1837: The Farmers' Revolt

837: The Farmers’ Revolt by Rick Salutin and Theatre Passe Muraille.

This is an epic Canadian story about a rebellion whose reverberations helped build the very Canada we know today. At its core, this is a play about farmers who distrust the government of the day, and rise up to take them down. Fighting against a class of entitled would-be aristocrats, the farmers in the play are frontier people, eager to break the bonds of tyranny, and forge their own country, free of British rule.

It’s redcoats versus rebels, the Queen’s standing army versus the enraged hewers of wood, right up to the fiery showdown at Montgomery’s Tavern.

Featuring incredible turns by the likes of local historic titans Van Egmond, Tiger Dunlop, and William Lyon Mackenzie, this is a play that was born here, and helped inspire the creation of the Festival, and yet has never been produced on our mainstage.

“Many of you have heard me tell the now infamous story of the first group of actors who rehearsed in Blyth Memorial Community Hall and had to sign waivers in case the roof fell in on their heads…back before the Blyth Festival was born… before the community saved the building…well… 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt is the show those actors were working on at the time, with a young upstart, hardly known and heavily bearded director named Paul Thompson.

Bringing it back to the Blyth Festival stage is the realization of a long arc. Fact is though, the themes of this play (and the themes of the would-be revolution itself) still persist in this part of the world today. Never hard to find a farmer who doesn’t harbour at least a little distrust for the government.” Gil Garratt.