100 Schools Tour Launches with Grand Theatre’s Production of Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Series Creator Susan Hammond
Written by Barbara Nichol
Directed by Dennis Garnhum


January 26 – April 21, 2018

LONDON, ONTARIO - January 25, 2018 — The Grand Theatre, the Thames Valley District School Board, and the London District Catholic School Board are thrilled to announce that the 100 Schools tour launches this week with the Grand’s production of BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS, directed by Dennis Garnhum.  100 Schools is a new program by the Grand Theatre that tours professional theatre to elementary school gymnasiums and auditoriums across London and the surrounding area at no cost to the schools.  The tour begins in the gym of St. Mary’s Choir & Orchestra Catholic School this Friday, January 26 with its finale on April 21 at Ealing Public School.

“We are so excited to make live theatre accessible to so many students: I believe theatre has the power to change lives when young people have the chance to experience it. And what better show to launch the 100 Schools program than with BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS? It’s funny, touching, and it explores the private life of this famous composer as told through the eyes of a young child discovering this mysterious man who lives upstairs,” said Garnhum.

The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB), the London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB), and the Grand worked together to confirm a schedule that will take BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS to 100 schools in the region, including homeschool groups and private schools (a full list is below). The initiative, which was announced a year ago, will see cast and crew hitting the road this week. 

“We have enjoyed a long-standing and positive relationship with the Grand Theatre, and TVDSB is committed to continuing our support for important cultural initiatives such as the 100 Schools tour,” said Laura Elliott, Director of Education for the Thames Valley District School Board, which supported the tour with a $10,000 sponsorship contribution.

“The London District Catholic School Board is excited to be one of the 100 Schools tour sponsors,” said Kelly Holbrough, Superintendent of Education. “This is an excellent vehicle to provide students with an opportunity to experience the world of theatre and see it come alive in their own schools. BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS is a piece that weaves Beethoven’s music into a drama that engages all ages in wonderful music and the life story of a genius composer. The 100 Schools tour will support and enhance the music programs in our schools.”

There will be two performances each day, Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays, with the first on Friday, January 26. Each morning, the tour starts with the cast and crew packing the set, props, and costumes into the official 100 Schools tour van donated by MacMaster Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC Ltd., departing to the first school, and loading in. The 3-person cast performs a lively music-filled 50-minute performance, after which the crew strikes the set, packs the van, and heads off to the second school of the day. It’s a routine that will be repeated 52 times during the tour. In all, the cast and crew will perform 119 shows to over 33,000 elementary school students, and travel approximately 3,000 kilometres.

“It’s an incredible undertaking to take this show to so many schools, one that would not be possible without the extraordinary commitment of both school boards,” said Deb Harvey, Grand Theatre Executive Director. “The community response to this program, combined with the fantastic level of support from many local partners, has enabled us to make this tour happen.”

BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS begins when an unruly Beethoven moves into the upstairs apartment of a Vienna home where there lives a particularly curious child, a role shared by High School Project alumnus Chris George (Christoph) and Amaka Umeh (Christa). “There’s a madman living upstairs,” the child writes to Uncle, played by London’s Mark Payne, “He’s uncouth, has a terrible temper, and howls! – his name is Beethoven.” Through a series of touching letters, Christoph or Christa come to understand the genius of Beethoven, the beauty of his music, and the depth of his emotion and talent. Based on true incidents in Beethoven’s life, the piece is dramatically underscored by 25 of the composer’s most beautiful excerpts including Moonlight Sonata, Für Elise, and the great Fifth and Ninth Symphonies.

Originally created by Canadian Susan Hammond as an audio production, BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS has been translated, distributed, and performed across the globe. 

BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS is on tour from January 26 to April 21, 2018. 

In addition to the tour, the production has a limited March Break engagement on the McManus Stage from March 12 to 17, 2018. Tickets are $15 (includes HST and CIF – prices subject to change) and are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street. During this one-week run, an ASL-interpreted performance will be offered on Tuesday, March 13 at 10:00 am. 

Recommended for ages 6+

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support sponsors and donors of the 100 Schools Project tour, including Lead Sponsor the Sifton Family Foundation; Program Sponsors Libro Credit Union, the Westminster College Foundation, TVDSB, LDCSB, Hassan Law, the Good Foundation Inc., as well as support from the Grand Theatre’s London Proud Club. 

About the Grand Theatre:
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub proudly located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original homegrown stories through COMPASS, a New Play Development Program. The Grand supports educational programming and youth mentorship such as The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a new community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools in 2018 at no cost. A not-for-profit regional theatre, the Grand produces and presents professional theatre on two stages: the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand’s season runs from September to May.

