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Grosse Ile the musical

An original musical drama took the stage this week at the CEGEP St. Lawrence in Quebec City. It's a musical called Grosse Ile.

It tells the story of the island in the St. Lawrence that served as a quarantine station for immigrants to Quebec. From 1832 to 1937, immigrants were screened there for disease before being granted entry to Canada. Thousands upon thousands passed through, staying days at a time. The island is also the burial site of the more than 5 000 of them, mostly Irish immigrants who died of typhus in 1847, either on the island or aboard ships en route to Grosse-Ile.

This new musical is dedicated to the late Marianna O'Gallagher who made it her life's work to preserve Irish history in the Quebec City area, and on Grosse Ile itself.

This script was co-written by Margaret Forrest, Hubert Radoux and John Halpin.

John Halpin -- the Dean of Faculty at CEGEP St Lawenrece - was one of three co-writers.

He also plays the Catholic priest on the island - Father Charles.

The CBC's Rachelle Solomon met with him and some of the other cast members at a rehearsal.

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