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What is The Tale of a Town – Canada?
The Tale of a Town – Canada is a site-specific theatre and media project developed in collaboration with The National Arts Centre of Canada that is capturing the collective community memory of our country’s main streets, one story at a time, while preserving local heritage and promoting neighbourhood culture.
Touring across Canada in our storymobile (a.k.a recording booth on wheels) we’re gathering stories in small towns and big cities alike through scheduled and impromptu interviews with independent business owners, local heroes, community stakeholders, and neighbourhood residents. These stories inspire performance installations that take place in site-specific downtown locations created in collaboration with local artists and in partnership with presenting partners from across the country.
This national venture culminated in 2017 in a multi-platform celebration of the country’s main street culture, in commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
So far, we’ve interviewed over 3000 Canadians in over 150 communities across the country.
Where We’ve Been…
The Tale of a Town – Canada was launched in May 2014 at the National Arts Centre of Canada and then headed east to begin gathering stories and creating performances.
The Tale of a Town – Canada tour opened at the 2014 Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Halifax, then went onto PEI where it was presented by Harbourfront Theatre and Victoria Playhouse, followed by a production in New Brunswick with The Fredericton Playhouse, and in Newfoundland & Labrador through a partnership with The Arts and Culture Centres. Also in 2014, The Tale of a Town was presented in London Ontario with The Grand Theatre, and in Ottawa with The Shenkman Centre for the Arts, The Great Canadian Theatre Company and Arts Court, and at The Mimico Public Library, through a Toronto Arts Council strategic initiative grant.
In 2015, FIXT POINT received multi-year Ontario Trillium Foundation funding to bring The Tale of a Town to 24 communities in Ontario. Storymobiles toured to 8 towns in this province, as well as to Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to gather stories and present performance installations with presenting partners from across the country.
In 2016, The Tale of a Town toured to Prince George, BC with Theatre NorthWest, then boarded a ship with Adventure Canada to gather stories in Nunavut, and opened the season at the Yukon Arts Centre, before making its way across to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – completing our tour of The Tale of a Town to every province and territory
in Canada! Meanwhile our second storymobile continued its Ontario tour, with stops in Hamilton, Oakville, Mississauga, Mississippi Mills, Midland, and Penetanguishene.
2017 marked the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and we took part in the festivities, with a storybooth set up in Ottawa’s Inspiration Village. Over four months, we interviewed over 600 people from across the country. We travelled along Highway 11 in Ontario – from Toronto all the way up to Atikokan – and kicked off a nine-city tour across the country with our culminating show – The Tale of a Town Canada.
Where We’re Headed…
Our storygathering work continues into 2017 and beyond with The Living Archive, a future-facing project that builds upon The Tale of a Town while expanding its scope. As we define what “community” means to us in 2017, and articulate our visions for the future for our communities, this participatory initiative will strive to give voice to how, together, we can create a more inclusive Canada in the future.
Why are we doing this?
Because Main Street Matters
We want to inspire people to head back to downtown and remember why main street matters; how supporting small business can make a big difference in a community; and what local pride really means to Canadians.
Because it Brings People Together
The Tale of a Town is a vehicle for public engagement and audience development, connecting people with their past through our innovative approach to the gathering and retelling of stories that has received critical acclaim for its high artistic merit and social relevance.
Because It Works
The Tale of a Town has been recognized by industry professionals, civic, provincial and federal governments and leaders in community development as a significant and valuable piece of cultural preservation. The Tale of a Town is an effective tool to connect with stakeholders across disciplines, helping to facilitate new conversations and create new partnerships.
Because Canadian Stories Matter
Across Canada, countless main streets, along with the stories they hold, are in the midst of disappearance as old gives way to new, local gives way to global, diversity gives way to uniformity, and life gives way to death. It is our hope that The Tale of a Town will save the almost lost stories that reveal our past and inspire a bright future for our main streets in Canada.
The Tale of a Town – Canada is created and produced by FIXT POINT, a not-for-profit theatre and media company based in Toronto, Ontario, with a mandate to inspire audiences to imagine change.
FIXT POINT is led by husband and wife duo Charles Ketchabaw (Managing Director) & Lisa Marie DiLiberto (Artistic Director).
To find out more about FIXT POINT, check out our website: www.fixtpoint.com
Making this ambitious undertaking possible is a remarkable lineup of national and provincial partners without whom this project would not be possible.
We have also received invaluable support from presenting partners in each province, whose support has been instrumental in making this dream a reality.
NS: Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Halifax)
PEI: Harbourfront Theatre (Summerside) & Victoria Playhouse (Victoria-by-the-Sea)
NB: Fredericton Playhouse (Fredericton)
NL: Art & Culture Centre (St. John’s)
SK: Curtain Razors (Regina)
AB: Esplanade (Medicine Hat)
BC: Theatre NorthWest (Prince George)
MB: Manitoba Arts Network
NT: City of Yellowknife – Heritage Committee (Yellowknife)
NU: Adventure Canada
YK: Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse)
ON: Arts Court, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Shenkman Arts Centre (Ottawa), First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, Suitcase in Point (St. Catharines), Cobalt Connects (Hamilton), Ontario 400 (Northern Ontario), Grand Theatre (London), Toronto Arts Council, Mimico Centennial Library, Gibson House Museum (Toronto), Kick ‘n’ Push Festival (Kingston), Sundown Theatre (Kincardine), Edge of the Woods Theatre (Huntsville/Muskoka),Town of Oakville (Oakville), City of Mississauga (Mississauga), Festival Players (Prince Edward County)