Stage Door News

Toronto: Against the Grain Theatre will develop Thomas King’s “Indians on Vacation” into an opera

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Against the Grain Theatre proudly announces Indians on Vacation, a new opera based on the novel by Thomas King composed by Ian Cusson with a libretto by Royce Vavrek. AtG, in partnership with Edmonton Opera and supported by the Yukon Arts Centre. While still in development, we are commissioning the work to be premiered in 2025.

Originally developed as a part of Edmonton Opera’s Wild Rose Project, this mini-opera adaptation of Thomas King’s novel will be expanded into a full opera starring Marion Newman as Mimi and Grant Youngblood as Bird.

Indians on Vacation will be developed over the next few years through several workshops and presentations held between the Yukon Arts Centre in Dawson City, AtG in Toronto, and Edmonton Opera. We invite our community to follow along as we grow this project from a 10 minute scene to a fully-stage, 70-minute production.

Indians on Vacation

An opera based on the Thomas King novel of the same name.

Composed by: Ian Cusson

Libretto by: Royce Vavrek

Based on the book by Thomas King

Starring: Marion Newman, Mezzo-soprano; Grant Youngblood, Baritone

Language: English

Developed in partnership with Edmonton Opera

A poignant and comedic slice-of-life of a contemporary, middle-aged indigenous couple.

In Thomas King’s Indians on Vacation, we meet a contemporary Indigenous couple: Bird and Mimi. We find the couple on a trip through Europe they decided to take after discovering a trove of old postcards from Mimi’s late Uncle Leroy, who absconded to Europe with a family heirloom 100 years ago. As the couple ventures across Europe, trying to unravel the mystery of Uncle Leroy, Bird confronts his inner demons.

Illustration: Cover of Indians on Vacation. © HarperCollins.