A stranger asked if we were walking to learn how to work and be together. This was certainly part of it.
In July 2015, Erin Brubacher and Christine Brubaker traced the migration route of their Mennonite ancestors by walking 700 kilometres from Pennsylvania to Ontario. Along the way they were hosted by a series of people with whom they had next to nothing in common. They were welcomed into strangers’ homes and treated as family. On their journey through the American Bible Belt they encountered folks with religious and political beliefs very different from their own and learned to question what conversations to enter and how far to take them. They accomplished this and so much more while navigating their own relationship and the challenges of being with another person, on foot, for 32 days.
7th Cousins: An Automythography documents the walk itself and the performance text they generated afterwards. Included throughout are photo essays from the journey and commentaries from their collaborators Christopher Stanton, Andrea Nann, Kaitlin Hickey, and Erum Khan.
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Praise for 7th Cousins:
“7th Cousins is a sharp, very personal and insightful work of documentary theatre that embodies a kind of honest female friendship that is so important to experience in our current moment, as well as a journey into the U.S. that gives trenchant insights far beyond what I was expecting.”
—Jacob Wren, author of Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART and Rich and Poor
Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Nonfiction Preview —49th Shelf
“No simple re-telling, the book aims to conjure new meanings—the magic—from the space of the live performance shows that followed the walk. It’s a fascinating attempt at embedding improvisation and mixed media storytelling techniques in book format. In the process, it challenges the traditional idea of what published nonfiction can look like.” —Geoff Martin, The Common
“There Is Some Witting and Unwitting Mythologizing Involved” Erin Brubacher and Christine Brubaker Get Experimental in Their New Travel Memoir —Open Book
“7th Cousins is compelling, moving, and unique in its interwoven documentation of the durational performance of the walk and of the shifting performances created from that performance—quite wonderful!” — Penny Farfan, editor, Contemporary Women Playwrights: Into the Twenty-First Century
Erin Brubacher is a performance-maker, writer and facilitator of multidisciplinary projects. Her work has taken her across Canada to venues such as The National Arts Centre (Ottawa), The PuSh International Performance Festival (Vancouver) and Canadian Stage (Toronto), and internationally to Scotland, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Mexico and the USA. As a theatre director, Erin works with writers, performers, musicians, choreographers, visual artists, and other makers to collaboratively create new works. Directing projects include the award-winning productions of Concord Floral (Brubacher/Spooner/Tannahill), Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools (Buddies in Bad Time Theatre), and Noor (Generous Friend/The Aga Khan Museum). Erin found her artistic foundation in photography at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and holds an MA in International Performance Research, with distinction, from the University of Warwick and University of Amsterdam. She is the author of the poetry collection, In the Small Hours (Gaspereau Press) and a new work of fiction, forthcoming with Book*hug. She makes her home in Toronto. www.erinbrubacher.ca
Christine Brubaker is a director, actor, dramaturg and educator. She is the winner of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Performance, the 2014 Gina Wilkinson Prize for Direction, and the 2016 Ken McDougall Award for Emerging Director. Christine has worked across Canada on the small and large stages and specializes in new work and adaptation. She directed the world premieres of The Horse and His Boy and Wilde Tales at the Shaw Festival, Elena/Eli Belyea’s Smoke at Downstage Theatre, Elle for Theatre Passe Muraille, and the Canadian workshop premiere of Suzanna Fournier’s antigone lives*. Christine is the creator of Henry G20, a large-scale outdoor performance and contemporary adaptation of Henry V that speaks to global capitalism and the protest movement premiering in Toronto in 2020. She is on faculty at University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts and splits her time between Alberta and Toronto. She is an alumnus of the National Theatre School’s Acting program and Michael Langham Program for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival. www.christinebrubaker.com