Three women sneak into an empty and abandoned locomotive repair shop, their former employ during World War II. They revisit the world of the machines that temporarily held them captive, and re-experience the challenges of life on the Homefront.
Ladies of the CNR is a vignette inspired by a powerful wartime photograph with the provocative caption: “Ladies of the CNR Shops, Stratford 1944.”
The project is conceived by Kelly McIntosh, actor, director, and devisor of theatre. Kelly brings her experience of creating shows through research/interview techniques learned from director Paul Thompson of Farm Show fame. Their collaboration credits include The Outdoor Donnellys, Death of a Hired Man, and Hippie for the Blyth Festival. Kelly has worked in theatres across the country and acted in the inaugural production of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Stacy Smith is an actor, arts educator and theatre-maker. She’s worked in theatres throughout the country and extensively in television and film. She was nominated for a Genie award for her work in the film New Waterford Girl. She recently completed a run of The Ladies Foursome at Theatre Aquarius and Drayton Entertainment.
Baptiste Neis is a graduate of Concordia University’s Acting Program with a Drama For Human Development specialization. Baptiste most recently co-facilitated a community puppet capacity building project in Newfoundland with David Lane of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop. A founding member of the Clever Crones, she presented a new work in development at Springworks 2016, The Baker’s Daughter.
Jody Satchell, crew/performer: Jody is a Perth County Organic Farmer, and works as a carpenter at the Stratford Festival Scenic Shops.
Heather Davies provides directorial assistance for the vignette. Heather’s directorial credits span across North America, the UK Germany and Spain. Filling a variety of directing roles Heather has worked with an impressive list of theatre companies that includes the Stratford Festival, The Grand Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company. Upcoming: Colours in the Storm at The Grand, London ON
Early dramaturgical/ research assistance by Elizabeth Davidson.
Kelly McIntosh explains how ‘Ladies of the CNR’ relates to the theme of Unharvested Histories:
Many people have sought me out to share their stories and to encourage me to continue. The shops are a big deal in Stratford. For one, they loom, empty, cavernous, dangerous, unresolved. Most locals I meet are connected one way or another through a family member. I see this story not just as a Stratford story, but a national story, and of women, and a perspective on our involvement with industry not unlike the Bomb Girls and Riveters. But for the lone photograph who would have remembered them? Our aim is to share and celebrate these women, who rose to the occasion, to a moment in history where necessity bent the gender lines. Many of their descendants tell me oh mum never talked about that, I didn’t even know there was a photograph, isn’t that something?