Seven hours to cross the Hecate Strait, and we arrived early morning in Skidegate, continuing our early morning path up to Masset, which lies on the northern shores of Haida Gwaii.
On the islands of Haida Gwaii, we saw ravens of such size as we’d never seen before. None was more special to us, however, than the white raven, memorialized in the Port Clements Museum. Either a genetic rarity or a bird from the time before Raven turned black, this bird held a particular magic over the people who knew him. The only one of its kind on these 1,884 islands, the white Raven was well known and beloved by the residents of Port Clements; so much so, in fact, that they erected this sign: CAUTION! WHITE RAVEN X-ING! Sadly, in 1997, this unique animal was electrocuted.
Very, very early one morning in May, the Raven cast was up before the sun, on the way to the airport. Our eventual destination: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, home of the University of Illinois and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. We had been invited to perform four shows over two days in one of the Center’s four main performance spaces – we were situated in the beautiful Colwell Playhouse Theatre, seating capacity of 674.
Another two months have flown by and Raven is still on the road. Red Sky spent March and April in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and British Columbia, visiting schools and venues including Kenyano College in Fort McMurray, Esplanade Theatre in Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw Cultural Centre in Moose Jaw, Festival Place in Sherwood Park, Port Theatre in Nanaimo, Max Cameron Theatre in Powell River, and Raven’s Cry Theatre in Sechelt.
Hot on the heels of Tono’s success at the Vancouver Playhouse as a featured highlight at the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, Raven also flew in to the Cultural Olympiad with performances on Granville Island for the Winterruption Festival; at the Britannia Community Centre for the Talking Stick Festival; and culminating with three days of performances at the beautiful Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, British Columbia.