Neptune Scotiabank Stage
Featuring Lee J. Campbell, Jeff Schwager, Laura Caswell, Lindsay Kyte, Ian Gilmore, Kiersten Tough and Chris Corrigan
Directed by Martha Irving, Stage Manager Hannah Burrows
Tompkinsville has now ended it's run at EFT. We were so happy to have this show, cast, crew with us for two weeks. Bravo to all.
Production Photo credit: Stoo Metz
What if someone told you you could have the life of which you've always dreamed?
All you have to do is live dangerously and create furiously — together. Once upon a time, a group of miners did just that.
The true story of a Cape Breton mining town transformed from despondency to independence thanks to a rebel priest's belief we can all become "Masters of Our Own Destiny."
Tompkinsville is the story of Father Jimmy Tompkins, Joe Laben and the credit union and co-operative movement.
“Tompkinsville is a remarkable feat, with plenty of heartbreaking, tender and laugh-out-loud moments. More than anything, it offers a profound reminder of the power of community and the human spirit.” The Chronicle Herald.
Tompkinsville, a stage play by Lindsay Kyte, is the story of Father Jimmy Tompkins, Joe Laben, Mary Arnold and the roots of the credit union and co-operative movement.
Ripe with East Coast humour, fierce with the fight for survival and uplifting with hope, love and faith in fellow man, Tompkinsville features original music naturalistically within. From rousing strike songs to soft lullabies to toe-tapping Cape Breton ditties, Tompkinsville’s music enhances Joe Laben’s quest to get a home for his family—leading him to become more than he ever dreamed he could be through the irascible Father Jimmy’s belief that together, we can do ten times what we think we can.
This is more than just a story to playwright/performer Lindsay Kyte. A third generation native of Reserve Mines, Cape Breton, where Tompkinsville takes place, and the real-life great-niece of Joe Laben, Kyte discovered this story in 2007 and realized it was the foundation of the reality she had always taken for granted.
An eight-year quest to develop this story for the stage has led to Kyte herself having to do and be more than she’d ever thought she’d have to – becoming a keynote speaker for the co-operative movement (TEDx), earning a Masters in Theatre from Paul McCartney’s school in England (Sir Paul himself gave Kyte her degree) and having Tompkinsville be the feature of a ½ hour CBC Radio documentary (“Journey to Tompkinsville”), a television documentary that she hosted (You can DO It!) and numerous interviews/articles across Canada.
After a highly successful tour across Ontario and Nova Scotia in 2015, Tompkinsville will be restaged and have a full production as part of Eastern Front Theatre’s 2016/2017 season. It will be directed by Eastern Front’s Artistic Producer Jeremy Webb, and features a cast of actors and musicians from across the East Coast (Lee J. Campbell, Jarrod MacLean, Kiersten Tough), as well as Laura Caswell, who spends so much time on Neptune’s stage she might as well be an East Coaster.
Hannah Burrows serves as stage manager and Cameron Smillie is Executive Producer. Kyte, who grew up singing at the church Father Jimmy once presided over, will be singing the original music of Tompkinsville, with Chris Corrigan on guitar, who was Rita MacNeil’s producer and guitar player.
The music was written by Nova Scotia’s Ian Sherwood, except for one song—“Herrin’ and Potatoes,” written by his grandmother, Winnie Prothero, who was also from Reserve Mines.
