Canada Boys play finally ready after 'heartbreaking' cancellation

A scene from fEAST Theatre's The Canada Boys. 

A scene from fEAST Theatre's The Canada Boys. - Credit: Supplied by fEAST

The tale of two brothers who are tempted to leave Norwich's mustard trade for an unknown future in Canada is to finally be told on stage. 

fEAST theatre's production of the play The Canada Boys is about to tour venues around Norfolk and Suffolk, more than two years after it was originally scheduled but delayed due to the pandemic. 

Dawn Finnerty, artistic director, said of the delay: "It was heartbreaking. We had a great cast and a wonderful production ready to go on the road and suddenly it was all gone.

"At the time we thought we might be able to tour later that summer but of course that wasn’t to be."

A scene from fEAST Theatre's The Canada Boys. 

A scene from fEAST Theatre's The Canada Boys. - Credit: Supplied by fEAST

The Canada Boys is a 'sad comedy' set in Norwich in 1912 when the mustard firm Colman’s, concerned by rising unemployment in the city, offers its workforce a once-in-a life-time opportunity to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic.

The British Dominion of Canada is desperate for workers to help farm the vast plains of Ontario and those Norwich men brave enough to sign on would receive a new pair of boots, a travelling suitcase, two complete sets of underwear and a ticket to the New World.

Based on true events, the play by Rob John tells the story of Jack and Eddie Craske, two brothers who had never ventured further west than Wymondham but are tempted to step into the unknown. 

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In April 1912, 18 Colman’s workers actually took up the offer and made that life-changing voyage to Quebec. Will the Craske brothers be among them?

A scene from fEAST Theatre's The Canada Boys. 

A scene from fEAST Theatre's The Canada Boys. - Credit: Supplied by fEAST

The production features Nimmo Twins star Owen Evans, and its run will start at the Wells Maltings on February 3-4.

Other performances will be: St Georges, Great Yarmouth, February 5;  Aylsham Town Hall, February 10-11; Sedgeford Village Hall , February 12; The Seagull, Lowestoft, February 17; The Garage, Norwich, February 18-19; Westacre Theatre, February 20; Beccles Public Hall, February 23; Diss Corn Hall, February 24; Old Buckenham Village Hall; February 25; Southwold Arts Centre, February 26; The Cut, Halesworth, March 4; Sheringham Little Theatre, March 5.