To celebrate Trent’s 50th anniversary, there are class reunions, the Chancellors gala, and of course a parade. But perhaps the most anticipated event—the one that is going to draw studiers out from behind their books and students out of their dorms, the event that takes it’s audience back to the beginning of time before it all began—is Trent @ 50 in Story and Song.
Written by Beth McMaster and directed by Gillian Wilson with original music by Gordon Johnston, the only place anyone in Peterborough should be is at Showplace on October 18 to, for the first time in history, experience the thrill of time travel!
Trent @ 50 in Story and Song is “a lively history of Trent with references to contemporary events in the wider world, and including readings from authors associated with Trent, and songs of the decades,” said Johnston.
To show Trent over the years in an artistic way seemed like a natural fit for the three collaborating artists as Peterborough has an enormous amount of talent with an incredibly active arts community. As Trent is such a large part of Peterborough, to create such a performance is an opportunity to show that talent off. “Also the performing arts are an especially good way of celebrating the occasion and ourselves, and a good way to poke fun at ourselves, to have a laugh,” says Johnston.
McMaster and Wilson have put on similar productions involving story, song, and visual images, so when it came to Trent’s 50th anniversary they were approached based on their experience in the field.
“It’s a huge task because there is so much history to put into such a short piece,” explained Wilson. The idea of this performance was not only to portray the history of Trent, but also to put it into the context of the times.
“We started about a year and a half ago to meet and put together the idea of what we were going to do, and then I wrote the script. It has had many, many, many revisions,” remarked McMaster.
For anyone who has ever written a story, or a play, or a poem, or an essay, or basically anything, they know how long the process can take. But what happens when you have the final copy—when the revising and the tweaking is done—is magical. Luckily for us, McMaster and everyone involved with the production are going to share their little piece of magic with us.
“We have some hugely talented people in the show who are doing the singing and so on. And we have some really, really funny comedy,” says McMaster. Trent @ 50 in Story and Song involves many performative media that together create a lighthearted show.
Something that was important to McMaster and Wilson was to have members of the Trent community involved with the show.
Current students, faculty, alumni, and even Don Tapscott, Trent’s chancellor, are all involved. Rumour has it that Tapscott has reunited the band that he had at Trent back in the 60s. Now that is something to see! Also in the show, making his entertainment debut, Mr. President—Leo Groarke.
The piece creates instant nostalgia, not only by using songs of the decades but because it brings people back to Trent and combines them with the people and students who are experiencing Trent now.
“Through Cultural Studies and in other ways, the university is deeply involved in the world of pop culture…it recognizes the world of performance in the honorary degrees it has awarded…to people like Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah Polley, Mary Walsh, Tom Jackson, Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster,” said Johnston. For this show, Johnston has also written a school song, which is titled ‘Trent in out Hearts’.
Trent has a wonderful, fun, and incredible history, and Wilson and McMaster believe that it is important that the community knows what it is. “We are hoping that it will appeal to people other than just Trent and particularly to the students at Trent,” says Wilson.
So without further ado, I shall leave you with this: go see this show. One night only, on October 18 at 8pm, put on your boots and travel through time.
Every single person involved with this show has put in an incredible amount of work to create a comprehensive piece, and this is the only chance to experience the spectacle. This is the final copy.