It’s been years in the making, but Northern Tapestry – A Lost World is about to premier in Qualicum Beach.
The multimedia show, set to music written and performed live by Geoff Noble, and narration and poetry recitations by Noble and Susan Shillingford, provide 396 views of Canada via projections.
Some of the images are paintings, some are photos, others are sculptures, but they all have some aspect of Canada as their core, and they all to speak to the song or poetry being performed, said Noble and Shillingford.
That’s what Shillingford finds fascinating, she said. “It’s almost like… when you are reading a book to somebody and you turn the page and you look at the picture… What’s fun is the paintings and the photographs seem to enrich the songs, and the lyrics seem to enrich the pictures.”
The show, which the pair have been performing some form of for the last three years, is a sort of distillation of their love of Canada and Noble’s past work writing songs and putting together multimedia packages for school children ahead of trips to national parks.
“I’ve always found that I’ve been drawn to writing songs about, well not only history, but landscape and natural history and so-forth,” said Noble.
One of Noble’s earlier songs used in the performance is from 1982 – “One More Pull” – and is about the west coast tugboat industry from Alaska down to Northern California.
While much is made of the vastness and beauty of Canadian landscapes in the show, the pair note that they don’t shy away from touchier topics, like the oilsands, or mining in Sudbury, Ont., depicted with aerial photographs by Edward Burtynsky.
But it’s not a political show, said Noble. Rather, it has something for everyone. Canadians will see and hear a bit of their Canada or their grandparents’ Canada, and visitors get a look into the nation they are visiting.
Noble and Shillingford say they are very excited to premier the completed Northern Tapestry performance for the first time in their home community, and for it to be a fundraiser for the ECHO Players — a group they joined last year.
“It’s such an enthusiastic theatre group. It’s kind of nice to be able to give something to them that we have,” said Shillingford.
The cross-Canada tour of the show begins May 18 in Vancouver, but not before a pair of shows at the Village Theatre on March 31 and April 1. For more information, visit online at echoplayers.ca.