Committed to giving life to stories that inspire the lives
of Canadian youth today
WHAT WE DO
Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story, Created and Performed by Beau Dixon
Beau Dixon is a multi-award winning playwright, actor, composer and sound designer. As a playwright he has been commissioned by Arbor Theatre (From Here to Africville); Heritage Pavilion (Once a Flame and Freedom Belles); Canadian Citizenship of Immigration (Other People’s Heaven: The Viola Desmond Story) and the Prince of Wales Public School (The Lunch Club). His plays have been performed in elementary, secondary and post- secondary schools throughout Canada and many of them celebrating Black History Month. His one man musical drama Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story won him two Dora awards (Best New Play and Best Performance/ TYA Division), the Calgary Critics Award (Best Individual Performance), Calgary Critics nomination (Best Touring Play), and a Betty Mitchell nomination (Best Male Performance). In 2016 he was a KM Hunter Award finalist and was also inducted into Peterborough's Pathway of Fame for his leadership in the dramatic arts.
Michele is a Toronto based arts educator who enjoys teaching and devising new work. She comes to Toronto after seven years in Philadelphia and New York City combined. While in the United States Michele directed new plays with emerging playwrights and was asked to join the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors’ Lab and Mabou Mines theatre company under Lee Breuer. Her directing work has been seen at The Salon, New Georges, Circle Rep Lab, HERE, Dixon Place and Women’s Project and Productions and in Toronto at the Rhubarb Festival. Michele studied Drama at the University of Toronto (UCC Drama Program) and has her M.Ed. and B.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Michele currently works for the York Region District School Board in the English and Drama departments.
A MESSAGE FROM BEAU DIXON
Firebrand is committed to producing stories by Canadian playwrights and we are excited to be celebrating our eighth year as an independent theatre company. Firebrand is a company devoted to educating young people through the medium of theatre to help incite live encounters that are memorable for both the audience and actors. Our intention is to tell stories that provoke and inspire our viewers to look at life from different perspectives.
My play Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story toured Canada celebrating Black History Month throughout the 2014/15 season and returned again in the 2015/16 season. Maurice Ruddick—along with six other miners in the Cumberland Mine in Springhill Nova Scotia—were trapped for nine days. This story touches my heart deeply, not only because of the bravery and courage Maurice instilled in his fellow miners, but because he was also an accomplished musician who used music as a source of strength and hope.
Currently, we are in the process of writing a new musical play Airborne highlighting the pioneer and aviator Bessie Coleman—another courageous historical figure who didn’t allow gender or racial discrimination stop her from achieving her goals.
Please browse through our website to find out more about the variety of stories we have to offer. We thank you for your support and hope to see you at a venue near you!
a person who is passionate about a particular cause, typically inciting change and taking radical action
Firebrand Theatre is committed to giving life to stories that directly affect the lives of Canadian youth today.
We are dedicated to making these stories accessible and affordable for young audiences. We will provide teachers with inclusive curriculum packages to prepare students for the performance and will offer talk-backs after the show, allowing our knowledgeable acting company to field any questions the students may have.