Peter Boychuk’s Shelter From The Storm Recieves Staged Reading In London

In June of 2012 Touchstone’s Flying Start program, a collaboration with the Firehall Arts Centre and PTC, premiered Shelter from the Storm by Vancouver playwright Peter Boychuk. The play told the story of a Vietnam draft evader who ends up taking in a traumatized young American soldier who is deserting his post in Iraq. The production received critical praise as well as winning a Jessie award (Outstanding Set Design, Small Theatre – Pam Johnson). We are very excited to share that Shelter from the Storm recently received a staged reading London. Here is a write up from playwright Peter Boychuk, who made the trip to attend the reading:

Hello all,

A few of you were asking about the reading of Shelter from the Storm in London, so I thought I’d do one of these lame group emails about it. It was an amazing whirlwind trip, filled with many pints of beers and some bunch of amazing shows, including an incredible stage adaptation of one of my favourite books, the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

The reading of Shelter from the Storm was organized by a group that used to be called the North American Actors Association and was recently re-branded as American Actors UK (apparently London theatres don’t want to hire Canadian actors, hence the rebrand). The playreading festival has been happening for many years. It was designed as a way to both showcase their membership of actors, as well as introduce new plays to London. I received a Canada Council travel grant to attend. The letter saying that the grant was approved arrived the morning I was catching my flight.

The venue was the Tristan Bates Theatre, this great little 70-seat theatre in London’s West End. The Mousetrap, the world’s long-running theatre show (sixty-five years and counting!) was playing a few doors down. It was a rehearsed stage reading, which meant that the actors have script in hand, but there was some simple blocking and sound effects. The theatre was packed – I think there were only about five or six empty seats.

The cast were all expats. Ironically, Canadians actors played the two American roles (Rick and Scott) and an American played the Canadian role (Caitlin). Spencer Irwin, who played Scott, is actually from Vancouver Island. Robert S. Glade, from Winnipeg, and Christy Meyer, from Houston, were both fantastic. A woman named Orna Klement read out the stage directions.

The reading went really well. Manchestor-native Paul Blinkhorn was the director and used a bunch of Canadian songs as pre-show and post-show music (“Post-war Blues” by Vancouver’s own Dan Mangan and “Devil’s Got a Gun” by Whitehorse for the music lovers). Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and there is talk of doing the play as a radio play.

I’ve attached photos of the reading and the venue. Wish you all could have been there.




L-R: Paul Blinkhorn, Peter Boychuk, Orna Klement, Robert S. Glade, Christy Meyer, Spencer Irwin

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Tristan Bates Theatre

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Tristan Bates Theatre

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The stage reading inside Tristan Bates Theatre

Flying Start’s aims to give a stage to new plays by BC playwrights and every two years, selects a playwright to receive development resources to take a specific script to production readiness, culminating in a fully professional production. The next Flying Start production is The Concessions by Briana Brown, a haunting piece of Canadian gothic centred around an inexplicable act of violence in a rural community. It opens June 6, 2014 at the Firehall Arts Centre.

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