Assassinating Thomson

Assassinating Thomson

The Mystery of a Canadian Legend

July 5 - 17
Firehall Theatre

This is exactly how I want to paint.
And I looked down at the card and it says “The Jack Pine. By Tom Thomson.”




Created and performed by Bruce Horak
Directed by Ryan Gladstone

  • Art, politics, murder, and laughter are intertwined in this one-man investigation of a Canadian icon!

    Visual artist and performer Bruce Horak has spent his life painting with only 9% vision. In ASSASSINATING THOMSON, he shares the unique way he sees the world while exploring the truth and lies behind the mysterious death of one of Canada’s greatest artists and unofficial 8th member of the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson. To top it all off, he paints a portrait of the audience live during each performance!

    “Composed of equal parts absolute fact and utter nonsense.”
    - Vancouver Sun

    “Totally seduces us... Very special indeed.”
    - Capital Critics Circle, Ottawa

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  • Firehall Theatre Logo

    Playing at the Firehall Theatre
    from July 5 - 17

    Firehall Theatre Performance Times
    All Tuesday performances start at 7:30 pm
    Wednesday to Saturday at 8:00 pm
    Matinees Friday and Saturday at 2:30 pm (starting the Friday after opening)

    Running Time: 90 Minutes with no intermission.

  • Cast

    Bruce Horak


    Director - Ryan Gladstone
    Stage Manager - Carmen Grant


    For the Playhouse: Debut
    Playwright of Til Death: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Shakespeare Show, Hockey Night at the Puck & Pickle Pub, The Canada Show, Houdini’s Last Escape (Monster Theatre); Ubu Roi (UBC); Unzipped (Loose Moose Theatre); Hell of a Girl (Revolver Festival). As an Actor: Confessions of a Class Clown, Napoleon’s Secret Diary, The Seven Lives of Louis Riel, Every Story Ever Told, No Tweed Too Tight, War and Peace (Monster Theatre).

    Ryan currently lives and works in Vancouver as an actor, producer, director, playwright and improvisor.  A graduate of the University of Calgary acting program, Ryan also spent ten years studying improvisation at the world famous Loose Moose Theatre under Keith Johnstone, inventor of Theatresports, and has recently completed his MFA in Directing at UBC. Ryan is the founder and Artistic Director of Monster Theatre ( 


    For the Playhouse: Debut
    Stage Manager for This Is Cancer (Nakai Theatre, Whitehorse, YT). As an Actor: The Ladies Foursome (Aquarius/Drayton); Great Expectations (Neptune); Doc (Soulpepper); five unique Canadian productions of The Syringa Tree (Neptune, Belfry, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Grand, Theatre One); Twelfth Night (Globe); Proof (Neptune); The Miracle Worker (Toronto Young People’s Theatre); four seasons at the Stratford Festival, including Antony and Cleopatra, King John, Mother Courage, Measure for Measure, Othello, Mary Stuart, Much Ado About Nothing, and Richard III. 
    Upcoming: Henry IV (Tarragon Theatre); The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (National Arts Centre/Neptune/Grand)

    Carmen is a graduate of the Fine and Performing Arts Program at Mount Royal College (Calgary), the National Theatre School of Canada (Montréal), and the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre (Stratford Festival).


    For the Playhouse: Dear Johnny Deere, Blind Date 

    Bruce Horak is a legally blind visual artist, story-teller, inspirational speaker, and performer/creator. Having lost over 90% of his eyesight to a childhood form of cancer (retinoblastoma), his work focuses on perspective, overcoming obstacles, and interpreting how a visually impaired person sees the world.

    He has been a guest artist/instructor with Quest Theatre (Calgary), Tarragon Theatre (Toronto), University of Lethbridge, University of Calgary, and the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind (Brantford, ON). 

    His works for the stage have won numerous awards across the country, including the Just For Laughs Frankie Award for Best Comedy (The Canada Show), a TWISI award for contribution to Arts in Canada (This is Cancer), two Betty Mitchell Awards for Outstanding Performance (This is Cancer, Evil Dead: The Musical), and “Best of Fest” awards across Canada with Vancouver’s Monster Theatre (The Canada Show, The Big Rock Show, Freud VS His Ego, No Tweed Too Tight).

    Since 2012, Horak has created over 700 paintings that attempt to capture his unique vision. His works have been installed in the Kelowna Art Gallery, Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Pacific Theatre (Vancouver), Caravan Farm (Armstrong, B.C.), and the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver.  He has been an artist in residence at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Island) and YellowWood Farm (PEI), and has done private artistic residencies in Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ontario, and Wells, B.C.

    His work can be viewed at

  • Photos

    Photos by Stephen Wild.

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    Click image to watch video!

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  • Press

    An Endearing Performance
    The Kingston Whig-Standard. July 7, 2016
    What you’ll see is what Bruce Horak sees every day. With less than 10 per cent vision, Horak is considered legally blind, but it hasn’t stopped him from pursuing… Read More

    Theatre Review: "Assassinating Thomson" in the Firehall at 1000 Islands Playhouse
    North Country Public Radio. July 8, 2016
    The Firehall at the 1000 Islands Playhouse has opened their season with the fascinating solo show, “Assassinating Thomson,” created and performed by Bruce… Read More

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