THE PIGEON KING Comes to the Blyth Festival
The world premiere of The Pigeon King is the third show on Blyth Festival's playbill this summer and tells the tale of Arlan Galbraith, the self-proclaimed Pigeon King who was convicted of fraud in a Waterloo Court and sentenced to seven years for his preposterous Pigeon Ponzi scheme. The Pigeon King is a collaboration featuring original music all created by The Company. Directed by Severn Thompson, the show plays from August 9 to September 23. It's a country parable for our times, reminding us that what takes flight always comes home to roost.
When Arlan Galbraith created his company, Pigeon King International, he boasted some fifty-years as a top breeder; he was a member of the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union, the Canadian National Tippler Union, the National Birmingham Roller Club, and even the charter President of the Saugeen Valley Fur and Feathers Fanciers Association. When he announced he'd bred his own distinct line of high-performance racers, Strathclyde Genetics, few of his friends doubted his downy coronation. But around 2001, Galbraith began approaching local farmers and neighbours asking them to invest in a piece of the royal action. Claiming to have access to lucrative pigeon racing markets in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East, the Pigeon King began to sign ten-year contracts with guaranteed profits for buyers of his breeding pairs, promising to personally buy back all of the chicks. Over the next seven years, Pigeon King International became a massive empire, worth tens of millions of dollars, with farmers investing from both sides of the border, mortgaging century farms, and hatching hundreds of thousands of birds, only to collapse in a bankruptcy filing of epic proportions, a fraud conviction, and time behind bars.
The Pigeon King is created and performed by The Company: Rebecca Auerbach, Jason Chesworth, Gil Garratt, George Meanwell, J.D. Nicholsen, and Birgitte Solem along with Gemma James Smith and director, Severn Thompson. Severn Thompson has a long history with the Blyth Festival, most recently performing in the 2015 production of Seeds. In 2013 she directed and co-created Beyond The Farm Show as well as the previous year's The Farm: 2012 for the Young Company. Other directing credits include the 2017 Dora award-winning Peter Pan (Bad Hats Brewery Tour) and Madam Mao (SummerWorks). As an actor, Severn has appeared in plays across the country as well as on T.V. Last winter Severn toured the play Elle, which she adapted and performed, to Waterford, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. In 2016, Elle received a Dora nomination for Outstanding New Play. Severn is Blyth Festival's Associate Artistic Director.
The creative team for The Pigeon King is Steve Lucas, set and lighting designer; Gemma James Smith, costume designer; and Verne Good, sound designer. Heather Thompson is the Stage Manager and Katerina Sokyrko is the Assistant Stage Manager. Blyth Festival acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, the 2015-2017 Season Sponsor Parkland Fuels/Sparlings Propane, Season Media Sponsor CTV, and Lake Huron Chrysler (Official Vehicle).
The Pigeon King is generously sponsored by The Good Foundation (Production Sponsor) and myFM (Media Sponsor). AT A GLANCE THE PIGEON KING | August 9 - September 23 Written by The Company Directed by Severn Thompson TICKETS: $39 preferred | $35 regular | $15 youth | (Previews: $17 adults | $15 youth) BOX OFFICE: 519.523.9300 | Toll Free: 1.877.862.5984 | Online: www.blythfestival.com
DATES OF NOTE August 9 - Preview at 8pm August 10 - Preview at 8pm August 11 - Opening Night at 8pm August 31 - An informal question and answer "Talk Back" with cast members follows the 2pm matinee September 23 - Closing performance at 8pm
COUNTRY SUPPERS Selected Fridays and Saturdays - Enjoy a home-cooked meal served at a local venue at 6:15pm Tickets are $19 each and may be booked by calling the Blyth Festival Box Office SOCIAL MEDIA Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: #bfPigeon The Blyth Festival is a professional theatre that enriches the lives of its audience by producing and developing plays that give voice to both the region and the country. The theatre produces a repertory summer season of exclusively Canadian theatre, with an emphasis on new work. Blyth Centre for the Arts, including the Blyth Festival, was founded in 1975.