“Part theatre, part music gig, part spoken word poetry, part documentary: whatever it is, it is brilliant” Toronto Star
Innovative, award-winning Toronto artist Evalyn Parry takes her audience on an uncommon theatrical and musical journey in Spin, her tour-de-force performance celebrating the Bicycle as muse, musical instrument and agent of social change.
Spinning a web of stories that travel from 19th century women’s emancipation to 21st century consumer culture, SPIN is inspired by the incredible true tale of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1895. One part documentary and another part musical activism, Parry cleverly peels back layers of history to reveal a very contemporary heart to her theme of liberation.
Parry’s co-star is a vintage bicycle. Suspended in a mechanic’s stand on stage and outfitted with electronic pickups, the bike is played by percussionist Brad Hart, who conjures an astonishing array of sounds on his ”iron horse”, creating a richly textured and utterly unique sonic accompaniment to Parry’s songs and monologues.
Spin is staged by award-winning director Ruth Madoc-Jones with video and production design by acclaimed designer Beth Kates, and sound design concepts by Anna Friz. Also available on CD, produced by Don Kerr, Evalyn Parry and Brad Hart and nominated for a 2011 Canadian Folk Music Award in the “Pushing the Boundaries” category.
“…a welcome breath of fresh air….SPIN makes something beautiful out of taking your life into your own hands” Globe & Mail
“a show with as much heart as it possesses design and brains.” Calgary Herald
“…this magnetic artist and her winning production team invest the work with such intelligence and playfulness, it’s hard not to be charmed.” NOW Magazine
“the depth Parry gives to the concept of the bicycle through her script is quite staggering…an ingenious mixture of songs, monologues, video projection, and modern technology ” Torontoist
“Part spoken word performance, part rock concert, part political manifesto… completely awesome.” Mooney on Theatre
“Annie Londonderry’s story becomes a portal into Parry’s own life and heart and that is what gives the show such resonance.” Calgary Sun
“SPIN is polished folk performance art… the lyrics are potently lean and the arrangements, including Parry and Hart’s harmonies, are sensuously textured.” Georgia Straight
The world premiere of Spin was presented by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in association with OutSpoke Productions, in March 2011. Spin has also been presented by The Cultch (Vancouver), UnderCurrents Festival (Ottawa), PAPAYA at the Painted Bride (Philadelphia), Uno Festival (Victoria), Northern Arts and Culture Centre (Yellowknife and tour of NWT), Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse), The Capitol Theatre (Nelson, BC), The Sid Williams Theatre (Courtenay BC), Blue Skies Music Festival (Clarendon ON), The Shell Theatre (Fort Saskatchewan AB), The Red School House (Edison AB), Spruce Grove AB, Fredericton Playhouse (Fredericton, NB), Imperial Theatre (Saint John, NB), Thalian Hall (Wilmington, NC), Wingate University’s Batte Centre (Wingate, NC), The Grand Theatre (Kingston, ON), Harbourfront Theatre (Summerside PEI), Kings Theatre (Annapolis Royal, NS), Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts (Richmond Hill, ON), RiverRun Centre (Guelph, ON), Capitol Theatre (North Bay ON), Brock University Centre for the Arts (St Catharines, ON), Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts (Oakville ON), Harbourfront (HarbourKids Festival, Toronto), Sound Symposium (St John’s, NFLD), QueerActs Festival (Halifax), The Toronto Cyclists Union (Toronto), Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Almonte Cycling Month (Almonte ON), Killaloe Lions Club (Killaloe ON).
Spin was developed and created with support from Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Banff Centre, as well as all our generous individual donors.
The 2012 and 2013 Spin tours were made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council Touring Program, and 2014 tour was made possible from a Theatre Touring grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. We also acknowledge support from the Canada Council for the Arts for the upcoming 2016 tour.
Upcoming Spin performances can be found in the calendar.
Thanks to generous creative contributions of the SPIN collaborators past and present: Brad Hart, Anna Friz, Annabelle Chvostek and CD co-producer Don Kerr; Charissa Wilcox, Brendan Healy, Peter Zeutlin (check out his book about Annie Londonderry at annielondonderry.com) and Mary Goldiner. Thanks to PA Performing Arts for Young Audiences (PAPAYA) and Sebastienne Mundheim (White Box Theatre) for helping to envision and develop an extended, interactive experience around Spin for young audiences. Also thanks to Iner Souster, Simon Farla, Pearl Rachinsky, Yvonne Bambrick, Tammy Fox, Michelle Ramsay, Lindsay Anne Black, Suzanne Robertson, and all the fans and supporters who have helped Spin get on the road.
Dear Evalyn Parry, My grandmother was Annie Londonderry My cousin Peter sent me your CD. I have just finished listening to your ballad about Annie, And I want to tell you what it did for me. I had a loving relationship with my grandmother. She died when I was sixteen. But unfortunately for her […]
She thinks she wants change, but will it take a disaster before everything will move a little faster She wants to feel the difference, she wants to hold it in her hand Something hard enough to feel an impact when it lands Oh come on, come on In her dreams she’s in a […]
Dear Mr. Bicycle Thief: I’m writing to you with the belief That you are the one who stole my bike five years ago And if this letter seems somewhat delayed, it’s only since they came and took you away That I understood what I had to say, so now I’m writing to you I went […]
Spin spin spin spin spin spin Spin spin spin spin spin spin it’s easy to get dizzy in a world full of spin, when you try to keep your eyes wide open trying to see through all the stuff there is to buy into, Trying to cultivate a thicker skin, impermeable to […]
Look at us, all locked up: we are all in a row! Look at us all shopped up: we are in the mall, uh oh! I’ll take another, take a t-shirt or a sweater and so? So what if these are not our own names emblazoned on our own breast, no: They are the […]
Listen ladies, you’ve got me to thank for Letting you show a little more of your leg, your legs! I’m not talking about your shorty-shorts, your hot pants, leggings or your skinny jeans Not even in my dreams In my day, a woman couldn’t show her ankles Not even the legs of a table […]
Strange as this paradox may seem You will do this best by not trying to do it at all You must quickly make up your mind Or as quickly, be cast in yonder mud puddle Two things must occupy your thinking powers To the exclusion of every other thing: First the goal Second, the momentum […]
SHE RIDES spin me like I have already spoken like a spoke holds its tension like it’s together that the spokes are the invention of a wheel that a wheel is only as round as it’s tension that a wheel is a round invention She gets on her bicycle, She gets on her bicycle, She […]