Studio Ensemble sheds new light on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic

VICTORIA, B.C. — ‘Company C’ Studio Ensemble continues its 2019-2020 season on November 28, when it opens what promises to be a compelling production of Unity (1918), Kevin Kerr’s2002 Governor General’s Literary award-winning play.

Director Glynis Leyshon, marking her fourth collaboration with the Studio Ensemble, says she feels honoured to have been invited to direct what she describes as “a stunning portrait of a community under siege” and a Canadian theatre classic.

Set in the small, close-knit Saskatchewan town of the title at the end of the First World War, this play explores the relationship between love, fear, and death during the Spanish flu outbreak when war-weary locals are welcomed home. Part Gothic romance and part pandemic horror story, Unity (1918) seeks to present thrilling and comedic storytelling to audiences through a profound and contagious script.

“With humanity and life-affirming humour, Kevin creates a world of love and grace in the darkest of circumstances — a world where youthful passions and innocent dreams collide with a world torn apart by war and disease,” says Leyshon, whose previous productions with the Studio Ensemble include Dangerous Liaisons (2012), Sense and Sensibility (2014) and Ruddigore (2017). Leyshon, former artistic director of Victoria’s Belfry Theatre and Vancouver’s Playhouse Theatre Company also has a longstanding relationship directing for Pacific Opera Victoria.

As part of the creative process, playwright Kevin Kerr met with the “Company C” Studio Ensemble students at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, 1701 Elgin Road, where Unity (1918) will be presented in its Performance Hall.

Kerr, co-founder of Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre, discussed the writing process and his inspirations, which enriched the students’ artistic process and provided an inspired learning opportunity.

The cast of this unique rendition of a timeless piece of Canadian theatre features 13 actors, all of whom appear onstage and work behind the scenes.

What Unity (1918)
Who ‘Company C’ Studio Ensemble
When Thurs., Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 29, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 30, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 1, 2 p.m.
Where: Performance Hall, Canadian College of Performing Arts, 1701 Elgin Rd.

Ticket Prices
Adults: $27.50
Seniors (65+): $23.50
Under 30: $18.50
Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 250-595-9970.

Nov. 30, 2 p.m.: CCPA presents its second relaxed performance of the season. It describes a performance that is open to everyone, but is intended to be particularly welcoming of anyone who may find the theatre environment challenging.
To learn more, visit or call 250-595-9970.

Michael D. Reid
Public Relations Liaison

Company C is the third-year Applied Performing Arts Diploma Program at The Canadian College of Performing Arts. Sixteen students develop and mount three shows in five months, all while executing a production role for each one (i.e. sets, lighting, wardrobe and so on). They work with three different directors and learn how to run their own theatre collective.

The Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA) offers quality training in a broad spectrum of skills which will prepare students for careers in the performing arts locally, nationally or internationally. For more information visit