For more information please contact:
Kate Rapson, Communications Manager, Grand Theatre
krapson [at] grandtheatre.com (krapson[at]grandtheatre[dot]com) ~  519-672-9030 ext. 247

Richard Hoffman, Public Affairs Coordinator, Thames Valley District School Board
r.hoffman [at] tvdsb.ca (r[dot]hoffman[at]tvdsb[dot]ca) ~ 519-452-2000  ext. 20505

Mark Adkinson, Communication and Liaison Officer, London District Catholic School Board
madkinson [at] ldcsb.ca (madkinson[at]ldcsb[dot]ca) ~ 519-663-2088 x. 40015


Mark Payne Uncle
Chris George Christoph / Uncle
Amake Umeh Christa
Dennis Garnhum Director
Jennifer Goodman Designer
Suzanne McArthur Stage Manager


Mark Payne  Uncle
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (Selected): Godspell, The Fantasticks, Starbright Christmas (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia).  Other: Musical Director, Victoria Playhouse Petrolia (2012-present); M.Mus  (piano performance) University of Toronto; Co-Conductor, “Primus” Amabile Mens’ Choir; Musical Director, Church of the Ascension, London.

Chris George  Christoph / Uncle
For the Grand Theatre: PlayWrights Cabaret ('14, '15), High School Projects Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Twelfth Night, The Sound of Music. Theatre Credits (Selected): Little Shop of Horrors (Rainbow Stage); The Moblees Live! (Drayton); The Odyssey (Driftwood); Brave Hearts (Ryan Repertory); The Pillowman (Rarely Pure); Alice in Wonderland, Titus Andronicus, Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare by the Sea). Film and TV Credits (Selected): The Moblees (CBC); Ransom (CBS); Shadowhunters (Netflix); Reign (CW); Wholesome Foods I Love you, is that okay? (web).  Other: Graduate of the University of Windsor's BFA Acting Program (with distinction). www.chrisgeorge.tv 

Amaka Umeh  Christa
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (Selected): James and the Giant Peach (Young People's Theatre); Twelfth Night (Classical Theatre Project); Sister Act (Lower Ossington Theatre); Munsch Mash (Solar Stage Children's Theatre); Apprentice Producer for Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (Outside the March). Other: Amaka was born and raised in the faraway city of Lagos, Nigeria, and is now a Toronto-based theatre-maker and a graduate of the Musical Theatre Program at the Randolph College for Performing Arts. She is currently enrolled in the Factory Theatre Mechanicals (Actor Training) Program.

Dennis Garnhum  Director
For the Grand Theatre:  A Christmas Carol. Theatre Credits (Selected): World premiere of musical The Little Prince (Theatre Calgary); Barber of Seville (Florida Grand Opera, Opera Lyra, Vancouver Opera); Timothy Findley's The Wars  (Theatre Calgary, Vancouver Playhouse); Director / Adapter of Lost:  A Memoir (Theatre Calgary, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Neptune Theatre); Director / Adapter of  King Lear (Theatre Calgary, Bard on the Beach); Carmen, La Traviata (Pacific Opera); West Side Story (Bangkok University); Rat in the Skull  (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Stratford Festival (four seasons); Shaw Festival (six seasons). Other:  Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre since 2016.   Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary from 2005-2016. Recipient of a Calgary Award for Community Achievement in Arts and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Jennifer Goodman  Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (Selected): Wilde Tales (Shaw); 1979 (GCTC/Shaw); Les zinspirés (Théâtre français de Toronto); Stones in His Pockets (Neptune); Elle (Passe Muraille); Generous (GCTC); The Tempest (Two Planks and a Passion; Merritt Award – outstanding costume design); The Mountaintop (Theatre Kingston); Forever Plaid (Starvox); You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Globe); Billy Bishop Goes to War (Theatre Northwest); 7 Stories (Tableau d’Hôte; MECCA – best set design). Other: BFA from Concordia University, MFA from the University of Alberta.  Jennifer will be joining the Shaw Festival for her second season this summer, designing costumes for The Magician’s Nephew.

Suzanne McArthur  Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: High School Projects:  Evita, Hello, Dolly!, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oklahoma!. Other:  Joni Mitchell: River, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,  Intimate Apparel, Ring of Fire, Dance Legends, PlayWrights Cabaret, Ed’s Garage, Side by Side by Sondheim, Pride and Prejudice, The Wizard of Oz. Theatre Credits (Selected): Aladdin: The Panto, Snow White: The Panto, Weekend ComedyPerfect Wedding (Drayton Entertainment); The Normal Heart (Studio 180 Theatre/Buddies in Bad Times); Birds of a Feather, Storm Warning, Wrong for Each Other, Knickers! A Brief Comedy (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Hosanna, The Tempest (Stratford Shakespeare Festival); Forests (Tarragon Theatre); Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Silver Mist Productions).

