Q&A: The Journey – A Living History of the Regent Park Revitalization

Local performers Steve Harmony and Britta B talk about their roles in this musical tale of transformation

Presented by Artscape in partnership with The Daniels Corporation
Written by Mitchell Cohen with script adaption by Anne-Marie Woods

Trevlyn Kay (left), Britta B (centre) and Steve Harmony (right). Photo by Linda Marie Stella.

The Journey – A Living History of the Regent Park Revitalization celebrates Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood throughout the years and leading up to its current revitalization.

Beginning as a fundraiser for Daniels Spectrum, The Journey features a multi-talented group of up-and-coming artists and young people from the community who share the stage and receive personal mentorsip from veteran performers such as award-winning jazz and blues vocalist Jackie Richardson (Big Mama, The Willie Mae Thornton Story), acclaimed pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo, gospel songstress Lisa Henry and stage veteran Jeremiah Sparks (The Lion King; Drum).

In order to encourage community discussion and engagement, Artscape and The Daniels Corporation have designated the June 19 performance as a free community presentation for people who live and/or work in Regent Park. 

Here, we chat with two of the cast/community members, Britta B (2013 Toronto International Poetry Slam Champion) and R&B singer-songwriter Steve Harmony, about their experiences working on this inspiring project.

Theatromania: Tell us about The Journey. We’ve heard the show incorporates lots of different elements like spoken word, theatre and dance – what’s your favorite part of the show?

SH: Music is my favorite part of the show because that’s my main discipline and I enjoy being able to showcase my passion through singing and acting.

BB: There’s a scene with Steve and Jeremiah that captures a complicated relationship between father and son. It’s my favourite part of the show because I love how the music and spoken word really shift the show to a personal and thought-provoking level.

Theatromania: You both have different performance backgrounds and different connections to the Regent Park community. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be a part of The Journey, and what this project means to you personally?

SH: I became a part of The Journey through Mitchell Cohen, the show’s writer, who I worked with previously on other unrelated music projects and it blossomed from there. It is personal to me because I grew up in Regent Park and I have witnessed, and even been a part of the revitalization process through working in construction.

BB: In early 2013, I met Anne-Marie Woods (our director) at Dwayne Morgan’s spoken word event called When Sisters Speak, and then I met Trevlyn a day or so after at a Word Up event also directed by Anne Marie. Shortly after, we were sitting in Daniels Spectrum working out the first rough draft of the script. Kismet. For me, it’s always been about having a bond worth celebrating with the community, art-wise and location-wise. I care a lot about working with people who care about people.

Theatromania: How do you hope the community will respond to the performances?

SH: I hope the community grasps the messages that are being portrayed throughout the show. I also hope that they as a community can connect and relate to the show through the inspirational stories that shows how Regent Park rose out of the ashes to become a beautiful, united community.

BB: With positivity, of course! I also hope that it stirs an enthusiasm out of the public to contribute and learn more about the programs and people of Regent Park. There is so much talent and opportunity to get involved here!

Theatromania: What has been the best part of this experience so far?

SH: The development of the whole play has been great. The best part has been meeting and working with old and new people, and being able to showcase the stories that are fictional but based on true events. 

BB: The way we treat one another. Every day we come to rehearsal, the first 10-15mins is full of hugs, catching up and sharing laughs. It’s a very unique factor to the experience that I am truly going to miss.

The Journey – A Living History of the Regent Park Revitalization is on stage June 19 and 20 at at the Ada Slaight Hall located in the community cultural hub, Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East). Visit journeyregentpark.ca for more information.

Show Dates: 
Fri, 2015-06-19 - Sat, 2015-06-20


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