Posted on Feb 27, 2012
Creator: Allen Cole
Nominator: Mary Lou Martin
Rockbound is a musical play composed and written by Allen Cole and produced and presented by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre (premiering in July 2009). Cole’s brilliant adaptation of Frank Parker Day’s 1928 novel about two feuding fishing families on a Nova Scotian island combines gritty dialogue, lyrical solos and strongly rhythmic ensembles to drive the story forward. Gripping and pungent, the work exudes authenticity in its portrayal of this Atlantic community. Its main characters are well-defined by individuated vocal lines, while its small (but mighty) cast is economically deployed in instrumental and choral groups that seamlessly integrate the contrasting events – romantic, humorous, tragic — of the drama. Rockbound was nominated for seven, and won five, Merritt Awards for excellence in Nova Scotian theatre in 2010.
Brief bio: Alan Cole was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and currently resides in Toronto where he teaches musical Theatre at Ryerson University. He has worked across Canada variously as a composer (of opera, musical theatre, film scores, incidental music), as well as a lyricist and writer on musical theatre. Among numerous awards, Cole’s work has been nominated for 15 Dora Awards (winning five), Best Film Score (Atlantic Film Festival 2003) and five Merritt Awards for Rockbound. Two Planks and a Passion Theatre was originally a small but innovative itinerant theatre company based in rural Nova Scotia, and now presents larger-scaled outdoor summer Theatre at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts in Canning, Nova Scotia.