Tent Meeting: A Brief History

June 16, 2016

'Tent Meeting' returns to Rosebud Theatre for the third time, a play with as rich a history as the music it celebrates. Repeatedly nominated for notable awards in major theatre centres, ‘Tent Meeting’ has travelled across Canada and been produced across North America; striking a chord with its recollection of times when tents were raised in small towns and revivals of the heart were inspired by spirit-filled songs.  Here’s a brief history of the events that shaped this remarkable show.

1984: Vineyard Theatre, Edmonton. A newly formed theatre company, with Morris Ertman as playwright(!) writes a story with selected songs from his mother’s extensive and well-worn collection of gospel music. Premiering in the church hall of Knox Evangelical Free Church (near the Edmonton Fringe Festival), it later moved to Calgary, playing at the Pumphouse.

CAST: Janet Hogarth, Kevin Smith, Colin Murdock, Bob Rose, Tim Dixon.
DIRECTOR: Morris Ertman

Poster Design for Pacific Theatre's Tent Meeting, 1997

1996: Long-time enthusiast of the show, friend of Morris, and Artistic Director/Playwright Ron Reed jumps on-board. Morris & Ron co-write the next stage of the script, developing & refining the story for a Pacific Theatre production.

Ron Reed in Pacific Theatre's Tent Meeting, 1997. Photo by Morris Ertman.

1997: Pacific Theate, Vancouver.  Tent Meeting (as we now know it) premieres.  

CAST: Karen Parent, Ron Reed, Don Noble, Jonathan Bruce, Francis Boyle.
DIRECTOR: Morris Ertman.

Jonathan Bruce in Pacific Theatre's Tent Meeting, 1997. Photo by Morris Ertman.

1998: Brookstone Performing Arts, Toronto. Tent Meeting receives 4 Dora Nominations for Outstanding New Play/Musical, Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Actor, and Outstanding Production.

CAST: Karen Parent, Kent Staines, Dean Holland, Jonathan Bruce, Allan Moon.
DIRECTOR: Morris Ertman

1999: Production by AD Players, Houston TX

1999: Production by Persephone Theatre, Saskatoon SK

1999: Production by Station Arts Centre, Rosthern SK

2000: Production by Primestock Theatre, Red Deer AB

Blinding Light Productions' Tent Meeting. Royal Sproule, Seana Lee Wood, Neil Minor, Jonathan Bruce, Tom Pickett.  Photo by Morris Ertman

2000: Blinding Light Productions. The show begins a Western Canada tour, launching from Pacific Theatre (Vancouver) to Chemainus Theatre (Vancouver Island), Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnepeg), The Kaasa Theatre (Edmonton), The Pumphouse Theatre (Calgary), and Rosebud Theatre(!) for a limited 2 week run. It receives both Jesse Award (Vancouver) and Sterling Award (Edmonton) nominations for Best Musical.

CAST: Seana Lee Wood, Royal Sproule, Tom Pickett, Jonathan Bruce, Neil Minor.
DIRECTOR: Morris Ertman.

Poster design for Blinding Light Productions Tent Meeting, Pacific Theatre

2001: Production by Bluewater Summer Playhouse, ON

David Snider & Deborah Buck in Rosebud Theatre's Tent Meeting, 2007.  Photo by Morris Ertman.

2007: Rosebud Theatre produces its first full-run production of the show.  

CAST: Deborah Buck, David Snider, Travis Friesen, Jonathan Bruce, Stephen Waldschmidt.
DIRECTOR: Morris Ertman

2009: Production by Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta GA

2009: Production by Lyric Music Theatre of Regina, SK

2016: Rosebud Theatre. By popular demand,Tent Meeting returns!
CAST: Jonathan Bruce, David Snider, Seana Lee Wood, Declan O’Reilly, Blair Young.
DIRECTOR: Morris Ertman.

2016: Morris completes the final draft of a screenplay funded in part by the Alberta Motion Picture Development Fund.  Mighty Motion Pictures coordinates, seeking investment and distribution for the film with plans to shoot in the summer of 2017

Tent Meeting: A Brief History

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