Trent Valley Archives Theatre seeking volunteer actors for historical play ‘Tide of Hope’

Auditions will be held February 29 for theatre company's inaugural production to be staged at Peterborough's Market Hall in May

Lindsay Wilson (left) and Paden Gilhooley in a scene from Ed Schroeter's "Tide of Hope", the inaugural historial drama production of Trent Valley Archives Theatre. A prequel to the immigration story of Peter Robinson, the play will be performed at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre in downtown Peterborough for school groups on May 15, 2024 with public performances on May 15 and 16. (Photo: Suzanne Schroeter)
Lindsay Wilson (left) and Paden Gilhooley in a scene from Ed Schroeter's "Tide of Hope", the inaugural historial drama production of Trent Valley Archives Theatre. A prequel to the immigration story of Peter Robinson, the play will be performed at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre in downtown Peterborough for school groups on May 15, 2024 with public performances on May 15 and 16. (Photo: Suzanne Schroeter)

Trent Valley Archives Theatre is seeking volunteer actors to perform in its inaugural production Tide of Hope, coming this May to Market Hall Performing Arts Centre in downtown Peterborough.

The theatre company — an historical theatre initiative of Trent Valley Archives — will be holding auditions on Thursday, February 29th in the lecture hall at Trent University’s Sadleir House (751 George Street North, just north of Parkhill), with the first session at 6:15 p.m. and the second session at 7:15 p.m.

Written by Ed Schroeter and directed by Gerry McBride, Tide of Hope is a 70-minute historical play that follows two Irish families who are struggling with English oppression and the violence of Irish nationalists while they grapple with the difficult decision of whether to accept an offer to emigrate to Canada from Peter Robinson, the 19th-century politician in Upper Canada who administered the passage and settlement of more than 2,000 poor Irish Catholics in what is now eastern Ontario.

Advertisement - content continues below

 

 

Set in 1825 in the Blackwater district of Ireland at the height of the agrarian rebellion against excessive land rents and church tithes, Tide of Hope tells the story of David Nagle, an Irish land agent and rent collector forced to flee to Upper Canada when Irish rebels branded him a traitor.

The play is a kickoff to celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the Peter Robinson settlers to what would become Peterborough County.

“Some people think history is kind of dry but, at its heart, it’s the stories of people who have come before us dealing with many of the same issues we are grappling with today,” says McBride. “Seeing those struggles brought to life on stage can be a powerful experience indeed.”

Gerry McBride directs a script reading of "Tide of Hope," Trent Valley Archives Theatre's inaugural production. Auditions for volunteer actors will be held on February 29, 2024 at Trent University's Sadleir House. (Photo: Suzanne Schroeter)
Gerry McBride directs a script reading of “Tide of Hope,” Trent Valley Archives Theatre’s inaugural production. Auditions for volunteer actors will be held on February 29, 2024 at Trent University’s Sadleir House. (Photo: Suzanne Schroeter)

The February 29th casting call is for a total of nine roles, including five male roles (20 years of age and older), two female roles (20 to 40 years of age), and two other male or female roles for actors of any age. While no prepared pieces are required to audition, actors should be prepared to read excerpts from the play’s script.

To register for a session, email director Gerry McBride at gerrymcb57@gmail.com, who you can also email to schedule another time if you are not available on February 29 but would still like to audition.

Rehearsals for Tide of Hope will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings throughout April and early May, when there will also be an evening dress rehearsal performance for residents at one of The Gardens of Peterborough Retirement Residences, which is a platinum sponsor for the play along with kawarthaNOW.

Advertisement - content continues below

 

 

Geared to both students in Grades 6 to 12 and the general public, Tide of Hope will be performed for school groups on Wednesday, May 15th at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Market Hall. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions of the cast and crew after each performance, and teachers will be able to arrange for in-school workshops after the performance dates.

Teachers can book classes by emailing trentvalleyarchivestheatre@gmail.com, with admission costing $250 for a class of 25 students or more (including free admission for the teacher and up to four volunteer chaperones). More information, including educational resources, is available at sites.google.com/view/tvatheatre/.

A public performance of Tide of Hope, which also serves as a fundraiser for Trent Valley Archives, takes place at the Market Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16th. Tickets for the public performance are $36 for assigned cabaret table seating or $26 for regular assigned seating and are available online at markethall.org.

An excerpt from The Waterford Mirror in Ireland from May 9, 1825 referring to four of the ships that transported Irish emigrants to Upper Canada as part of an experimental assisted emigration scheme run by Canadian politician Peter Robinson. It's estimated there could be hundreds of thousands of Canadians today who are descended from the original Peter Robinson settlers. (Photo: Newspapers.com)
An excerpt from The Waterford Mirror in Ireland from May 9, 1825 referring to four of the ships that transported Irish emigrants to Upper Canada as part of an experimental assisted emigration scheme run by Canadian politician Peter Robinson. It’s estimated there could be hundreds of thousands of Canadians today who are descended from the original Peter Robinson settlers. (Photo: Newspapers.com)

A retired elementary school teacher who taught at Highland Heights Public School in Peterborough, director McBride also has a diverse theatrical background and has seen first-hand the impact theatre can have, especially on young people.

“Over the years I’ve seen lots of live theatre productions with students,” he recalls. “When the lights go down, it’s thrilling to see how quickly they become gripped with what’s happening on stage. Being able to present at a venue as great as Market Hall is the cherry on top of the sundae.”

Tide of Hope was written by award-winning playwright Ed Schroeter, a retired Millbrook elementary teacher who is also a Trent Valley Archives volunteer. As well as serving as artistic producer of Arbor Theatre, Schroeter was a driving force behind the Peterborough Museum & Archives’ Heritage Pavilion Stage series in 2001, transforming it into a school tour company from 2003 to 2005.

Greg and Mary Conchelos — who today are producing Tide of Hope — took over the Heritage Pavilion Stage series from 2005 to 2011, producing school tours and environmental theatre, while Schroeter continued to write scripts for them.

 

kawarthaNOW is proud to be a platinum sponsor for Tides of Hope.