‘Controlled Damage’, A Play About Viola Desmond Set To Run At CBU’s Boardmore Theatre


February is African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia and this year’s theme, Seas of Struggle – African Peoples from Shore to Shore, outlines the struggles people of African Descent faced from the shores of Africa to the shores of Nova Scotia. This theme explores the adversity that was overcome and examines the effects of slavery and sea faring on African Nova Scotians. In honour of African Heritage Month, Cape Breton University’s Boardmore Theatre is hosting Controlled Damage, a play written by Andrea Scott.

Controlled Damage explores the life of Canadian civil rights icon, Viola Desmond, and how her act of bravery in a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946 started a ripple effect that is still felt today. The talented cast and crew is excited to present the show following African Heritage Month. “I am excited to be a part of teaching this history in a creative way,” says Ashley Padelt-Robinson who plays the role of Viola Desmond. “Having the opportunity to play such an iconic role model for my daughters and young African-Nova Scotian girls is truly an honour.”

The story of Viola Desmond and her bravery is an important piece of Canadian history, and Controlled Damage is Andrea Scott’s creative examination of Viola’s legacy and lasting impact. “Controlled Damage reveals the uncomfortable truth about racism in Canadian society,” says Jodi Charlene who plays the roles of Ma Macneil and Gwen. “We need to bring to light all of our shared histories, not just the stories which make us feel good. Ignorance flourishes when the truth is hidden.”

To Chris Johnstone-Laurette who plays a number of roles in the production, the experience has allowed him to learn more about Viola’s story as well. “Before this, my understanding of the Viola Desmond story was as flat as a $10 bill,” he says. “Andrea Scott brings the story to life, showing diverse perspectives and the complex socio-political upheaval that can arise from an innocent person engaging sensibly in a mundane activity.”

The production is directed by Wayne McKay and will run on Wednesday, March 1, and Thursday, March 2, at 10:00am; Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, at 7:00pm; and Sunday, March 5, at 2:00pm. The Friday show will be a pay-what-you-can performance, with entry being granted by cash or non-perishable food donations in support of the CBUSU Food Bank.

The CBU Playhouse Box Office is open Monday-Friday 1:00-5:00pm, and one hour before each show time. The box office will open one week prior to performances and during the week of performances. For ticket information, call 902-563-1652

To learn more, visit cbu.ca/boardmore.