Post by Nicole Milne, Associate Producer at The Great Canadian Theatre Company.
Have you lived in Ottawa all your life? Did you come here for university and decide to stay and make the nation’s capital your home? No matter how long you’ve been here, I bet could you tell a visitor where to find the best cup of coffee, greasy breakfast, Italian restaurant, florist, tailor or cold pint. Or maybe you can rhyme off the top 10 attractions or show someone where to see some great theatre. In fact, many of us would argue we could tell a good tale about this place, right?
But what was the city like decades ago, before social media replaced a casual chat with your local butcher or baker? When you knew the names of his children or what day her daughter was getting married. What was Ottawa like when the main streets were filled with local businesses run by local residents who lived in the community? Was life simpler then? Was it more challenging? Well, this December, The Tale of A Town invites us to remember.
The Tale of A Town is the brainchild of creative husband-and-wife team Charles Ketchabaw and Lisa Marie DiLiberto. They run a professional theatre and media company in Toronto called FIXT POINT. Thanks to sponsorship, funding, encouragement (and fierce determination) they began their cross-Canada tour, newborn baby in tow, setting out in their “storymobile recording booth” gathering stories through interviews with local stakeholders, heroes, business owners and residents in PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Now it’s our turn!
In mid-November they rolled into Ottawa, warmly welcomed by the local arts community and their presenting partners Shenkman Arts Centre, Arts Court Theatre and GCTC. The three partners introduced Ketchabaw and DiLiberto to their respective neighbourhoods of Orléans, Downtown and Wellington West, and it wasn’t long before FIXT POINT — collaborating with a team of local theatre artists — hit the pavement exchanging hot chocolate for real-life stories from local residents and businesses eager to share a bit of the living history of Ottawa’s main streets.
Fast forward to the creation process. For the past week the team of collaborators have taken your true stories and are turning them into an interactive, site-specific, multi-media performance piece. They’ll be performing at secret locations around Ottawa from December 4 to 6, giving you the chance to experience what life was like before things got so complicated.
Over the next week or so, we’ll be posting some of the stories that FIXT POINT has found along the way, as well as some trivia questions so you can test how well you know your neighbourhood.
In the meantime, here’s the trailer for the project:
Join us for The Tale of A Town. You never know … one of the stories might be about you!