The play written about her, that is.
The theatre is partnering with community members to bring audiences a live broadcast of the play Fortune, inspired by the life of Annapolis Royal’s own Rose Fortune, a Black Loyalist.
New York playwright George Cameron Grant’s play will be performed by the drama students of Hoboken High School in New Jersey, followed by a special audience question and answer session with the author, the director, and cast.
And Grant says the students are excited about their international exposure.
Plans are underway to create a live link with Annapolis Royal as part of the event, with the audience here participating in the live Q&A with the cast and crew in New Jersey.
At the age of 12, Fortune started her own transport business, using a wheelbarrow to carry luggage between the docks and nearby homes and hotels in Annapolis Royal. As she became established and trusted in town, she eventually became known as the waterfront constable, possibly Canada’s first black police officer.
In time, her little wheelbarrow business grew and then she started a second business. Fortune died in 1864 at the age of 90, but her transportation business carried on as the Lewis Transfer Company until 1980.
“In the summer of 2014, I visited the Nova Scotia town of Annapolis Royal, beginning a much needed vacation,” said Grant in a recent interview. “On the first night of my arrival, during a candlelight graveyard tour given by historian Alan Melanson, I found myself standing before an unmarked grave, learning about the most unforgettable woman I have ever encountered, Black Loyalist Rose Fortune.”
It was a moment that would change the American playwright’s life.
“As I departed Garrison Cemetery, I realized I was no longer on vacation, but on a mission to see her name etched upon a memorial dedicated to her remarkable life, and to bring the story of that life to the world,” Grant said.
“This is my journey, Fortune is her story, and I am thrilled that, through the miracle of Skype, we are able to share this wonderful presentation of Fortune by the students of Hoboken High School with the citizens of Annapolis Royal, the town where Rose lived and worked 80 of her 90 years.”
This historic evening is also a fundraiser for the local foodbank. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and youth 17 and under get in free, with adults donating to the foodbank. All proceeds go to support the Annapolis Royal Food Bank; donations of canned goods for the Food Bank are also welcome.
The event is co-sponsored by the Historical Association of Annapolis Royal.