The Caravan by Anna Burkholder

Anna Burkholder is a performer and theatre creator who trained at East 15 Acting School in England. She enjoyed an extended time in England after graduation, working in British theatres, including the National Theatre in London.  She believes in the power of storytelling and dedicates her time to sharing women-centred and diverse narratives.  Anna is now based in Montréal and is thrilled to be exploring this creative and vibrant city.

Mother’s Day, 1970. A group of women declare war on the Canadian Government.

We meet our protagonist, Ellen, as she is sneaking into Canadian Parliament and chaining herself to a chair, alongside dozens of other women, shutting down Parliament for the first time in Canadian history.

The Caravan follows Ellen, a pregnant student from Simon Fraser University, as she travels to Parliament in the Abortion Caravan, the first national feminist protest, fighting for abortion access and equality. A recent amendment to the Criminal Code restricted legal access to abortion and thousands of Canadian women were dying in an underground abortion trade.

While protesting in Ottawa, Ellen discovers that she is pregnant. After escaping the events at Parliament without being arrested, Ellen secretly plans a solo trip to Montreal, where she hopes to meet Dr. Morgentaler, who is performing abortions illegally in Canada’s first abortion clinic. Upon her arrival in Montreal, she finds the clinic has been raided and Dr. Morgentaler has been arrested. She is left to navigate the horrors of Canada’s secret abortion network…alone, scared and broke.    

Quick links: Esther/Jacques, Alice Abracen; The Caravan, Anna Burkholder; The Shelburne Riots, Lydie Dubuisson; Patient Zero, Emma Loerick; Any Other Way, Gabe Maharjan