Praise From Educators
“For teachers of Canadian history, why would you NOT use this opportunity to make history come to life in such vibrant, delightful and complex colours?”
“Many students spoke about the context they now had, and the enriched understanding about not only what had happened, but why it had happened.”
“Many thanks for an outstanding theatre experience. What a wonderful testament to the magic of the stage and the fascinating story that is our country.”
“At long last your great work is getting the attention and larger audiences it has always merited. The War of 1812 really was a triumph.”
Interested in bringing your students to learn more about Canada's History Plays? Contact our Producer by email.
VideoCabaret is perhaps best known for its celebrated 21-part play-cycle about Canadian history, presented annually to sold-out audiences of theatre lovers. The plays combine comedy, tragedy, pathos and farce to dramatize Canada's history from Chief Donnacona and Jacques Cartier to modern times. The unique staging-style moves the story at a cinematic tempo as colourful scenes are conjured up in a 'black-box' set. Using quick-change costumes and scene-setting props, seven actors portray dozens of characters who appear and vanish as if by magic. The acting-virtuosity required is legendary: VideoCabaret's alumni include Janet Burke, Graham Greene, Gary Farmer, Nancy Beatty, Stephen Ouimette, Layne Coleman, and of course the new rising stars of stage, film and mega-musicals.
The original productions premiered from 1985 to 1999, delighting audiences of all ages with their spectacular style and hearty
substance. From 2000 to 2011, VideoCabaret has been re-inventing the Repertoire of CANADA'S HISTORY PLAYS, demonstrating
their timeless appeal to new audiences of all ages,
“VideoCabaret puts the 'story' back into history,
The Life and Times of Mackenzie King (2011), The War of 1812 (2012) and The Great War (2010) with Paul Braunstein, Greg Campbell,
THE HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE OF THE SMALL HUTS is a comedy of manners, satirizing Canada’s various colonial periods. It is an historical epic for an audience raised on Rock and TV. It is the goons of history in their very own Goon Show. It is the Canadian book of the dead, a merry tale told by ghosts and demons.
Canada is state-of-the-art colonialism – perfect, immaculate, pure. Double think is a seminal characteristic of Canadian citizenship. Blink your eyes and you’re a nation, blink your eyes and you’re a colony. Blink your eyes…
THE HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE OF THE SMALL HUTS dramatizes the French and the British imperial periods of Canadian history, and chronicles Canada’s place in the American Nation Planet. The only thing one knows for sure is that the new boss will be the same as the old boss. What is going to happen has already happened.
– Michael Hollingsworth
Educator and Artist Comments
JACKIE BURROUGHS, Actor, Governor General's Performing Arts Award 2005
SHARI ROBERTS, Grade 8 Teacher, J.D. Hogarth Public School, Fergus
ASTRID JANSON, Theatre Designer, thirteen-time Dora Award recipient
CETA RAMKHALAWANSINGH, President, LEARNXS Foundation
Parallel with watching the “Histories” I’ve also admired the work of Deanne Taylor. Herpolitical satire captures the present as successfully as the “Histories” have done with the past.For the political cabarets Deanne has created her own multimedia theatrical stylewhich accounts for the company’s name, and which abounds with relevance, wit and humor.
The stylistic findings of this company need to be supported and passed on to the next generation of Canadian theatre artists. I can assure you that a company of this quality, consistent success and this prolific would by now have amounted to a national treasure in most European countries and I like think of this company in such terms. Tradition is built by continuous, long-term support. VideoCabaret is irreplaceable in Canadian theatre scene by being both innovative and by now a tradition of its own.
PAUL THOMPSON, Theatre Director; former Director General National Theatre School
JOEL GROTHE, Post-Graduate Student of Theatre, UofT, Univ. of Virginia
Every young person studying Canadian History should supplement their classroom studies with a visit to a performance of VideoCabaret's presentation of Canada's History plays. The company has seen hundreds of students of all ages come through their doors this year, all of them leavingwith a fresh, exciting new perspective on history. I believe that VideoCabaret's work is as important as any project in Canadian theatre, and that support from Canada's arts councils and governments should reflect that. With greater support, VideoCabaret can extend its sold-out runs to larger audiences.
The importance of the work is further reflected in the fact that VideoCabaret's audience is made up of any extremely high percentage of other theatre artists. As someone from Passe Muraille recently remarked to me, VideoCabaret is the show every actor wants to be doing when theyleave theatre school, and it is a rite of passage in Canadian stage acting.