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New Canadian musical honours women in aviation

Oct. 1, 2014, Ottawa - Spitfire Dance, a lively new dramatic musical entertainment in two acts, will première at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, on October 23.


October 1, 2014
By Carey Fredericks

Written and directed by Canadian playwright Clint Ward, Spitfire Dance deftly draws audiences into the largely untold history of courageous and fascinating women, such as Jacqueline Cochran, Beryl Markham, Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart, who dared fly the skies in an era when the important flying was considered to have been done only by men.
 
The new play portrays a world where even hotshot Canadian pilot Helen Harrison (1909-1995), with more than 2,000 hours in the sky – far more than most male recruits who were not required to have any flight experience, was rejected by the Royal Canadian Air Force, as Harrison noted, “for wearing a skirt.”
 
“Spitfire Dance was written to honour the remarkable achievements of female aviation pioneers in general aviation and wartime settings, such as their crucial contribution to the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War,” Ward said. “This is a play about remembrance that aims to inspire young Canadian females regarding aviation as a career choice and provides everyone with a trip back in time that is especially fitting this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy.”
 
Starring Karen Cromar, Glen Bowser and Brian Jackson (Music Director), Spitfire Dance is brimming with renditions of well-loved songs, such as“Wonderful Amy” in honour of British aviation pioneer Amy Johnson, “I’ll Never Smile Again” by Canadian pianist-songwriter Ruth Lowe, “Silver Wings in the Moonlight” and “The White Cliffs of Dover.”