ALWAYS BREAKING NEW GROUND
Firebrand’s award winning show Beneath Springhill looks to the African Canadian man Maurice Ruddick who inspired his co-workers through song and prayer to stay alive while trapped for nine days in a mining shaft in Springhill, Nova Scotia. The 1958 mine collapse killed 74 men and ended Springhill's tenure as a large-scale mining town. Beau Dixon’s play Beneath Springhill brings Ruddick back to the forefront through invigorating storytelling, characters and song. Firebrand has also brought Viola Desmond to the front line; a strong-willed Black businesswoman living in the 1940s who experienced oppression. This true story raises awareness about the reality of Canadian segregation. Firebrand also celebrates the historical “firsts” such as George Dixon, the first African Canadian to win a pro boxing title—a man respected for his grace and power—and Bessie Coleman, the first African-American (and woman) to get her international pilot’s license. Bessie was a pioneer of flight who paved the way for future Africans to go after their dreams.