Lorna McLellan

Roaring Heart Theatre makes debut in Nanaimo

Nanaimo's newest theatre company Roaring Heart Theatre presents The December Man Jan. 5-8.

The December Man, written by Colleen Murphy, deals with the aftermath of the 1989 Montreal Massacre for a young survivor named Jean.

Jean’s elderly parents try their best to help him as he struggles with overwhelming grief.

The December Man explores issues of violence, grief, guilt and healing. During the Montreal Massacre on Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique lost their lives.

The play is being presented in Nanaimo by a new theatre company, Roaring Heart Theatre.

Roaring Heart Theatre was founded by Nanaimo resident Michael Armstrong. He said he formed the theatre company because he wanted to bring award-winning plays to life. He said some award-winning plays are produced, have a few runs, and then are put on a shelf.

“I want to do well-written Canadian work,” said Armstrong, about why he started the theatre company. “I want to do high-quality work and collaborate with high-quality performers, people who have a depth of talent and experience.”

The December Man won a Governor General’s Award for best drama in 2007 and the Carol Bolt Award in 2008.

“It deals with issues of violence in the community and those are important issues for me,” said Armstrong. “Events like the Montreal Massacre sink into social consciousness and get removed from the actual human impact because they get removed from the actual human beings involved. It deals with family and the aftermath of the event and talks about the impact on community.”

Armstrong said the play brings the issue back into reality for audience members.

“We are reminded in a way of acts of violence that ripple out into the community and touch people around us and touch us,” said Armstrong.

He is producing the play with his own money.

“This was put together on a wing and a prayer financially, it’s out of my own pocket,” said Armstrong.

The December Man shows at Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd., Jan. 5-7 at 8 p.m. at Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 available in advance from Amethyst Forest, located at 10-1925 Bowen Rd., or online at www.eventbrite.ca.

Armstrong received a masters in fine arts, specializing in play writing from the University of Victoria. He has worked for a number of years with community theatre groups, written and produced shows and taught theatre for 20 years through university and community workshops and in high schools.

For more information about Roaring Heart Theatre, please visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/roaringhearttheatre.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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