Page 24 - Real Style Summer 2017
P. 24

Culture news
Live History
a new theatre troupe iS reCreating hiStory in DynamiC new wayS.
We’ve all been to museums and histori- cal sites, but what if instead of just show- casing artifacts from the past, the venue could help you actually re-live the past? Live History does just that, by re-enacting historical events at museums and other his- torical sites, bringing history to life. We spoke with Live History founder and actor Jasmine Bowen to  nd out more about it.
Where did you coMe up WiTh The idea for Live hisTory? Jasmine Bowen: I had actually been do- ing site speci c and promenade theatre for a few years and loved the uniqueness of the genre. It goes beyond the passive experience of traditional theatre. You’re really bringing the audience in and pro- viding them with an experience that feels so intimate and real. But the idea of Live History speci cally came while I was on vacation in Bermuda. Being around that history and those great historic buildings was inspirational, but it also made me re- alize that the problem of low attendance in museums was something that was inter- national. I grew up in museums as a child, thanks to arts- and culture-loving parents and grandparents, and I was worried that they wouldn’t be around in the years to come if people weren’t driven back to them. The saying is that if you don’t remember your history, you are doomed to repeat it. However, it’s not just about remembering the mistakes of the past. Re- membering your history creates identity. Who we are and where we came from is just as important as where we are going. There are so many stories that don’t get told; people who lived and breathed and yet were forgotten.
WhaT TiMe periods have
you recreaTed?
Js: With the anniversaries of World War
I and II recently, we saw a lot of venues lean towards those years. This year, our Canadian venues are looking for shows that contribute to celebrating the nation. Last year, our Irish venues focused on 1916, as it was the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The farthest we’ve gone back in history so far is 1812, but I’d like to go back earlier, perhaps even into me- dieval history.
hoW Much research goes inTo pLanning each shoW? Js: I have a small team that helps do as much research as possible. Even beyond the subject of the shows themselves, we always make sure to use era appropriate verbiage and sayings. Working in the 1900s, especially the middle bits, I can talk to people who actually lived through those events. I always make sure our cos- tumes are era appropriate as well. I have a few local costume houses that I work
with in our headquarters in Ottawa. You can also  nd a great selection visiting  ea markets and thrift stores, looking for blouses and top hats that will make our actors stand out.
hoW does iT Work?
Js: We set the “rules of the game” at the start of every show, explaining that the audience has now stepped into the time period and are part of that world with the actors, which is easy to believe when they are standing right beside you, grasping your hand as they tell you their stories. They laugh along with the actors, cry at their sorrows and create the best excuses to distract the owner of the house while looking for treasure. The best parts of the show for me are hearing what the audi- ence creates to add to the world. Since all our shows are interactive, it’s a differ- ent show every day.
Where do you see The fuTure of Live hisTory heading?
Js: Ironic as it sounds, I see us heading backwards; deeper into the past. Our company motto is “Bringing your history to life” so as we look forward to 2018 and beyond, we naturally hope to perform in more historic venues in Canada and inter- nationally. There are countless great histor- ic houses and venues we have yet to visit! We started with six venues, two countries and two actors. Now, we’re at over 50 venues this season alone, seven countries and we employ 15-plus actors to bring history to life. I want to see us continue to grow, continue to assist museums and continue to tell the lost stories.
24 Real Style Summer 2017
PhotoS, Left: Live hiStoRy, Right: aLicia cLaRke, thieRRy fRanco, tRiStan caSey, PhiLe dePRez, beLinda LaWLey

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