After a months-long closure due to Covid-19 restrictions, New Westminster’s Anvil Centre is bringing live performance back to its stage.
The curtain rises on the premiere of Hey Viola!, a musical exploration of Canadian Civil Rights hero, Viola Desmond, from October 15 – 25, 2020. Set in a cabaret style, this one woman show could not be more relevant in this time of Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter, and Women’s Rights movements.
You may know Viola Desmond as the newest face on Canada’s ten-dollar bill, but do you know her story? She is best known for her courage in refusing to leave the whites-only section of Nova Scotia’s Roseland cinema in 1946, a decision that made history, but she was also a feminist and beauty product icon. What was the fire within this successful black Canadian businesswoman that gave her the courage and confidence to stand up to systemic racial injustices in Canada?
In Hey Viola!, Vancouver songstress and performer Krystle Dos Santos, with the support of local musicians Chris Davis, Steven Charles and Mary Ancheta, brings the life of Viola Desmond to the stage using the dynamic and inspirational music that filled the home of this trailblazer of the civil rights movement. Using the musical format enriches the telling of her amazing and powerful story, ultimately an important Canadian story.
Teaming up to create this work are two immense talents: Tracey Power, Co-creator and Director, who created Glory, Chelsea Hotel, The Songs of Leonard Cohen and the musical Miss Shakespeare and Krystle Dos Santos, an extraordinary actor, blues, jazz and soul singer and creator of “BLAK”, exploring Canada’s Black history. “I feel so honoured to be able to share Viola’s story, she was such an incredible, driven, intelligent and strong woman, an inspiration on so many levels,” stated Dos Santos. “Her story is such an important message to share, and is still relevant in today’s world. As Canadians, we have to recognize that this is not a unique story in our history, but one that reflects an imperfect culture, past and present, and is one of many examples of how we can always strive to be better.”
With hits of the era, and songs that influenced history; “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, “A Change is Gonna Come”, “Sinnerman”, and “Mississippi Goddam”, this personal, and powerful cabaret, gives audiences an opportunity to discover how the actions of one woman played such a huge role in a movement that Krystle herself continues today.
Hey Viola! runs October 15 – 25, 2020 at Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St., New Westminster. For showtimes and tickets visit anvilcentre.com
*Covid-19 protocols will be enforces, details can be found on the Anvil Centre website