If streaming services had existed in Martin Luther King's time, what would be his go-to playlist?
SONGS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
featuring the music of
Music has always been a powerful source of inspiration, strength, and perseverance. No doubt, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked tirelessly to secure equal rights for his people, he would have turned to music to boost his spirits and spur himself on. But what would have been his "jams"? What songs would have rallied him, and his followers, to take on ever-greater risks for the cause of freedom and justice?
To celebrate Culchahworks' 10th Anniversary, we remounted our 2016 production, "King's Playlist". This concert features stellar performances of classic songs from the era, performed by some of our finest artists, including Canada's Queen of Jazz and Blues, Jackie Richardson, and renowned composer/guitarist/singer Don Ross. Directed by Culchahworks' Founder and Artistic Director Andrew Craig, "King's Playlist" inspired the packed house with the passion and fervour felt by those who lived through the 1960s - those who struggled to create a fair and equitable society for all. Interspersed with these performances were highlights from Culchahworks's first decade of artfully telling stories from the Black experience.
Stay tuned to this space for video highlights, coming soon.
"Chloe=Catalyst" is the hybrid theatre/video production that tells the story of Chloe Cooley. Cooley was the enslaved Black woman at the centre of the drama that would result in the first anti-slavery legislation passed anywhere in North America - and this happened at what is now Niagara-On-The-Lake! Sunday, June 26 is the official (re)launch date. It is also the 229th anniversary of the passage of "An Act To Limit Slavery In Upper Canada" - an event prompted by Chloe's abduction. After over two centuries, Chloe (played by Shahi Teruko) finally has a voice.
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Watch the full movie now
Not able/yet willing to devote 95 minutes of your time to watching the full video? Then watch an excerpt from the movie. Choose from any of three scenes, together which will give you the essence of the story.
On the heels of an altercation between Chloe and her enslaver, William Fromond, Chloe is sent to sleep outside - in the middle of January. Though it is cold outside, Chloe's anger and defiance burns so hot that she rises from her bed and moves toward her moment of personal epiphany. Watch this tour-de-force solo performance by Shahi Teruko! Running time: 9:27
Upon learning of Chloe's abduction, Lt. Gov. John Simcoe (Isaiah Kolundzic) summons John White (Ed Pinker), William Osgoode (Cory Lipman), and other members of the Executive Council to hear testimony by Peter Martin (Jeremiah Sparks) and William Grisley (Kenzie Delo) - eyewitnesses to the event. Their testimony ultimately drives Simcoe to demand the drafting of legislation that would become the first anti-slavery law passed anywhere in the British Empire. Running time: 9:09
In a high-stakes courtroom battle, Legislative Assembly members Robert Hamilton (M. John Kennedy) and John While (Ed Pinker) debate the draft legislation "An Act To Limit Slavery In Upper Canada". moderated by William Osgoode (Cory Lipman). Lt. Gov. John Simcoe (Isaiah Kolundzic) and Peter Martin (Jeremiah Sparks) observe the proceedings intently, until Simcoe intervenes, and changes the course of history. Running time: 9:37
After a successful workshop in 2019, and an enhanced presentation in 2020, "Fish And Rum" - Andrew Craig's fictional retelling of the real-life history of illicit trade between Newfoundland and Jamaica during Prohibition - goes into another round of development, on its way to becoming an episodic web series. Many thanks to the audiences in Toronto and St. John's who attended and provided valuable feedback on the story and presentation.
Work continues on the documentary about the musical history of Toronto's Eglinton-Oakwood community - the hotbed for and birthplace of the Toronto Reggae sound during the late 1960s and early 1970s. On the heels of the wildly-successful "Titans Of Toronto Reggae" concert on March 2, 2019, Culchahworks provides not only sizzling concert footage, but also a look into the modern-day challenges faced by the community, at risk of being uprooted by the ongoing construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Stay tuned for more...