About the Book
It’s the 1830s. Two travelling minstrels are passing north from London, Ontario, with their song and dance show on the local circuit. Having fallen afoul of the law and desperate for a night’s lodging, they stumble into the Wilberforce hotel, owned and operated by Austin Steward, the president of this stalwart black settlement.
Through turns highly comic, and deeply moving, the two musicians who have spent their showbiz careers painting their faces come to learn something life-changing about the actual black experience of early settlers in Middlesex Country at a time of exodus vs. jubilee.
Based on the autobiography of Austin Steward; The Wilberforce Hotel is the story of a brave man’s dreams , his love of family, and a threatened community’s perseverance.
News & Reviews
“Dixon’s plays tend to take audiences into a new and unexpected territory … an astute playwright with a voice of his own… ” —Toronto Star
About the Author
Sean Dixon is a novelist and playwright, a co-founder of the seminal 90s Winnipeg physical Theatre Company PRIMUS. His novels include The Girl Who Saw Everything (published in the UK as The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal) and The Many Revenges of Kip Flynn. His recent plays include Theatrefront’s The Orange Dot, (which Toronto Star‘s Karen Fricker called a “Finely nuanced observation of male-female interaction… that is part triumph, part tragedy of wronged, vengeful women”), Blyth Festival’s The Wilberforce Hotel (published by Scirocco, about a short-lived African American settlement in 1830’s Ontario) and Tarragon Theatre’s A God In Need of Help, based on the true story of four strong men who were forced to carry a painting over the Alps in the early 17th Century (GG nominated for best new play). Upcoming is a play for the Tarragon (Orphan Song) about two different species of early humans involved in the elemental experience of adoption, and a children’s picture book about a kid making a family tree. Sean lives in Toronto.