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.
“Anyone who can make Canadian history this witty and amusing deserves a medal --
the Order of Canada perhaps?"-Star
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, and garnering new awards and honours.
"the most ambitious project in Canadian Theatre" -Toronto Life
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
Toronto Life Magazine
“The History of the Village of the Small Huts is the most ambitious project in Canadian Theatre…a freestanding monument of wit (with) brilliant ensemble acting and cinematic pacing.”
“Anyone who can make Canadian history this witty and amusing deserves a medal -- the Order of Canada perhaps?”
“Michael Hollingsworth has rewritten Canadian history as we know it…putting excitement, intrigue and humour back into stories that often lose their drama in the retelling.”
CBC Here And Now
"VideoCabaret puts the 'story' back into history, and the result is hilarious and irresistible."
Globe and Mail
“Michael Hollingsworth does not only have a friend in history, but a shrewd lawyer who makes a convincing case every time he takes his wares to the people’s court... headlines and world events fall in line with eerie regularity…to VideoCabaret’s comic fortune. The legacy of Hollingsworth’s plays may not only be bringing the past alive but making the present more immediate.”
“a creative achievement unmatched in Canadian theatre history."