BLYTH, ON – The gripping, smash-hit, countrified romp The Pigeon King based on the outrageous true tale of Arlan Galbraith, the self-proclaimed Pigeon King convicted of fraud in a Waterloo Court and sentenced to seven years for his preposterous Pigeon Ponzi scheme, will be back on the Blyth Festival stage this summer. Part country musical, part comedy, part courtroom drama, this show has it all, leading critic Christopher Hoile to give the four stars and call it “a fascinating, highly entertaining play. ”
Premiering last summer, The Pigeon King was hard to get a ticket to, and this year the show is back better than ever. A collaboration full of original music, the play was created by a company of Blyth Festival actors based on extensive research and dozens of interviews with people directly caught up in Galbraith’s pigeon scheme. The show plays from May 30 to June 15.
The lauded, critically acclaimed show will also be traveling to Ottawa in 2019, where The Pigeon King will take its place in the nation’s capital as part of the National Arts Centre (NAC) English Theatre 2018/19 Season.
“The Pigeon King Soars” says Denny Scott, of the Citizen.
“It’s an incredible, Canadian story,” says Gil Garratt, Blyth Festival’s Artistic Director and a co-creator of The Pigeon King, “The whole thing is beyond belief. Audiences have been amazing. We haven’t done it yet without them leaping to their feet at the end.”
Around 2001, Galbraith began approaching local farmers asking them to invest in his pigeon breeding business. Claiming to have access to lucrative pigeon racing markets in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East, the Pigeon King began to sign 10-year contracts with guaranteed profits for buyers of his breeding pairs, promising to personally buy back all of the chicks.
Over the next seven years, Pigeon King International became a $40 million empire, with farmers investing on both sides of the border, mortgaging century farms, and hatching hundreds of thousands of birds, only to see it all collapse in a bankruptcy filing of epic proportions, a fraud conviction, and time behind bars.
Drawn from real life interviews, The Pigeon King is created and performed by Rebecca Auerbach, Jason Chesworth, Gil Garratt, George Meanwell, J.D. Nicholsen, and Birgitte Solem along with Gemma James Smith and director, Severn Thompson.
The creative team for The Pigeon King is: Steve Lucas, set and lighting designer; Gemma James Smith, costume designer; and Verne Good, sound designer. Stage management by Neha Ross and Victoria Wang.
The Pigeon King is a country parable for our times, reminding us that what takes flight always comes home to roost. Reserve your seats for this fascinating story by calling the Box Office at 519.523.9300, Toll Free 1.877.862.5984 or online at blythfestival.com.
Blyth Festival acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, The Government of Ontario, Season Sponsor Sparlings Propane / Parkland Fuels, and Season Media Sponsor CTV.
The Pigeon King is generously sponsored by Carlyle Peterson LLP and BIAX International Inc. (Production Sponsors) and Postmedia Networks Inc. (Media Sponsor).