OverbrookMusicalLogo_WebA Musical Quilt

Our project provides a unique opportunity to bring diverse groups together in a common cause – one that will engage them and portray their voices, stories and cultures. In bringing people together, we intend to break isolation and help residents take back their community through arts creation.

We will co-create using story-telling around history, culture and heritage, and hold workshops involving acting, singing, dancing, costuming. For many, this may be their first exposure to arts creation. By co-creating an Overbrook musical where we celebrate everyone’s cultural background, we’ll promote understanding and appreciation of the various cultural ‘threads’ that make up the fabric of our wonderful neighborhood. By encouraging everyone to help create this musical (from script writing to song composing), we’ll be making a musical quilt; every piece of fabric unique and meaningful, and coming together to show something wonderfully cohesive.

Calling all Songwriters!

You can —

Submit your song or lyrics

about living in Overbrook in English, Français, or your own first language, to be considered for Overbrook the Musical.

Find out how to submit by emailing info@overbrook.ca.

Register in our Songwriting Workshops

Pre-register by 24 August at info@overbrook.ca.

Presenter: Tom Lips (www.tomlips.ca) has been writing songs in various moods and styles for many years, and has recorded four collections of original songs. He has also acted and sung in some classic and original musicals, including Oklahoma, Camelot, and Mixdown.  He has contributed original songs for numerous storytelling performances by the Ottawa Storytellers, most recently “Laugh with Leacock” and “That Delightful Strain,” and for original musicals including The Final Stroke of Nine and GLEEbe: The Musical.

Workshop Outline


  1. Introduction to Songwriting: First Workshop  (10-15 participants max., 3 hours)

This initial workshop benefits participants by reviewing/ introducing concepts, considerations and approaches that will be helpful in developing songs for the musical.

Intended audience: Adults and/or older teens with a strong interest in writing songs, and preferably some experience expressing themselves in writing. More experienced songwriters may also find participation helpful. Some ability to play a musical instrument is very helpful for songwriting but is not a requirement for the workshop. Ability to read and write music (i.e. musical notation) is not required for the workshop (though obviously an asset for songwriting).

Overview of objectives (to be adjusted depending on participants’ needs and interests, and the time available):

  • Introduction to some basic concepts, resources and considerations in songwriting, e.g. song structure, storyline, melody, rhyme, mood, genre, viewpoint, with examples and brief practical exercises.
  • Introduction to special considerations in songwriting for musical theatre, e.g. character, back story, dramatic timing, variety/contrast versus continuity and interconnection, integration with the action.
  • Putting words to music and/or music to words.
  • “Filling the gastank,” choosing a direction, getting started, checking progress, making adjustments, freedom versus rules, holding on and letting go.
  • Identifying some possible ideas and directions for songwriting specific to “Overbrook: The Musical” and suggesting possible “homework” in preparation for the second workshop.
  • Please note: This is NOT be a workshop about music theory, musical notation, arranging, instrumental music, singing, recording techniques, how to break into the music business, copyright issues, etc. The perspective is that of a lyric-oriented songwriter, and the focus is on developing a better understanding of how a song can be crafted and improved.
  1. Songwriting: Second Workshop (10-15 participants, 3 hours)

The second workshop deepens the work by increasing the focus on the requirements of writing songs for a musical.  It benefits participants by further exploring challenges of writing, evaluating and revising songs, and providing more information about the play they are writing for.

Intended audience:  Ideally most or all participants will be those who attended the first workshop and have done some preliminary homework towards developing draft songs with the musical in mind.

Overview of objectives:

  • Introduction to issues of revision; tips for offering and/or dealing with feedback about your song; getting unstuck; deepening the back story; identifying and addressing what is not working.
  • Working within the context and constraints of a script and storyline; adjusting to the singers you have; etc.
  • Sharing and respectful discussion of draft songs or song fragments by those who are willing.
  • Review of what is known at this point about the specific song requirements of this musical.
  • Brainstorming for song ideas. Participants undertake (further) “homework” on songs that might address these requirements.
  1. Songwriting: Third Workshop (probably fewer participants, 3 hours)

The third workshop focuses on addressing the specific needs of the play.  The goal is to identify and work on several draft songs that have serious potential to be included in the play, and provide some guidance for further refinement of these.  Success will depend primarily on the input of participants. If there are not yet enough promising songs, brainstorming may help to identify promising starting points for ongoing work.

Intended audience:  Participants from the previous workshops. Participation in this third workshop will be “by invitation” so that a smaller number of songwriters who have demonstrated some progress in the previous workshops and are interested in the specific challenge of writing for this project can work more intensively on songs that might be used or adapted for the musical.

Overview of Objectives:

  • Revisiting the specific song requirements of the musical and taking stock.
  • Focused discussion of, and work on, particular draft songs
  • Shaking things up creatively: trying on different approaches to the song (genres, rhythms, structures, viewpoints)
  • Exploring options for solos, duets, chorus numbers.
  • “Imagining” the production with possible songs included.
  • Moving towards final drafts of songs.
  • Next steps.