Presented in association with Go Fly A Kyte Productions
LINDSAY KYTE - Playwright, Musical Narrator, Producer
Lindsay Kyte is a third-generation native of Reserve Mines, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and the great-niece of Mary and Joe Laben, two pioneers of the social justice co-operative movement known as the "Antigonish Co-operative Movement." Kyte has written for stage, television, print, radio, web and more. She is also an accomplished performer, having appeared on stages across the globe, and has a Masters of Acting from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in Liverpool, England, founded by Sir Paul McCartney (who gave her her degree). Kyte has also hosted documentaries, worked as a broadcast journalist and serves as a key-note speaker (TEDx). As well, she is the Associate Editor of Lion’s Roar magazine. Lindsay Kyte is the Artistic Director of Go Fly a Kyte Productions and performs with its shows, dishing a little of her Cape Breton humour into every production. www.lindsaykyte.com
IAN SHERWOOD - COMPOSER
Everywhere To Go is Ian Sherwood's latest studio creation. Considered to be his best to date, it is chock-full of instantly appealing hooks and singable choruses while sitting comfortably in Sherwood's signature style of imaginative, narrative writing. Sherwood is a musician, storyteller and a constant creator. He has penned tunes for many other artists as well as for theatre, film and television. He was named “Contemporary Singer of the Year” by the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards, “Best Male Artist of the Year” by the 2012 International Acoustic Music Awards and was the 2008 and 2010 Music Nova Scotia “Musician Of The Year.” Bob Mersereau of CBC Radio, Fredericton described him as “a natural performer who entertains as much with his wit and stories as with his songs.” “Born enigmatic performer. Brilliant lyrics. Lightening quick wit. Top notch all the way.” Jeff Libery – Take Liberty, CBC Saint John
CAMERON SMILLIE - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Cameron wears many hats with over 25 years experience in both the corporate and performing arts world. In 1993 he co-founded the company – Live at the Hippo Pool Events Inc. with his partner Carolynn, which has the distinction of having presented more of Canada’s Ballet Jorgen engagements than any other presenter, over 30 at last count. In addition, Live at the Hippo Pool Events has worked with Ballet Jorgen Canada, Brampton Arts Council, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company and Ballet Kelowna. Cameron is also Business Manager for Juno Productions (Jake’s Gift), Executive Producer for Tompkinsville and Business Manager for Ted & Marion Outerbridge (Illusionists) He was named by the BC Touring Council as “Agent/Manager of the Year” in 2015.
MARTHA IRVING- DIRECTOR
An actor, director, and producer based in Halifax, Martha started her career in Prince Edward Island, working for the Charlottetown Summer Festival’s Lunchtime Theatre when she was 16. She studied theatre in the 3-year program at LAMDA in England and has since performed across Canada. A regular on the Neptune stage, Martha is also a co-founder and co-producer of LunaSea Theatre, creating theatre to highlight and foster the stories of women since 2007. For LunaSea, she has directed Half-Cracked: The Legend of Sugar Mary (premiere), Leaving Wonderland (premiere), The Donahue Sisters, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, and Woman and Scarecrow. Other directing credits include Anne and Gilbert (Harbourfront, The Guild, NAC), Fascinating Ladies - Young At Heart (premiere), Tough Case – Left Foot First (premiere) and Shakespeare on Trial - Off the Leash (premiere), and The Pirates of Penzance (Neptune Youth Performance Company). She has been nominated for numerous Robert Merritt Awards as both an actor and director, winning Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (female) in 2014 for her work in LunaSea’s production of Ghosts and the Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre in 2011. She was voted Best Halifax Actor (Female) in The Coast’s Best of Halifax Survey in 2006. She is soon to direct a staged reading of Lisa Cochrane’s Well Heeled for LunaSea before heading to Tompkinsville and exploring Cape Breton’s rich co-op beginnings.
HANNAH BURROWS - STAGE MANAGER
Hannah is delighted to revisit Tompkinsville with this talented team! Recent SM credits include:Goodnight Desdemona, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight, Mass Appeal, Marion Bridge (VST); Tightrope Time, Settling Africville (San Family); Marion Bridge(Neptune/VST); Leaving Wonderland (Lunasea);Contribution, Tribe of One (Doppler). As ASM: 7 seasons with Neptune, favourites include Stones in His Pockets, Shrek, Rexy!, Mary Poppins, Comedy of Errors, Sweeny Todd, La Cage.
She has also worked with Ship’s Company, Eastern Front, HTYP, Live Bait and Forerunner. Hannah is a graduate of Mount Allison University.
LEE J. CAMPBELL - ACTOR - "Father Jimmy Tompkins/Mine Manager"
Lee J. has been acting for some time now, as you can likely tell from the photo. Favourites include some years spent with the Mummer's Troupe of Nfld.,A Ship Portrait in Parrsboro, NS,The Drawer Boy at ATF, The Gin Game at VST and co-founding Shakespeare In The Ruins in Winnipeg.
