Life, Death and The Blues

Created & Performed by Raoul Bhaneja, Maple Blues Award-winner
January 22, 2015 - February 08, 2015
Preview - January 21, 2015
A Theatre Passe Muraille production, in association with Hope and Hell Theatre Co.

Featuring Juno Award-winning R&B artist Divine Brown

This innovative new concert/theatre hybrid explores the power, passion and meaning of The Blues, tracing the history of what has become “everyone’s folk music”, telling all of our stories and influencing music of all genres. From its early roots to new artists, Raoul Bhaneja – with the help of his band The Big Time, and amazing R& B artist Divine Brown – combines autobiography, interviews and multi-media to draw you into a personal, poetic and visceral world of The Blues.

PLUS -- every performance, a well-known Blues artist will join Raoul and Divine onstage for the finale to play a couple of numbers, with Romi Mayes (January 21) and Big Dave McLean (January 22) kicking off the run. Other names include: Little Miss Higgins, David Vest, Jay Nowicki, Jessee Havey, J.P. Lepage, Scott Nolan, Ken Gold, Lee Wenaus, Paul Plouffe, Billy Joe Green, Tim Butler, Leonard Shaw, and Graham Guest.

* Globe and Mail

Approximate running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes, including intermission
  • Wednesday, January 21, 8 pm     Romi Mayes
    Thursday, January 22, 8 pm        Big Dave McLean
    Friday, January 23, 8 pm             Little Miss Higgins
    Saturday, January 24, 3 pm        David Vest (BC)
    Saturday, January 24, 8 pm        David Vest (BC)
    Sunday, January 25, 2 pm          Ken Gold 

    Tuesday, January 27, 7 pm         Jessee Havey
    Wednesday, January 28, 8 pm     Lee Wenaus
    Thursday, January 29, 8 pm         J.P. Lepage 
    Friday, January 30, 8 pm             Scott Nolan
    Saturday, January 31, 8 pm         Jay Nowicki 
    Sunday, February 1, 2 pm            Paul Plouffe
    Sunday, February 1,7pm              Billy Joe Green

    Tuesday, February 3, 7 pm          Tim Butler 
    Wednesday, February 4, 8 pm      Leonard Shaw
    Thursday, February 5, 8 pm         Big Dave McLean
    Friday, February 6, 8 pm              J.P. Lepage
    Saturday, February 7, 3 pm         Graham Guest (Alberta)
    Saturday, February 7, 8 pm         Graham Guest (Alberta)
    Sunday, February 8, 1:30 pm           Big Dave McLean

  • VIDEO - See the trailer

    Note: the dates are from the production at Theatre Passe Muraille.
  • VIDEO - Raoul speaks to Blair Malazdrewich of Shaw TV about the PTE shows

    "Blues is the lifeblood and language of this story."
  • VIDEO-Behind the scenes with Raoul & Divine

    Raoul and Divine talk about the underlying essence of LIFE, DEATH AND THE BLUES, and what makes it a powerful experience, both to watch and to perform. Note: the dates are from an earlier production at Theatre Passe Muraille.
  • VIDEO - Raoul sings the Blues about LIFE, DEATH AND THE BLUES

    Creator Raoul Bhaneja talks - and sings - about why he created this fascinating production. Note: the dates are from an earlier production at Theatre Passe Muraille.

    Want to meet Raoul Bhaneja and Divine Brown and perform at PTE? We're seeking the best young musicians in the city to share their talents in our lobby during the intermissions of LIFE, DEATH AND THE BLUES.

    Whether you’re a solo act, a duo or a Blues band, we want to hear what you’ve got. You must be 25 or under to be eligible, and all you’ve got to do is post a video online. Alongside the chance to perform at Prairie Theatre Exchange, winners receive a pair of complimentary tickets to the production, as well as an opportunity to meet the cast (including Divine Brown and Raoul Bhaneja) after the show.

    This is a great opportunity for young Blues musicians to show their work, connect with other artists, and meet some Canadian Blues legends. All winners will also be acknowledged at the top of the show and from the stage in the final set and thereby be included in the show along with our cast and our “legend”.

    Submit by following the steps below:

    1. Upload a video of ONE song (no more than 5 minutes in length) to YouTube. The listing should be labelled: PTE YOUTH BLUES CHALLENGE, (NAME OF ARTIST), (NAME OF SONG). And it should be tagged with #LDaTB
    2. The song can be a cover tune or an original and can draw from the genre of The Blues as an inspiration. The song should have a personal connection from the performer that they can articulate (but not necessarily in the video). The song should be accompanied live but it can be simple (No Karaoke, Sorry).
    3. Fill in the online form here.
    4. Tweet out the link to your video, and tag it with @PrairieTheatre and #LDaTB or share it on Facebook and tag Prairie Theatre Exchange.

    Check out this video from Raoul himself inviting you to participate.

    Deadline: January 5, 2015 at 5:00pm

    Terms and Conditions

    Entries must be from musicians who are ages 25 and under. Solo, duo, or group acts are welcome, and both singers and instrumentalists are encouraged to submit.

    Winners will be selected to perform during at least one performance of Life, Death and the Blues between January 21 and February 8, 2015, at Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg, in a 10 minute slot in the lobby during the intermission.

    A short load-in and sound check will occur before the show (6:00 – 6:15) and a small PA will be provided.

    Each performer will receive two complimentary tickets to the performance on the night they perform. Following the performance, the winners will have the opportunity to meet the performers in the show, including Divine Brown and Raoul Bhaneja.

Andy McKim, Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille says, Life, Death and The Blues is full of the most exquisite music. The play itself argues for us to see The Blues as an international art form that belongs to all of us; an art form that we all need to keep alive."

Raoul Bhaneja says: “To comprehensively tell a story where The Blues is the lifeblood of the play, we sought to dramatize the complexities of race, gender and most importantly Culture, with a capital "C”. We also want to bring The Blues into the theatre in a very honest and vibrant way. We want people to really feel what this amazing music can do to your mind, your heart and yes, despite the cliché, your soul.”

Starring Raoul Bhaneja and Divine Brown
With band members Jake Chisholm, Tom Bona and Chris Banks

Directed by Eda Holmes
Dramaturgy by Eda Holmes and Andy McKim
Associate Director: Kate Lynch
Stage Manager: Fiona Jones
Lighting Designer: Bonnie Beecher
Production Manager
   & Associate Lighting Designer: Jason Golinsky
Projection Designer: Cameron Davis
Sound Designer: Richard Feren
Costume Consultation: Laura Gardner

Sponsored by


Theatre Passe Muraille National Tour Sponsor