Manitoba

300 extras needed for movie musical about Winnipeg General Strike

Danny Schur, the co-creator, writer and composer of Strike! The Musical, is making a public plea for 300 extras as brings his production to the big screen.

Unpaid help to endure "arduous 12-hour day" of shooting; 'We're just asking an awful, awful lot,' creator says

A streetcar is overturned in Winnipeg on June 21, 1919, which became known as Bloody Saturday during the 1919 general strike. The old city hall can be seen in the background. (L.B. Foote collection/Archives of Manitoba)

Almost a century after the Winnipeg General Strike, hundreds of Winnipeggers are again being asked to hit the streets and unite behind a cause.

Danny Schur, the writer and composer of Strike! The Musical, is making a public appeal for extras to join him as he brings his stage creation to the big screen. Production begins in Winnipeg on Aug. 20.

Strike! tells the story of an immigrant couple battling injustice against the backdrop of the most famous strike in Canadian history. For six weeks in 1919, Winnipeg was virtually shut down by a city-wide strike that saw almost 30,000 workers leave their jobs.

"Representing the Winnipeg General Strike on film is a tough thing with a budget six times what we have," said Schur. "That's why volunteer extras are important."

Schur is hoping to entice 300 unpaid extras to come out on Thursday, Aug. 23, for what he said will an "arduous 12-hour day" of shooting. Extras will be fed, but he admits the experience will require a bit of sacrifice on the part of those who sign up.

How you can become an extra:

Extras needed for the Winnipeg movie

4 years ago
Duration 1:25
Danny Schur, the writer and composer of Strike! The Musical, is making a public appeal for extras as he brings his stage creation to the big screen.

"We're just asking an awful, awful lot, but the story is in deference, in honour, in tribute to those whose legacy we are honouring in the film," he said.

"It's really special, though, because it's to recreate the crowd's Bloody Saturday, so to those that are inspired by that legacy, we're just hoping it might be possible."

Saturday, June 21, 1919, was the day when police charged into a crowd of strikers, resulting in 30 casualties and one death. Four days later, the strike was over.

'More about the silhouette'

Extras are asked to wear their own costumes, although they don't have to be historically accurate. Schur suggests suits and hats for men and blouses, long skirts and sun hats for women. 

"These are extras that are going to be ... not right in the camera, but a little ways away, so it's more about the silhouette than the perfection."

People interested in becoming extras are asked to send an email to strikeextras@gmail.com. With only two weeks to go, Schur says he's about a third of the way to his goal of 300.

"Our main task is to ensure that we get a good number and it's a tough challenge," he said.

Shooting on Strike! is scheduled to wrap up on Sept. 16. Schur said he hopes to have it ready in time for a theatrical release in 2019, the 100th anniversary of the strike.

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