This is his second time as a priest, having played one in Mass Appeal at VST (maybe there's a new career in the offing). He also teaches emerging actors in Neptune's FIT program. Best of all, thanks to Kit and son Shaylor, he is the proud "Grumpy" of twins Kestrel and Larkin and baby Sage. Cheers.
LAURA CASWELL - ACTOR - "Mary Laben"
Laura Caswell was born and raised in Ottawa where she fell in love with dancing, singing and theatre. She trained in New York (AMDA) and went on to earn a Masters in Performance in London, UK. Laura has studied many performance styles including puppetry, improv, stand-up comedy and cabaret. Laura has had the pleasure of working at Neptune Theatre for the past seven seasons, earning a Merritt nomination for her portrayal of "Miss Andrew/Bird Woman" in Mary Poppins.
Upcoming Laura will be developing her Carol Burnett tribute show in Toronto with Smile Theatre. Laura is also the co-producer and curator of the Open Stage Halifax series at the Carleton. #openstahalifax lauracaswell.com
IAN GILMORE - ACTOR - "Dancin' Archie Devison"
After a seven year hiatus, Ian is thrilled to be returning to the theatre world with Tompkinsville. Past credits include 15 seasons with Neptune Theatre in shows such as Cats, Chicago, West Side Story, Gypy and White Christmas. With training from the Canadian College of Performing Arts in B.C., Ian has performed from Dawson, Yukon, to Stephenville, Newfoundland, and beyond.
Above and beyond performing, Ian has added director, choreographer, designer, writer, teacher and voice over actor to his credits. Thank you to Go Fly a Kyte Productions for this wonderful opportunity to help bring this fascinating story to life! Slainte!
JEFF SCHWAGER - ACTOR - "Joe Laben"
Jeff is an award-winning professional actor based in Dartmouth, NS. He has worked with regional theatre companies across Canada, but has called Nova Scotia home for the past nine years. Selected credits: Constellations (Keep Good Company), Liberation Days, Mary Celeste by Fire, The Tempest, As You Like It, The Crucible (Two Planks), MacBeth (WillPower),
Messenger (Eastern Front), Shakespeare on Trial (Off the Leash), Tom Smith’s Stupid Xmas (SBTS); Ghosts (LunaSea); Venus in Fur, The Motor Trade (Festival Antigonish); The Comedy of Errors, The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, Intimate Apparel - Merritt Award, Peter Pan (Neptune). Jeff will be teaching with The Fountain School of Performing Arts in the new year, and will next appear on-stage in ART with Neptune Theatre.
KIERSTEN TOUGH - ACTOR -"Kathy Ann Devison/Mary Arnold"
Kiersten is director and actor who graduated from Dalhousie University’s Acting Progam. She has performed with Theatre New Brunswick, Mulgrave Road Theatre, Two Planks and a Passion, Live Bait Theatre and Eastern Front Theatre. She was an ensemble member of the acclaimed Halifax physical theatre company Zuppa Theatre Co. She has studied clown with Philippe Gaulier and Mump and Smoot. Since moving to Toronto she has created and performed Lear’s Shadow and Hellooo for The Cooking Fire Theatre Festival in Dufferin Grove Park and co-created and performed in Stranger Theatre’s Hanging of Franciose Laurent, at Summerworks (2010) and the Blyth Festival (2011). She has been a lead artist at Arts4All since 2011. Kiersten was assistant director on Jumblies Theatre’s Like an Old Tale in 2011 and directed Arts4All’s I Was A Brave Child, a multi-media celebration of a community radio play in 2013. Last spring she was a director/mentor for the Resident Company of The Paprika Festival at Theatre Passe Murraille and directed a series of short plays for Workman Arts in the spring 2014. Most recently she co-directed Humber Theatre's third year production This Side of Heaven.
CHRIS CORRIGAN - GUITAR
Raised in Edmonton, Alberta and based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
For the Charlottetown Festival: Canada Rocks!, Evangeline, Hairspray, Disco Cirque, British Invasion, Canada Rocks!, 18 Wheels, Fire, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline. Other: Has toured and recorded with Lennie Gallant, Rita MacNeil, Mary Jane Lamond, Natalie MacMaster, Nathan Wiley, Thom Swift. Recipient of ECMA 2006 “Musician's Achievement Award.”