Northern Soul

Guest festival blogger Mike Hudema shares his thoughts (and Haikus!) on Victoria Melody’s Northern Soul.




Brown box coffee mug

Stage eclectic offerings

I wait for pigeon.

It’s not often that a somewhat random assortment of home movies and childhood tales could make for an engaging piece of theatre, but when mixed with a healthy dose of northern soul and equal parts pigeon that is exactly what you have with Northern Soul.

Northern Soul, (part of the 2013 Canoe Festival from Workshop West) is a journey with UK theatre artist Victoria Melody into her awkward musings and fact finding about two dying culture groups – pigeon fanciers and northern soul dancing. Through random tales, photographs, home movies, and intimate dialogs, Victoria weaves a tale of woe and wonderment.

Walking into the theatre I knew very little about Victoria, pigeons, or northern soul. Coming out I now know that:

• There is a pigeon hall of fame.

• Northern soul dancing is best done with stretchy pants and baby powder.

• Pigeons can play ping-pong and prefer Frank Sinatra.

Those are just the tip of this play’s iceberg.

On a scale of 1 to pigeon, Northern Soul was definitely Frankie Beverly and the Butlers.


Awkward journeying

Family, dance, music, life.

Soul to the Pigeon.


About Mike:

Mike Hudema is a long time member of the Canadian progressive scene. He was part of a motley band of activists that took to the streets of Quebec City for the FTAA protests, slept on the steps of the legislature to protest rising tuition rates when he was President of the University of Alberta Students’ Union, and occupied Anne McLellan’s office to defeat Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation. In his spare time he used to co-host CJSR’s alternative news program Rise Up: Radio Free Edmonton and co-wrote books like the recently published “An Action a Day Keeps Global Capitalism Away”.

Mike worked in San Francisco for 3 years for the Peace and Human Right organization Global Exchange on a corporate campaign with the Ruckus Society and the Rainforest Action Network targeting the auto industry. He currently works for Greenpeace as the Climate and Energy Campaigner focusing on stopping the tar sands, the largest industrial project on the face of the planet and bringing about a green job future. He is also a climb trainer with the Ruckus Society.