The future of the troupe that brings the 1864 Charlottetown Conference to life every summer is unclear, now that their funding from P.E.I. 2014 is close to an end.
Dressed as Fathers and Mothers of Confederation, the Confederation Players have been interacting with tourists on the streets of Charlottetown for 25 years, bringing history to life.
For the past three they’ve been funded by P.E.I. 2014. But with funding set to run out at the end of the season, their future is uncertain.
This year with 19 players, more than the usual 14, the program cost $130,000.
Fraser McCallum, communications manager for the Confederation Centre of the Arts, says they will be looking for new sponsors. “We believe in it wholeheartedly, we really want to see it sustained,” he said.
McCallum, who played Sir John A. Macdonald himself for several years, said the troupe isn't going anywhere but will likely be scaled back.
Bringing history to life
Many of the actors are pursuing theatre studies. For them, the summer job is an exercise in improv.
“Thinking on your feet is very difficult and you’ll get some people that really want to quiz you and they really want to catch you up on something and so you always have to be right there with your history,” said Olivia Barnes, who plays Mrs. Susan Gray.
'You get to pass on that history, that personal side of all these politicians and that personal side of this Canadian history that really touches them' - Sean Young
The players have three weeks of background study before they ever put on a costume.
Sean Young says he has enjoyed meeting and educating thousands of tourists in his three years playing Sir John A. Macdonald.
“You get to pass on that history, that personal side of all these politicians and that personal side of this Canadian history that really touches them,” said Young.
The players stage free performances all summer as well as paid walking tours.