Toronto theatre artist Lisa DiLiberto was driving across Canada on her way home from a tour when she became fascinated with main streets. Many had become less vibrant, many stores were gone, while on the outside of towns big-box stores were thriving.
DiLiberto, who is Artistic Producer of Fixt Point in Toronto, decided she wanted to preserve the histories of Main Street while people still remembered them. That led to an idea: she and her husband Charles Ketchabaw, along with their one- year-old son Zevon, would drive across Canada and speak to Canadians about their memories of Main Street, and those stories would become a multi-platform celebration called The Tale of a Town.
Fixt Point will develop The Tale of a Town Canada for theatres from coast to coast in 2017 in time for Canada's 150th Anniversary. The play is part of NAC English Theatre’s The Collaborations project, which invests creatively and financially in new works in development across Canada.
“I can’t imagine a more awesome place to launch this project from,” Lisa said. “We’ve been really lucky to be part of The Collaborations at the NAC, and to have their support.”
Lisa, Charles and Zevon officially kicked off their east cost tour from the NAC on May 12, pulling a sleek silver trailer behind them. Their first destination was Nova Scotia, stopping in Lunenburg, Warmough and Antigonish. When they arrive in Halifax in June, they will present the stories they have gathered as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which is co-produced by the NAC.
“We really, really hope that our project will inspire people to remember how awesome Main Street was, to think about all the great things there are on Main Street right now, and to imagine what Main Street can be in the future.”