VideoCabaret spectacularly conjures the era of Confederation in four tragicomic one-act plays, presented in two parts.


The History of the Village of the Small Huts, 1861-1885
Confederation & Riel
Scandal & Rebellion

On stage June 9, 2017

This is the story of the bargaining and deal-making behind the fireworks of July 1, 1867. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald bestrides the play with a bottle in one hand and a country in the other, overcoming all resistance to Confederation with dreams of expansion and threats of American annexation. Two young men meet in a Montreal law office: Wilfrid Laurier and Louis Riel. Laurier, a Quebecois and ardent anti-Confederationist, joins the Liberal Party and the Freethinkers. Riel, a Western Metis, prepares for the role of 'public enemy' and 'traitor'.

In the wake of Confederation, Prime Minister Macdonald plans to turn the West into one big Ontario. Louis Riel and Métis leaders want local autonomy. When Metis aspirations collide with Canada's land surveyors and governors, the Rebellion begins. Across the country radical Protestants and Catholics plot assassination and terror, backed by American continentalists. When Bishop Bourget begins a 'holy war' against Freethinkers, Laurier enters politics and begins to cultivate the secular and multi-cultural ideals that will shape the Canadian nation.

Louis Riel, with a price on his head, is elected MP but denied his seat by Orange Lodge fanatics. Wilfrid Laurier, a Liberal MP in Alexander Mackenzie's government, falls for his best friend's wife. Manitoba has joined Confederation, British Columbia is being wooed. In the rapidly expanding colony, Canada's business barons compete to own the hot tech-stocks of the day -- the railway and telegraph lines. John A. Macdonald is caught red-handed swapping the CPR contract for a large campaign donation and heads for the political wilderness.

Macdonald has been restored to power by the majority who prefer a sinner to a scold. Louis Riel joins Saskatchewan Métis leader Gabriel Dumont and Cree Chief Big Bear in a fight for land claims and human rights. Ottawa escalates the conflict from military action to mass starvation. In 1885, the Last Spike is hammered, Riel is condemned to death, the West is open for business. Macdonald's refusal to pardon Riel enrages Quebec, sending Conservatives to the penalty box for decades. Wilfrid Laurier opposes Riel's execution and becomes the Liberal heir apparent.


Visit for more information

Full Press Release available here





Merci, merci, milles fois merci.
VideoCabaret gratefully acknowledges support from the following
individuals and organizations ...

Westaway Charitable Foundation, Bruce & Elda Ratford, Stephen Smith,
Margie Zeidler, Hans Kluge, Mark & Bettie Tullis,
David Rothberg & Alicia Peres, Bruce & Elda Ratford,

Cathy & Barry Joslin, John McKellar, Stephen Smith, Avie Bennett,

The Cameron House, Walter & Victoria Prystawski,
Ann Marie & Paul Ferraro, Jane & Eb Zeidler

James Aldridge & Vinetta Strombergs, Daniel David Moses, Noel Mowat, Walter & Victoria Prystawski, Barbara Tangney, Marianne Teminski Kathleen Agar, Robert Allsopp & Catherine Nasmith, Liza Balkan, Anne Barrett, Janet Beck, Tony Benettar, Bob Bernecky, Anne & Bob Bower Paul Bennett, Ken Cameron, Ruth Cameron, Derrick Chua, Michael Cooper, Trish Dabkowski, Anthony DaSouza, Brian Dawson, John Doyle Lisa Douglas, Anne Farquharson, Sian Ferguson, Barbara Fingerote, David Fox, Marian Gibson, Della Golland, William C. Graham Kathryn Heller McRoberts, Andrew Horberry, Marni Jackson, Brian Jantzi, Walda Janson, Marilyn Job, Matthew Jocelyn, Jon Kaplan, Peter Keleghan Paul Kolycius, DD Kugler, Judith Lowther, Anne MacKenzie, Gloria McCombe, Karen McMillan, Christian Mueller, Neil Orford, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh Walter & Georgina Ratcliffe, Norman Reynolds, Dr. Sean Sleeth, Birgit Siber, Helga Stephenson, Ann Stuart, Nancy Steele, Richard Teminski Eloise Thurier, Nick Tracey, Mark Tomblin, Debby Vigoda, Monica Voss, Graham Williamson, Stan Witkin, Barbara Yip




Canada's History Plays

The History of the Village of the Small Huts

The achievement of playwright Michael Hollingsworth MH in Canoe
and his celebrated ensemble of actors and designers is without precedent. Since 1985 they have created more than twenty plays whose stories arc over centuries of time, dramatising our history from Chief Donnacona and Jacques Cartier to Prime Minister Mulroney and President George Bush.

Internationally-renowned designers Astrid Janson and Shadowland use the most economical materials to produce spectacular effects of costume and light, enabling seven superb actors to portray dozens of characters who embody an era, who conjure the drama of the debates and compromises that forge a nation.

The Great War, 2010

VideoCabaret’s work is recognized by dozens of Dora Awards and scores of Nominations. In 2011, the Silver Ticket Award for outstanding contribution to the Canadian Theatre was given to Michael Hollingsworth by previous honourees. Last season’s The War of 1812 won Dora Awards for Acting Ensemble, Direction and Costume Design, and also earned nominations in the categories of Lighting, Sound and Production.



“Anyone who can make Canadian history this witty and amusing deserves a medal --
the Order of Canada perhaps?”

- Toronto Star

“VideoCabaret put the ‘story’ back into history, and the result is hilarious and irresistible.”
- CBC Radio

“VideoCabaret is a theatrical treasure.”
- Globe & Mail

Red River Rebellion, 2005The War of 1812, 2012The Life and Times of Mackenzie King, 2011