The Stephen Leacock Re-Tour 2017: Press Release #1

Issued during the week of September 11, 2017

Stephen Leacock’s Western Re-Tour Will Launch in Orillia

On Friday, October 20th Stephen Leacock’s “My Discovery of the West” Re-Tour will arrive in Orillia for two days of storytelling, conversation, and celebration. This event launches a much larger tour of a dozen places across western Canada until it closes with a flourish in Vancouver six weeks later.

The Re-Tour will re-trace the route of Leacock’s 1936 speaking tour, visiting Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Banff, Vancouver, and Victoria, before returning to Vancouver for the finale. The organizers are adding brief stops in Sioux Lookout and Nanaimo, in response to local interest.

The team for this unique literary adventure will consist of Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) himself, present in the spirit and through his works and ideas, accompanied by Leslie Robbins-Conway and Paul Conway, who are Voyageur Storytelling of Northern Bruce Peninsula, [Ontario].

In 1936 Stephen Leacock was making his first visit to western Canada. Afterward he wrote My Discovery of the West, which won the Governor-General’s award for non-fiction in 1937. For Leslie and Paul the Re-Tour will be a Re-Discovery, as they have travelled the region and visited all these places, some many times. Indeed, Paul lived in and worked across the region for twenty-eight years.

Stephen Leacock carried messages based on a hard-working lifetime of research, thinking, writing, public speaking and teaching. He also made people laugh. He complained that sometimes the laughter got in the way of the messages.

Some of those messages are now out of date, some resoundingly so. But the core of them retain their interest and usefulness today, especially as the turmoil of our time seems to gather strength, approaching that of his time. He viewed human affairs as an constantly shifting tangle of “Unsolved Riddles” through which we grope our way towards Social Justice and our individual dreams, which is the purpose of life. He presents this theory in an astonishing diversity of forms and approaches, a perpetual tour de force of literary and instructive ingenuity and wit.

Leslie and Paul’s messages are his, along with stories by and about him. They have unique ways of re-introducing audiences to this most diverse and fascinating man. In their concerts they tell some of the stories in straight-forward ways, as Leacock himself did and others have done, some they enact, and some they sing.

For the Unsolved Riddles they have invented a new form they call “Talk-and-Tell” where they will use the stories and his ideas to stimulate creative conversations for our time, confederations of entertainment and ideas well adapted Canada’s 150th.

You will find details of the Re-Tour at http://www.voyageurstorytelling.ca.

For further information or interviews contact Voyageur Storytelling
voyageur@bmts.com

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