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Fall on Your Knees

National Arts Centre and Vita Brevis Arts
  • Adaptation for the stage by Alisa Palmer and Hannah Moscovitch
  • Based on the novel by Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • Production dramaturg Mel Hague

Fall on Your Knees was first published in 1996, becoming an international bestseller and a Canadian classic. Ann-Marie MacDonald’s iconoclastic novel chronicles three generations of the Piper family, taking us from haunted Cape Breton Island, through the battle fields of World War One, to the emerging jazz scene of New York City and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters. Together, they weave a tale of inescapable family bonds, terrible secrets, miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love.

Over the past few years, some of the country’s greatest theatrical talents have undertaken a rigorous collaboration to adapt the novel into an epic piece of theatre.  Using non-literal, theatrical ways to capture and embody the story’s power, the stage adaptation of Fall on Your Knees will be a piece of music-driven theatre at a scale rarely seen in Canada.

Company

Vita Brevis Arts (VBA) was founded by Alisa Palmer to support the development of unusual theatre projects that are ambitious in scope, urgent in content and that have the capacity to speak to diverse audiences in a highly theatrical and sensually rich language. Inclusive and artistically excellent storytelling is at the heart of VBA's mission.

In practice, VBA partners with established theatre companies to curate artist-driven development processes outside traditional models.  VBA is comprised of producers Alisa Palmer, Paul Beauchamp, and Patricia Cerra.

Creative team

  • Adaptation for the stage by Alisa Palmer and Hannah Moscovitch
  • Based on the novel by Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • Adaptation writer Hannah Moscovitch
  • Story collaboration and direction Alisa Palmer
  • Production dramaturg Mel Hague
  • Producer Paul Beauchamp, Vita Brevis
  • Apprentice / associate producer Patricia Cerra, Vita Brevis

National Creation Fund investment

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $200,000 supports a new approach to translating the novel from page to stage, with significant time dedicated to exploring non-literal, theatrical ways to capture and embody the power of the story.  The Fund’s support also makes the final two development workshops possible.

Credits

A National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Vita Brevis Arts (Toronto), Canadian Stage Company (Toronto), Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Grand Theatre (London) co-production.  Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.

Lead donors: Margaret Fountain, C.M., DFA (h) & David Fountain, C.M.

We acknowledge the support of The Canada Council for the Arts.

Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council

Performance dates

January 20 to February 5, 2023:  Bluma Appel Theatre (Toronto), presented by Canadian Stage

February 10 to March 5, 2023:  Fountain Hall (Halifax), presented by Neptune Theatre

March 8 to 25, 2023:  Babs Asper Theatre, presented by NAC English Theatre

March 29 to April 2, 2023:  Spriet Stage (London), presented by the Grand Theatre


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