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PREVIEW | Guild Festival Theatre Launches 2024 Season With Evalyn Parry’s SPIN

By Anya Wassenberg on May 24, 2024

Evalyn Parry in SPIN (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Evalyn Parry in SPIN (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Music, theatre and spoken word poetry collide in the spokes of Evalyn Parry’s SPIN, which kicks off the Guild Festival Theatre 2024 season on July 6. The production will be presented in a special concert version with a live string trio. The Greek Theatre, Guild Park & Gardens in Scarborough is the backdrop for this outdoor presentation.

“I am incredibly excited to be presenting SPIN at The Greek Theatre. I saw a production in 2014 and I was entertained, moved, and inspired. This is a show that will stay with you for years to come,” comments Helen Juvonen, Co-Artistic Director, Guild Festival Theatre.

Parry’s SPIN is inspired by the story of Annie Londonderry.

Annie Londonderry

Annie Cohen Kopchovsky aka Annie Londonderry, lived from 1870 till November 1947. Born in Latvia, she moved with her family to the US in 1875 and became a citizen as a young child.

As a married mother of three, and with a slight build, she brazenly claimed to have been bet $5,000 to cycle around the world. That claim was proven to be false, but it served to publicize her trip.

Cycling was revolutionary, particularly for women, who could experience a kind of personal freedom that had been denied to them.

Evalyn Parry in SPIN (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Evalyn Parry in SPIN (Photo courtesy of the artist)

SPIN

SPIN is a celebration of the bicycle, and a production that has been touring for more than a decade.

Naturally, it delves into 19th century women’s emancipation, but brings the message forward to the present day too by revealing timeless connections.

Percussionist Brad Hart creates accompaniment to Parry’s storytelling and songs via a vintage bicycle that’s suspended, and connected to electronics. All parts of the bicycle become part of a percussion

A vintage bicycle, hooked up to simple electronics and suspended in a mechanic’s stand, becomes a percussion instrument: played from fenders to spokes to sprung vinyl seat, from whirling pedals to bells, percussionist Brad Hart creates a captivating sonic accompaniment to Parry’s evocative songs and stories.

The concert version includes a live string trio led by violinist Kathleen Kajioka, with Angela Rudden (viola), and Mary-Katherine Finch (cello), and string arrangements by composer/songwriter Michael Holt.

Evalyn Parry & SPIN

Award-winning theatre creator and songwriter, director, writer, and performer Evelyn Parry produces works that connect social activism with history and autobiography. She was artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre from 2015 to 2020.

SPIN was originally developed and presented by OutSpoke Productions in collaboration with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto. The work premiered in 2011 directed by Ruth Eluned Madoc-Jones, with production and video design by Beth Kates.

Since then, it’s toured North America, playing at venues such as The Lincoln Center (New York City), Belfry Theatre (Victoria), Sound Symposium (Newfoundland), The Cultch (Vancouver), and many more.

OutSpoke Productions, Parry’s company, is currently making a short film of The Ballad of Annie Londonderry, directed by Tess Girard.

Guild Festival Theatre this Summer

SPIN launches the summer season for Guild Festival Theatre. Other offerings include:

  • Family Fest: Music, dance, theatre and more fun for the younger set (July 10 to 14)
  • Three Men on a Bike: The sequel to Three Men in a Boat!, a hit from last year, the story of Jay, George and Harris continues with a disaster of a holiday in Germany by writer and director team Mark Brownell and Sue Miner (July 18 to August 4)
  • Isle of Demons: A combination of thriller and tragedy, Governor General Award-winning playwright Robert Chafe’s play tells the incredible (and true) story of Marguerite de la Roque, who was abandoned on a small remote island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1542 (August 8 to 25)

Details and tickets available [HERE].

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