List of Schools

  1. St. Mary’s Choir & Orchestra Catholic School (LDCSB)
  2. Ealing Public School (TVDSB)
  3. Princess Elizabeth Public School (TVDSB)
  4. East Carling Public School (TVDSB)
  5. Knollwood Park Public School (TVDSB)
  6. Woodland Heights Public School (TVDSB)
  7. St. Anne Catholic School (LDCSB)
  8. Bonaventure Meadows Public School (TVDSB)
  9. Holy Cross Catholic School (LDCSB)
  10. Blessed Sacrament Catholic School (LDCSB)
  11. Lord Elgin Public School (TVDSB)
  12. Sir John A Macdonald Public School (TVDSB)
  13. Fairmont Public School (TVDSB)
  14. JP Robarts Public School (TVDSB)
  15. Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School (LDCSB)
  16. Lord Nelson Public School (TVDSB)
  17. Prince Charles Public School (TVDSB)
  18. Hillcrest Public School (TVDSB)
  19. Princess Anne French Immersion Public School (TVDSB)
  20. Evelyn Harrison Public School (TVDSB)
  21. Tweedsmuir Public School (TVDSB)
  22. St. Bernadette Catholic School (LDCSB)
  23. C.C. Carrothers Public School (TVDSB)
  24. St. Sebastian Catholic School (LDCSB)
  25. Holy Family Catholic School (London) (LDCSB)
  26. Chippewa Public School (TVDSB)
  27. St. Francis Catholic School (LDCSB)
  28. Wilton Grove Public School (TVDSB)
  29. F.D. Roosevelt Public School (TVDSB)
  30. Northbrae Public School (TVDSB)
  31. Arthur Stringer Public School (TVDSB)
  32. Nicholas Wilson Public School (TVDSB)
  33. Holy Rosary Catholic School (LDCSB)
  34. Sir G.E. Cartier Public School (TVDSB)
  35. St. Robert Catholic School (LDCSB)
  36. St. Pius X Catholic School (LDCSB)
  37. St. Martin Catholic School (LDCSB)
  38. Victoria Public School (TVDSB)
  39. White Oaks Public School (TVDSB)
  40. Jean Vanier Catholic School (LDCSB)
  41. St. Thomas More Catholic School (TVDSB)
  42. Al-Taqwa Islamic Elementary School (Private)
  43. Wilfrid Jury Public School (TVDSB)
  44. Eagle Heights Public School (TVDSB)
  45. Glen Cairn Public School (TVDSB)
  46. Trafalgar Public School (TVDSB)
  47. Aberdeen Public School (TVDSB)
  48. St. Michael Catholic School (LDCSB)
  49. Sir Isaac Brock Public School (TVDSB)
  50. St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School (LDCSB)
  51. Masonville Public School (TVDSB)
  52. Emily Carr Public School (TVDSB)
  53. Dunwich-Dutton Public School (TVDSB)
  54. Delaware Central Public School (TVDSB)
  55. June Rose Callwood Public School (TVDSB)
  56. Forest Park Public School (TVDSB)
  57. Elgin Court Public School (TVDSB)
  58. Monsignor Morrison Catholic School (LDCSB)
  59. Locke’s Public School (TVDSB)
  60. St. Anne’s Catholic School St. Thomas (LDCSB)
  61. Mary Wright Public School (TVDSB)
  62. John Wise Public School (TVDSB)
  63. Our Lady Immaculate Catholic School (LDCSB)
  64. St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School (LDCSB)
  65. Oliver Stephens Public School (TVDSB)
  66. St. Patrick’s Catholic School (Woodstock) (LDCSB)
  67. Laurie Hawkins Public School (TVDSB)
  68. Holy Family Catholic School (Woodstock) (LDCSB)
  69. Southside Public School (TVDSB)
  70. Central Public School (TVDSB)
  71. Westfield Public School (TVDSB)
  72. Monsignor J.H. O’Neill (LDCSB)
  73. Assumption Catholic School (LDCSB)
  74. Davenport Public School (TVDSB)
  75. Plattsville and District Public School (TVDSB)
  76. Winchester Public School (TVDSB)
  77. St. Patrick’s Catholic School (Lucan) (LDCSB)
  78. Caradoc North Public School (TVDSB)
  79. McGregor Public School (TVDSB)
  80. New Sarum Public School (TVDSB)
  81. Matthews Hall (Private)
  82. Parkview Public School (TVDSB)
  83. St. Joseph’s Catholic School (LDCSB)
  84. South Ridge Public School (TVDSB)
  85. Summer’s Corners Public School (TVDSB)
  86. Springfield Public School (TVDSB)
  87. Parkhill-West Williams Public School (TVDSB)
  88. Sacred Heart Catholic School (LDCSB)
  89. Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School (TVDSB)
  90. Aldborough Public School (TVDSB)
  91. St. Mary’s Catholic School (West Lorne) (LDCSB)
  92. Ekcoe Central Public School (TVDSB)
  93. St. Charles Catholic School (LDCSB)
  94. Mitchell Hepburn Public School (TVDSB)
  95. Eastdale Public School (TVDSB)
  96. St. Michael’s Catholic School (LDCSB)
  97. Port Burwell Public School (TVDSB)
  98. Straffordville Public School (TVDSB)
  99. HIGH Day School (Homeschool group)
  100. HOLO (Homeschool group)