Silence: World Premiere

Grand Theatre Announces the World Premiere of

Silence

Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell

By Trina Davies
Directed by Peter Hinton

On the Spriet Stage January 16 to February 3, 2018

LONDON, ONTARIO - December 22, 2017 — The Grand Theatre is thrilled to announce the world premiere of SILENCE, which brings an untold Canadian story to life on stage.  This inaugural production from the COMPASS New Play Development program features a cast that embodies the best in Canadian theatre with actors who are hearing, Deaf, and hard of hearing.

SILENCE is on stage January 16, with the opening night on January 19 which will be an open-captioned performance. The production was originally commissioned and developed through FUSE: The Enbridge New Play Development Program at Theatre Calgary. The Title Sponsor for SILENCE is Bell.

“I read every book I could find about Bell, his work and his family. As I read, I found I was pulled towards Mabel, rather than Alec,” said SILENCE playwright Trina Davies. “She was an extraordinary person who captured my admiration and imagination. I considered the potentially epic proportions of long-term relationships, and particular communication within these relationships. So much of what is understood has nothing to do with the words that are used, but is communicated in a look, a touch, a gesture, the positioning of a shoulder. How do we connect? How do we stay connected?”

SILENCE uncovers the life of the remarkable woman often overshadowed by one of Canada’s most important historic figures, Alexander Graham Bell. This beautiful (and true) story follows Mabel Gardiner Hubbard, who was deaf, as she meets and falls in love with the future inventor of the telephone. This new play is written from Mabel's perspective, immersing the audience into her experience.

“Like many love stories, it is also a story about loss,” said Director Peter Hinton. “When Mabel Hubbard gained her deafness, she discovered in herself untapped resources and skills, and a creativity and power that many women of her social class and standing never would. Perhaps it was this genius that Alec fell in love with.”

The production will feature Tara Rosling as Mabel Bell, Graham Cuthbertson as Alexander Graham Bell, Catherine Joell MacKinnon as Eliza Bell, Suzanne Bennett as Gertrude Mercer McCurdy Hubbard, Madelyn Norad as Berta Hubbard, and Michael Spencer-Davis as Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Actors from the Deaf and hard of hearing community will be supported by ASL English interpreters Rosalie Vissers and Jude Thomas.

There will be two open-captioned and two ASL-interpreted performances in the run:
Open-Captioned Performances - Friday, January 19 at 8:00pm and Saturday, January 20 at 2:00pm
ASL-Interpreted Performances - Wednesday, January 24 at 11:00am and Sunday, January 28 at 2:00pm

For pricing and information on designated seating for both open-captioned and ASL-interpreted performances please visit grandtheatre.com/accessibility or contact the box office at boxoffice [at] grandtheatre [dot] com.

“SILENCE had me in tears the first time I read it. Playwright Trina Davies uses a powerful staging device – silence – in a way that will leave you breathless.  I’m thrilled and honoured to have this story be our first new play in COMPASS, our new play development program,” said Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director.

The Grand Theatre dedicates the World Premiere of SILENCE to Iris Turcott, a London-born dramaturg who worked on the development of this play.  Iris was known as an extraordinary champion of new work for stages across Canada. 

SILENCE is on the Spriet Stage from January 16 to February 3. Tickets are $29.95 to $88 (includes HST and CIF – prices subject to change). Tickets are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2017/18 Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group.

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. The 2017/18 Season is on sale.

MEDIA CALL

When: Tuesday, January 16 at 1:00pm (cameras, please arrive at 12:45pm to set up)
Where: Grand Theatre Spriet Stage
What: SILENCE photo, video, and interview opportunity for media

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

Cast

Gertrude Mercer McCurdy Hubbard SUZANNE BENNETT
Alexander Graham Bell    GRAHAM CUTHBERTSON
Eliza Bell CATHERINE JOELL MACKINNON
Berta (Roberta) Hubbard MADELYN NAROD
Mabel Gardiner Hubbard (Bell) TARA ROSLING
Gardiner Greene Hubbard MICHAEL SPENCER-DAVIS

Production Team

Director PETER HINTON
Set and Costume Designer MICHAEL GIANFRANCESCO
Lighting and Projection Designer BETH KATES
Lighting and Projection Assistant JEFF PYBUS
Sound Designer RICHARD FEREN
Directing/Design Intern HOWARD J. DAVIS
Stage Manager MICHAEL HART
Assistant Stage Manager SANDI BECKER
Apprentice Stage Manager KELLY BOUDREAU

Bios

Suzanne Bennett Gertrude Mercer McCurdy Hubbard
For the Grand Theatre: Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (co-production with NAC Ottawa). Theatre Credits (selected): Naked Hamilton (Soho Playhouse NYC); Brantwood (Theatre Sheridan); The Situationists (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre); Colours in the Storm (Theatre Aquarius); Dancing at Lughnasa (Annex Theatre); The Philanderess (John Candy Theatre); Camelot (Stratford Festival); Hello Again (Tarragon); Une Soirée avec Jacques Brel (Théâtre Français de Toronto); Anne of Green Gables (Charlottetown Festival); A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream (Flower Festival). Other: Head of Acting Honours Bachelor at Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Program.

