Alan Doyle’s original musical, Tell Tale Harbour, to premier at the Charlottetown Festival

Written by Neil Squires. Directed by Mark Carliner. Based on a true story. Alan Doyle, of the acclaimed band Great Big Sea, is the newest voice to be brought to the theatre with the…

Alan Doyle’s original musical, Tell Tale Harbour, to premier at the Charlottetown Festival

Written by Neil Squires. Directed by Mark Carliner.

Based on a true story.

Alan Doyle, of the acclaimed band Great Big Sea, is the newest voice to be brought to the theatre with the world premiere of Neil Squires’ new original musical, Tell Tale Harbour. Due to première at the Charlottetown Festival in July 2019, Doyle brings his talents to this song cycle as a solo artist, covering folk ballads from the 1800s, to the context of the trade routes from Europe to North America. Tell Tale Harbour will also mark Doyle’s return to the Shaw Festival, where he was a major actor/musician before his success with Great Big Sea.

Neil Squires

This new musical was first seen in a sold-out 2013 world premiere run at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Originally written as a 10-minute short theatre piece for theatres, commercial television and radio, Tell Tale Harbour is now adapted as a musical with a cast of 12 performers (seven in the pit band). The story, by author Neil Squires, was adapted by Music Theatre Canada’s Cameron Knox to tell the story of life, love and fate; telling tales of people who migrate here with dreams of happiness.

Alan Doyle

Stephen Pearce Quartet

With Great Big Sea as performers, plus Alan Doyle on guitar and vocals, this will be the first major Canadian theatre work for Doyle. It’s a combination of storytelling through song and incorporates the winning elements from his work with Great Big Sea. On set as the ferry that day, the actors take the audience on a journey and tell stories about the convicts as well as the owners of the ship who don’t end up liking what they found.

The story is framed as a coming-of-age story, as a young woman, the daughter of a convict father and a mother who had left him and his 12 children behind years earlier, is forced to face her future. As she makes her way towards the voyage, she begins to understand what her hopes and wishes were.

Storytelling through song and found footage played through to multiple variations of narrative, and a unique set design with cabins that look like ghost ships, will challenge the audience to hold on and follow these characters.

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