Who is involved in this project?

In October 2016, we put together a Project Team of Diewke de Haen, Wendy Dennys and Patrick Venier (supported by a number of consultants) who will be responsible for guiding the project. Early this year, we appointed three key members of our Creative Team: Eleanor Crowder, director;  Cleménce Roy-Darisse, scriptwriter, and Adam Reid, musical director.

Eleanor Crowder is an actor, a writer and a director who has worked professionally in Canadian theatre for four decades.  Her own devised and scripted work runs from first impulse in Family Stories with Kate Grier, to grand scale, with casts of 30 in The Chinese Bowl, GLEEbe, the Musical and Family in A Box.

For Bear & Co., Eleanor has directed Tis Pity She’s A Whore, an all-male Taming of the Shrew, The Glass Menagerie, The Tempest and Macbeth. For Salamander Theatre and Shakespeare Young Company, she has directed over 20 outdoor productions of Shakespeare. She was founding Artistic Director of Salamander Theatre from 1990 to 2001, winning a Tolgesy Award for her contribution to the arts in Ottawa in 2002.  She has taught at Concordia University and Algonquin College.  For 20 years, she led Salamander’s Shakespeare Camp, producing full-length productions outdoors with youth aged 10 through 18.

Clémence Roy-Darisse is a young artist passionate about words and theatre since the age of ten years. She is currently studying at the Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe theatre school for acting and taking drama classes to become a script writer. Her first play Profile will be played as part of the Carte Blanche at Espace René-Provost in the 2017-2018 season. For Clémence, theatre exists to be engaged and to relay social messages. She fundamentally believes in the benefit of the arts to change society, transform it and question it. Her passion is also Community Theatre because she tries to mirror a community, and in so doing gives voice and power. In the Overbrook project, the writing of the script will be strongly inspired by actors from the community itself, representing the diversity and the real and relevant issues of the community in question. Her mandate is simply to write to give them the floor.

Adam Reid completed both a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Ottawa. As a former member of the Opera Lyra Chorus, the Ewashko Singers, the NAC Pops Chorus and the Calixa Lavallée Chamber Choir, Adam has acquired an impressive singing background. He is also active in musical theatre as an actor, pit band musician and music director. While at University of Ottawa, he studied Choral Conducting with Laurence Ewashko and Orchestral Conducting with David Currie.

A distinguished educator, Adam is currently teaching musical theatre with Ottawa Children’s Theatre and Stagecraft. He has spent many years teaching private piano, voice, guitar and drum lessons, and is the former choir director and organist for two rural choirs in Lanark and Balderson, Ontario. He is frequently seen working as a substitute accompanist/coach for Ottawa choirs, theatre companies and private music programs.

Who are our Community Partners?

We would like to thank our community partners in this project who have been involved from the start.

Rideau-Rockcliff CRC
Ottawa Community Housing

Who are our major funders?

Note: An announcement about additional funders will be made soon!

Who are our supporters and donors?

What is the timing for production of the Musical?

The following timeline is subject to change and revision because this project is a co-creation driven by the people who get involved, the funding received and the availability of key players.

  • Story-gathering – January to June 2017
  • Gathering the Cast (auditions) – April 2017
  • Cast Workshops – June and July 2017
  • Song-writing workshops – July 2017
  • Auditions II – 13 September 2017
  • Rehearsals – 20, 27 September; 4, 11, 18, 25 October; 1, 8, 15 November 2017
  • Technical Rehearsal – 22 November 2017
  • Dress Rehearsal – 23 November 2017
  • Performances – 7 pm, 24 November; 2 pm & 7 pm, 25 November 2017

Ways to Get Involved

Production Manager Management & technical abilities July-November
Stage Manager People skills, organized September-November
Lead roles Drama, theatre, sing, dance Workshops June-July;

Rehearsals October-November

Supporting roles Act or sing or dance Rehearsals October-November
Extras Love to dress up! November
Narrator Strong speaking voice October-November
Script writing (workshops) Write, edit, creative June-July
Song writing (workshops) Musical, creative June-July
Lyricists, poets Creative writing June-July
Fundraising/sponsorships Salesperson, extrovert April-September
Flyer/poster distribution Love to walk and staple! May-November
Musicians (workshops) Play an instrument June-August
Set design Artistic, drafting September-November
Props Manager Creative hunter/shopper September-November
Costumes (workshops) Sew, design, construct September-November
Make-up (workshops) Creative September
Hair styling Hairdresser September-November
Set construction Woodworking November
Set painting Artistic November
Lighting Technical November
Technical Computer, technical skills November
Backstage crew Organized, strong November
Dressers (for actors) Organized November
Front of House Manager Co-ordinator September-November
Program design, layout Graphic design November
Ticket master Co-ordinator September-November
Ushers Loves people! November

Photo Gallery