Graham Cuthbertson Alexander Graham Bell
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): A and R Angels (Crow’s Theatre); Constellations (Canadian Stage); Glengarry Glenn Ross (Segal Centre); The Goodnight Bird (Kay Meek Centre); August, An Afternoon in the Country (Centaur Theatre). Film & TV Credits: The Girlfriend Experience, I’m Not There, The High Cost of Living, Being Human.

Catherine Joell Mackinnon Eliza Bell
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Cas9 (Robertson Theatre); Ultrasound (Cahoots Theatre); ASL Improv Showcase (Deaf West); Voices of Chornobyl (Antaeus Theatre/Deaf West). Film & TV Credits (selected): Murdoch Mysteries, Widow’s Web, Silent Hill, Kenny Vs Spenny, Fargo. Other: BFA Graduate of School of Image Arts, Ryerson University; co-founder and Festival Director of the Toronto International Deaf Film and Arts Festival; Deaf Community Consultant for DATT-Deaf Artists and Theatres Toolkit, Cahoots Theatre; ASLcoach & Continuity for Emmy & Golden Globe winner Fargo (2015). Award-winning filmmaker and internationally known for her work in documentaries, film, and tele­vision. Awards: ACTRA Woman of the Year Award 2016.

Madelyn Narod Berta (Roberta) Hubbard
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Evita (JDP Theatre Productions); Bare (WINDS); Annie (Steppin’ Out Theatrical Productions); Les Misérables, Anything Goes, 42nd Street, The Mikado, New Faces 2012 (SLC Stage); Munschables (Puddle Jump Players); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hair (Toronto Youth Theatre). Other: Graduate of St. Lawrence College’s Music Theatre Performance program.

Michael Spencer-Davis Gardiner Greene Hubbard
For the Grand Theatre: Art, The Stone Angel. Theatre Credits (selected): A Christmas Carol (Western Canada Theatre); Timon of Athens, The Changeling, The Madwoman of Chaillot (Stratford Festival, 7 seasons); The Hound of The Baskervilles (Globe Theatre); Boeing Boeing, The Pitmen Painters (Theatre Aquarius); Vigil (Prairie Theatre Exchange); Having Hope at Home (Neptune Theatre); Twelfth Night (Hartford Stage); Innocence Lost (Centaur/National Arts Centre); Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Calgary/NAC); The Lonely Diner (Blyth Festival); Romeo and Juliet (NAC); Medea (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre/Mirvish); Macbeth (NAC/Citadel); The Elephant Man (Canadian Stage); Einstein’s Gift (Citadel). Other: michaelspencerdavis.com

Tara Rosling Mabel Gardiner Hubbard (Bell)
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Alice in Wonderland, Top Girls, Lady Windermere’s Fan, When the Rain Stops Falling, Saint Joan, The Heiress (Shaw Festival); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night (Stratford Festival); If We Were Birds (Dora Award), Hush, Perfect Pie (Tarragon Theatre); Penelopiad (Nightwood, Dora Award); The Glass Menagerie (TNW); Lonesome West (CanStage); The Miracle Worker (ATF), See Bob Run (Factory Theatre, Dora Nomination). Film & TV Credits: The Firm, Murdoch Mysteries, Crash & Burn, The Listener, The War Next Door, The Uncles, The Five Senses, Deeply, Taking of Pelham 123.

Peter Hinton Director
For the Grand Theatre: Atlantis, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Theatre Credits (selected): Missing (Pacific Opera); An Octoroon, Alice in Wonderland, Pygmalion, Cabaret, Lady Windermere’s Fan, When the Rain Stops Falling (Shaw Festival); Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company); All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare Company); Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s Universe, The Odyssey, Fanny Kemble, The Duchess of Malfi, Into the Woods, The Swanne (Stratford Festival). Other: Artistic Director, English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre 2005-12. Professional mentor, York University/Canadian Stage MFA program in directing. In 2009, Peter was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Michael Gianfrancesco Set & Costume Designer
For the Grand Theatre: The Spitfire Grill, It’s a Wonderful Life. Theatre Credits (selected): Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Opera Atelier, Tarragon Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, Canadian Stage Company, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Segal Centre, Acting Up Stage, Studio 180, Against the Grain, Young People’s Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre. Other: Michael’s set design for Cabaret at the Shaw Festival was featured at the Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space in 2015. Recipient of the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design from the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Beth Kates Lighting & Projection Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt, Mr. New Year’s Eve: A Night With Guy Lombardo, The Last Donnelly Standing (co-creator & designer), Ipperwash, SEEDS (Blyth Festival); Vigilante (Catalyst); MacHomer, Bigger Than Jesus (Wyrd); Brimful of Asha (Why Not Theatre / Soulpepper); Yichud (Theatre Passe Muraille); Ragtime, Alice in Wonderland, Pygmalion (Shaw Festival); Ross Petty Panto 2011-16. Other: Award-winning Set, Lighting, Costume, and Projection Designer. Developing (with Brendon Allen) My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown and a project inspired by The Farm Show. First credited Digital Dramaturg in Canadian Theatre (Blyth Festival), bethkates.com and playgroundstudios.ca

