One of Peterborough’s most prolific and talented artists, Beau Dixon has music and theatre in his soul — they are the passions that define him.
In his early days, Beau was all about music. While he struggled with a love-hate relationship with theatre, he found the audition process terrifying and was defeated by rejection.
That all changed when Beau was hired by Ray Henderson for his first paid acting gig at Arbor Theatre back in 2002, in a production of “And Freedom For All” by Ed Schroeter.
Produced for Black History Month, the story of Canadian slavery abolitionist William King and the underground railway saw Beau portraying a slave.
As an actor, Beau found the play had good movement and flow but he wanted something more current for kids. Ray suggested that Beau write his own play for kids — and he did (Ray then commissioned him to write a second one).
In 2010, Beau was set to tour with Greg and Mary Conchelos of Heritage Pavilion Theatre, but the arrangements fell through at the last moment. So Beau thought ‘I’ll tour on my own.’
He collaborated with Toronto-based actor Caitlin Driscoll and, as a result, Firebrand Theatre was born (Beau is Artistic Director and Caitlin is Artistic Producer).
“It’s difficult to find ways to bring theatre to kids,” Beau explains. “Firebrand’s goal is to get the stories to the students with a person, time period, or event that they can relate to — and to keep education entertaining.”
Five of Beau’s one-act plays have been toured to elementary and secondary schools throughout Ontario and Nova Scotia during Black History Month. The stories being told are those of African Canadian characters who triumph over hardship and despair with hope and courage and they offer fascinating life lessons.
“I write about the celebration of humanity and equality,” Beau says. “You don’t have to be hero to gain respect or make it into history books.”
These portrayals fit well into the school curriculum and the presentation style of Firebrand Theatre is appealing to teachers.
Beau melds his musical and theatrical passions by infusing music into his plays to help set the mood, reflect the themes, and tell the story.
Beau’s own music also has strong elements of storytelling — drawing from his roots, he invites listeners to come along on his journey. His music is a mix of soulful groove and lyrical blues with smokey vocals and great harmonies.
A gem in Peterborough’s music scene, Beau began his professional music career right out of high school. While touring the folk festival circuit several years later, he had a stop in Peterborough, fell in love with the area, and made it his home.
In the early years in Peterborough, Beau established himself as an apprentice producer with a reputable jingle company called Davinci Marketing (with clients such as Alarmforce, Nadeau’s Collision, Fleming College, and Wild Rock Outfitters).
Over the years, Beau has become an iconic fixture within the music industry as a writer, musician, producer, engineer, and private music instructor. He operates his recording studio, The Sound Kitchen, where he works with independent songwriters and bands.
Currently, Beau is working on an album, writing songs, and playing music.
“I’m excited to be doing both music and theatre, and to make a living doing what I love.”