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Trent University Hosts Special Advance Screening of CBC's "Sisters in the Wilderness": February 22

Documentary based on the lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill to premier at Wenjack Theatre

February 18, 2004, Peterborough

Trent University is pleased to be hosting a special advance screening of "Sisters in the Wilderness," a film based on the lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill at Wenjack Theatre on February 22 at 7 p.m.

All are invited to join Director Susan Dando, Author Charlotte Gray, Executive Producer Mark Starowicz and host Prof. Michael Peterman, principal, Catharine Parr Traill College, for this premier event. Admission is free of charge.

"Many people are looking forward to seeing what happens when Charlotte Gray's abilities as a biographer meet the Mark Starowicz/CBC flare for popular history on the screen - I know I am," says Prof. Peterman. "It will be a very interesting evening."

"Sisters in the Wilderness" is part of a series of CBC documentaries titled "The Canadian Experience" that defines "who we are as a people and a country." The documentaries have been airing Thursdays since January 22.

The story of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill

The story of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill is one of envy, sexual passion, ambition, staggering hardship and unprecedented success. It is the ultimate "Survivor" story.

Growing up in Regency England, the sisters dream of becoming celebrated writers. Their role models are the Brontes. Their peer is Jane Austen. Soon they are on the verge of becoming famous. But they make a decision that will change their lives.

Yanked from the shabby gentility of early 19th century English middle class life, these two sisters are hurled to the stumps and drunks of Canada's backwoods. With little more than the clothes on their backs, these women and their families must learn to survive in this harsh new country. They soon discover they are more qualified than their hapless husbands. Catharine's husband is felled by depression, and Susanna's, for whom she has a blinding sexual attraction, is one of the new country's most inept businessmen.

Slowly the women build lives and homes. And they never stop writing. Catharine's letters to her sisters in England become a manuscript called The Backwoods of Canada. It is a huge success, but earns her almost no money. Susanna's book, Roughing it in the Bush, is also a critical triumph. In time, both Catharine and Susanna find new identities not as genteel transplanted Brits, but as Canadians, telling the story of middle class people who may not have the ability, but do not have a choice * they must survive.

This story takes place on two continents over the course of a century. It is not only the story of the stunning transformation of these women, but also of two countries, one new and full of struggle, and the other old and beginning its decline.


Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Screening starts at 7 p.m.
Parking is available off the River Road, just north of the East Bank Campus.

For further information, please contact:
Prof. Michael Peterman, Principal, Catharine Parr Traill College, 748-1011, Ext. 1737



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Last Updated February 18, 2004