Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre presents: Billy Bishop Goes to War


Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre‘s latest production is Billy Bishop Goes to War, written by John Maclachlan Gray and Eric Peterson.

“It’s a musical about Canada’s First World War flying ace Billy Bishop,” says the theatre’s artistic director Brian Richmond.

Richmond still remembers the impact of this play when he saw its debut in 1978.

“All of us in the audience,” says Richmond, “knew we were witnessing Canadian theatre history in the making.  ‘Billy Bishop’ has gone on to be produced all across Canada.”

“I think it has had 150 productions, it was produced on Broadway.

“It’s great for young people just to be able to gain some kind of insight into what that experience [going to war as a young man] might have meant.”

“I don’t expect that we’ll have a lot of people who had experience with the First World War coming to the show,” adds Richmond. “But certainly they’ll have been the children, the sons and the daughters, of people who possibly served in that war.”

It’s a powerful story, and it’s performed by just one actor.

“This is the first one-man show I’ve ever done,” says actor RJ Peters, who plays the role of Bishop. “Throughout it I play about 20 different characters.”

Peters says his biggest challenge is simply endurance!

“It’s an hour and a half of music and singing and dancing and I’m talking for the whole thing!”

“But I think the other challenge is just bringing integrity to the piece, to bring honesty and integrity to this character who was actually a real person from history.”

“The story sort of follows his life as he gains some focus and becomes Canada’s, and actually the number one flying ace throughout World War One.”

“I think people are going to have a very entertaining time,” says Richmond. “The music is wonderful, the script is fantastic!  Please come out and see it!”

You can experience Billy Bishop Goes to War at 2657 Quadra Street until Nov. 4.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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