After two dismal years with their main season events cancelled due to COVID, the 4th Line Theatre is gearing up for its 30th anniversary this season. To help them celebrate this milestone, they have enlisted the help of Megan Murphy who joins the organization as Artistic Director – Special Projects. Murphy will be guiding all of the company’s 30th Anniversary events and celebrations this year, and will begin researching and writing a play about the Peter Robinson migration from Ireland to the Peterborough region in the 1820s. The plan is to debut Murphy’s play to mark the 200th anniversary of the 2025 migration of Irish citizens in search of a better life in Canada.
Managing Artistic Director Kim Blackwell explains that Murphy is an ideal candidate for this play development as her own family originates from the Robinson settlers. Murphy is equally keen on the project, and is excited and daunted by the prospect and the responsibility of bringing voice to the Peter Robinson settlers. She looks forward to uncovering the important stories of this part of local history which has played a part in her own story. In this, her first full-length play, this well-known local entertainer hopes to inspire the future by re-imagining tales of her ancestors.
Peter Robinson was an architect of an emigration plan which saw thousands of Irish families come to Canada to escape the brutal poverty which they were facing in Ireland. Over 2500 people settled in Scotts Plains, later renamed Peterborough, to honour Robinson. These new Canadians planted deep roots in the Peterborough area and have thousands of descendants both locally and across the globe.
In 2025, there is a call for Peter Robinson descendants to return to the Peterborough area to mark 200 years since the migration. This will be the perfect timing for the debut of Megan Murphy’s play which will examine the lives of the people who faced unimaginable odds to come to Canada for the chance at a better life.
The 30th Anniversary projects Murphy will be developing include a podcast series which will draw on Murphy’s over 13 years as a professional radio announcer. Other initiatives include a 30th Anniversary gala and the creation of an endowment campaign to ensure the theatre’s financial health for years to come.
A graduate of York University’s Fine Arts program, Murphy has worked as an actor in film, television, theatre and radio for more than two decades. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and the Seneca College Documentary Filmmaking Institute. Her feature documentary, “Murphy’s Law,” won Best Documentary Film at the Fingal Film Festival in Ireland and her short film, “Towns End,” won an Audience Choice Award at the Vox Popular Film Festival. She is a public speaker, published writer and co-creator of The Verandah Society, a theatrical experience of storytelling and song, with singer/songwriter, Kate Suhr.
For all parties, this collaboration seems like a perfect fit, revealing the circumstances where the present collides with the past. Isn’t that the calling of the 4th Line Theatre? KG