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Livestream event: Pat Henman’s personal memoir of hope, trauma takes on a new life during lockdown

On Friday, April 16 the Trail & District Arts Council virtually presents Beyond the Legal Limit, a theatrical performance with music based on the adaptation of Nelson's Pat Henman’s memoir of the same name. 

Part storytelling, part concert, Henman tells the story of trauma and recovery in this unique and passionate one act drama with original music.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in June 2013, performer, and singer Pat Henman, was driving home on the highway with her 19-year-old daughter, Maia, when they were struck head-on by a drunk driver. 

Although both survived, their physical injuries remain, and the emotional toll on their well-being and that of their family has become a story that inspired Pat to share in the only way she knew how — on stage with songs that express the intensity and the joy of a life changing event.

The memoir was adapted by Canadian playwright and Genie Award nominee, Kelly Rebar, a friend of Pat’s and resident of Nelson for more than 20 years.

Kelly says, “Adapting from written text to a stage presentation was attractive to me in that it allowed for the potential of a dynamic reading, the incorporation of music, and the opportunity for the writer to have her story reach a wider audience. My aim was to bring elements of the story together in such a way that the book was served, but also the presentation.”

Canadian musician/composer and musical theatre director Konrad Pluta, who has worked with Henman on several past projects, composed the original music.

Konrad said, “What attracted me to this project was the challenge of musically enhancing a story which already stood on its own, was compelling and fully formed; to attempt to compose music and lyrics which would not detract but find a new way into the story,”

Theatre Director, writer and performer, Tracey Power is well known as a BC artist, with her recent premier of GLORY, inspired by the true story of the Preston Rivulettes, winning the Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play.

Henman had been looking for a theatre director who did not know her or her story, to have a fresh perspective on the piece.

After having a few conversations with Power, who is now based in Kamloops, the two decided they were a good fit. 

“Pat’s bravery in sharing her story with others in the hopes of making a difference in other people’s lives is extremely important to me.”

Working during the pandemic by Zoom and phone has been a challenge but all four of the team were committed to the project.

“The chance to do it during the past year when all live theater work had been wiped off the map has been an artistic lifeline,” says Konrad.

Henman is joined on stage by two artists who hail from Nelson.

Sydney Black is a well-known performing artist as well as a producer (Black Productions) producing musicals such as Mamma Mia! and Cabaret. Robyn Lamb attended McGill University and Vancouver Community College, studying classical music.

Lamb was recently seen as musical director for Mamma Mia! and will be showcased in her one woman show, Me, Myself and Ireland, at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson. 

Henman describes the importance of music in her story.

“Theatre is storytelling; musical theatre adds an extra element that supports the text, a thread that connects thoughts, driving the plot. Music can express what sometimes the spoken word can’t always do. Konrad’s songs are wildly dramatic and emotional. I get goose bumps listening to them.”

Henman is a veteran of Canadian theatre as actor, singer, and director, with radio, television and film credits spanning over a 40-year career in the performing arts. Her most recent theatre credit is for directing Mamma Mia! in Nelson, BC, and the last time Pat was on stage acting was in The Gin Game in 2017.

Created with support from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, the Amy Ferguson Institute, the Nelson Civic Theatre Artist in Residence Program, the Nelson and District Credit Union, the Nelson and District Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts, Beyond the Legal Limit is a unique project developed entirely during the Covid-19 crisis.

For this and other Bailey Theatre’s livestreaming shows there is Pick-your-Pricing ticketing. For a virtual ticket to this show the scale is $0 (Supported) to $50 (Supportive), valid for a household. Tickets may be purchased online at thebailey.ca or by phoning the Box Office at 250-368-9669 from Monday to Friday from 12-4 pm.

The 6 Beats Apart Series is sponsored by Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Century 21, McEwan Law, Trail Beer Refinery and Teck Metals Ltd. Our programming is made possible thanks to funding from the Government of British Columbia, BC Arts Council, BC Touring Council, Canadian Heritage, and the Vancouver Foundation.

Disclaimer: This show has some sensitive material content regarding a violent crime.