A new play by local playwright Lindsay M. Thompson debuts this week at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Running Wednesdays throughout July and August, Katharine’s Island is a historical drama about women, war, and uncovering our past through the eyes of one of Canada’s most remarkable figures – Katharine McLennan.
Katharine was central to Louisbourg’s history gaining national recognition, and dedicated herself to the founding and flourishing of the Old Sydney Society, The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum, and the Cape Breton Regional Library. Yet, not everyone is familiar with her story, or even her name. This production offers locals and visitors alike the opportunity to learn about and connect with her life and work.
Presented by Her Voice Theatre Company, Katharine’s Island tells the stories of three women–Katharine, Edith and Helen–who lived during World War I. The play time-travels with Katharine, as objects on her desk magically bring the past to life.
Over the course of the play Katharine will encounter a young Mi’kmaq girl, a Scottish midwife, a nun and a slave. The journeys of the four women reflect and parallel Katharine’s own journey with Edith and Helen overseas during the war. Each section reveals a change in Katharine, bringing her from the girl she once was to the strong woman she becomes.
Her Voice Theatre Company is a new theatre collective with a mandate to bring alternative narratives to the Cape Breton stage. The all-women cast and crew of its inaugural production feature some of the best talent the Island has to offer.
Thompson drew on her years of experience as an interpreter and performer with the Fortress to bring the voices of these women to life in a moving and dramatic way. “I feel honoured to tell these women’s stories,” Thompsom says, “and performing in a place Katharine loved and helped to rebuild connects us to her story in a deeply personal way.”
“I feel this is a wonderful opportunity for me to perform at the Fortress for the first time, especially depicting the lives of 18th Century women,” said Maura Lea Morykot, a veteran of the theatre and music scene in Cape Breton, and a passionate community organizer. “This is certainly a play that will live on for years to come.”
A dinner and theatre event, Katharine’s Island is produced in partnership with the Fortress of Louisbourg Association, Parks Canada, and the Cape Breton Regional Library. Tickets are $50 + tax and include a salmon dinner. Tickets are available for purchase online at fortressoflouisbourg.ca and at the Louisbourg Playhouse box office or by phoning 902-733-3838.