The Listening Stage


Common Boots Theatre in partnership with BALANCE for Bling Adults presents

The Listening Stage

The Listening Stage was a digital initiative of performances, workshops, and readings developed in partnership with BALANCE for Blind Adults. 

Assassinating Thomson

Created and Performed by Bruce Horak

Presented by Common Boots Theatre 

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:30 pm (EST)
Live streamed via Zoom

Evening hosted by Kesta Graham (Artistic Producer)

Introduced by Deborah Gold Executive Director, BALANCE for Blind Adults

Technical and Access Support by Troy Taylor & Chloe Thibault 

With Assassinating Thomson, blind artist Bruce Horak tells the story of The Way I See It, through the tale of Canadian painter Tom Thomson’s unsolved murder, and the subsequent rise of The Group of Seven. The mystery takes you from the tiny community of Canoe Lake, to the hallowed halls of our nation’s capital, and eventually on to the World stage.

When Bruce performs this piece live, he paints a portrait of the audience in attendance at that performance. This painting was inspired by the memory of what the audience looks like from the main stage of Tarragon Theatre, the last live presentation in Toronto. Acrylic on wood panel. 

Following the performance, Alex Bulmer and Bruce Horak will talk art, performance, and blindness with the audience.

To learn more about Bruce, or to browse his gallery of portraits and available works, please visit his website.

The Story

By Martha Ross

“This year, we are delighted to offer a new way to gather–which is actually an old way–around the radio…This is a story about creating light and warmth at the darkest time of year and it is about coming together to protect and commit to the most vulnerable.” 

–  Jennifer Brewin, Globe Theatre Artistic Director

Many of us are missing our annual winter/holiday theatre traditions, but thanks to our friends and partners at the Globe Theatre, we are very pleased to be able to share this gift with you; an audio version of The Story by Martha Ross, co-founder of Common Boots, directed by former Artistic Director Jennifer Brewin.

Common Boots presented The Story as outdoor winter theatre in 2011 and 2012 at the Evergreen Brickworks and again in 2017 at Christie Pits. We are pleased to be able to support the presentation of this audio production. 

We invite you to join us by tuning in, or downloading the recording, or taking The Story for a walk in your ears  through your favourite park. 

The Story will be broadcast on 620 CKRM at 7 PM on Dec 24 and 8 AM and 7 PM on Dec 25.  Please note this is Central Standard Time. 

The audio recording was made available December 26 – January 1.

Martha Ross’ The Story imagines the Nativity as a parable for modern times. This play follows three wise men as they navigate a complicated world of comical shepherds, imperial soldiers, charming thieves, a bumbling angel, a deranged tyrant, and a lost choir. They are all in search of a headstrong young woman, whose baby — the poorest of the poor — will be born in a barn but is honoured by Kings and will become a symbol of transformation and renewal. Full of humour and warmth, this retelling of the classic Nativity story is unlike anything you’ve heard before!

Actra Toronto Logo. Both words are capitalised and in white text. ACTRA is against a black background and Toronto is against a light blue background.