Richard Feren Sound Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Unholy (Nightwood); Daughter (QuipTake, Pandemic, Theatre Centre); Asking For It (Nightwood, Necessary Angel, Crow’s Theatre); Waiting For Godot, CAGE, A Doll’s House, The Testament of Mary (Soulpepper); Confederation & Riel, Scandal & Rebellion (VideoCabaret); Little Pretty and The Exceptional (Factory Theatre); The Magic Hour (Theatre Centre); TomorrowLove™ (Outside The March). Film & TV Credits (selected): The Anniversary, Burning, Burning, A Trip To The Island, Past Perfect, numerous shorts. Other: 7 Dora Awards; 1999 Pauline McGibbon Award; shortlisted for the 2012 Siminovitch Prize.

Howard J. Davis Directing/Design Intern
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Video Designer: The Mountaintop (Black Theatre Workshop/Neptune Theatre); Assistant Director: Louis Riel (NAC); Video Designer: The Millennial Malcontent (Tarragon Theatre). Actor: Bombay Black (Factory Theatre); Pygmalion, Sweet Charity (Shaw Festival). Film & TV Credits: Downsizing, 12 Monkeys. Other: Howard’s award-winning, inter­nationally-screened short film, C’est Moi, premiered at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. BFA in Performance Acting from Ryerson Theatre School. Upcoming: Video Designer: Oh What a Lovely War (Shaw Festival); Actor: Tick Tock Inc. cestmoifilm.com howardjdavis.com

Michael Hart Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: Einstein’s Gift, Strawberries in January, Schippel the Plumber, Macbeth, The Wind In The Willows, Great Expectations. Theatre Credits (selected): 21 seasons at the Stratford Festival including Timon of Athens, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Adventures of Pericles, Hay Fever, Blithe Spirit, The Tempest, The Importance of Being Earnest, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, The Duchess of Malfi, The Swanne Trilogy; Liv Stein (Canadian Stage); Constellations (Centaur/Canadian Stage); Body Politic (Buddies); The Death Of The King (Modern Times); The Winter’s Tale (Groundling); Bombay Black (Factory); Manon, Sandra and the Virgin Mary (Pleiades); Saint Carmen of The Main (NAC, Canadian Stage); Romeo and Juliet (NAC); Mother Courage and Her Children (NAC, MTC); Wit (Centaur); Hamlet (Neptune).

Sandi Becker Assistant Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: Miracle on 34th Street The Musical, The Hobbit, PlayWrights Cabaret 2011, Macbeth (HSP), Dreamgirls. Theatre Credits (selected): Twelfth Night/King Lear (Canadian Stage Shakespeare in High Park); Birds of a Feather, La Maleta, Dib and Dob and the Journey Home (Roseneath Theatre); The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy, Frankenstein’s Boy (Eldritch Theatre); Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, The Odyssey, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood Theatre Group); Ultrasound (Cahoots, Theatre Passe Muraille); Man to Man (Headstrong Collective); Tick Tick Boom (Angelwalk Theatre); Stockholm (Seventh Stage/Nightwood).

Kelly Boudreau Apprentice Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Beauty and the Beast, It’s a Wonderful Life (Theatre Aquarius); Mamma Mia!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Drayton Entertainment); John (The Company Theatre); On Golden Pond (Rose Theatre Brampton); Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet (Classical Theatre Project). Other: Graduate of the Technical Production program at Sheridan College.

Trina Davies Playwright
Trina is based in Vancouver BC Canada. Her award-winning plays include Shatter, Multi User Dungeon, The Auction, The Bone Bridge, and Waxworks. The Romeo Initiative was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Drama and was the winner of the National Enbridge Prize for Established Artist. Her plays have been performed across Canada and as well as in the United States, Germany, Italy, and India. She has participated in artist residencies at the Stratford Festival, Banff Centre, the Playwrights Theatre Centre, and the Bella Vita Playwrights Retreat in Italy. She is currently working towards the world premiere of her play Waxworks (to be revealed). trinadavies.com

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