Amaka Umeh, Deborah Hay

Fall On Your Knees Part One: Family Tree

A National Arts Centre, Vita Brevis Arts, Canadian Stage, Neptune Theatre, Grand Theatre production

Co-created and Written by Hannah Moscovitch
Co-created and Directed by Alisa Palmer 
Production Dramaturgy by Mel Hague
Based on the Novel by Ann-Marie MacDonald 

Five theatre companies partner to bring production based on Ann-Marie MacDonald’s internationally acclaimed novel to four cities

In 1996, Fall On Your Knees, written by the internationally acclaimed Canadian writer Ann-Marie MacDonald, was released – a sweeping novel that chronicles three generations of Cape Breton Island’s Piper family. The story moves from the battlefields of the First World War to the emerging jazz scene in Harlem, NY, and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters.


“Seeing Fall On Your Knees brought to fruition as a piece of theatre is the fulfillment of a process that began long ago when I first started writing what would become the novel.  Fall On Your Knees began, in my mind, as a play.  This makes sense because I was, and am, a playwright. I ended up bringing the story to light as a novel, but I’ve always cherished the vision of it as a three-dimensional experience for a live audience.  I am so grateful to all the incredibly talented artists, especially Hannah Moscovitch and Alisa Palmer, for boldly and beautifully bringing it to life.

– Ann-Marie MacDonald, Author, Fall On Your Knees


Now in 2022, the National Arts Centre English Theatre, Vita Brevis Arts and Canadian Stage, Grand Theatre, and Neptune Theatre have announced an unprecedented partnership that will bring the world premiere stage adaptation of the Canadian classic to four cities – Toronto, London, Ottawa and Halifax – beginning in 2023.

Fall On Your Knees will be presented in two parts, allowing audiences to savour the experience over two extraordinary evenings:

Fall On Your Knees Part One: Family Tree
Fall On Your Knees Part Two: The Diary


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friday / jan 20


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saturday / jan 21


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tuesday / jan 24


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thursday / jan 26


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saturday / jan 28


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sunday / jan 29


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tuesday / jan 31


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thursday / feb 2


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saturday / feb 4


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Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund

Lead donors Margaret Fountain, C.M., DFA (h) & David Fountain, C.M.

National Arts Centre
Vita Brevis

We acknowledge the support of The Canada Council for the Arts

Canada Council for the Arts

Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

Toronto Arts Council

Fall On Your Knees is generously underwritten by:
The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation – lead production underwriter
Mark & Gail Appel,  Alexandra Baillie, and Kiki Delaney – supporting production underwriters
Sara Angel and Julie Sutherland – performance underwriters

Directed, Adapted, and Co-Created by

  • Alisa Palmer

Written, Adapted, and Co-Created by

  • Hannah Moscovitch

Production Dramaturgy by

  • Mel Hague

Based on the Novel by

  • Ann-Marie MacDonald

Assistant Director

  • Cherissa Richards


  • Natasha Powell

Music Supervisor & Composer

  • Sean Mayes

Set Designer

  • Camellia Koo

Costume Designer

  • Judith Bowden

Assistant Costume Designer

  • Joyce Padua

Lighting Designer

  • Leigh Ann Vardy

Sound Design Consultant

  • Antoine Bédard

Sound Designer

  • Brian Kenny

Associate Music Supervisor

  • Douglas Price

Fight & Sexual Choreography

  • Anita Nitoli

Stage Manager

  • Michael Hart

Assistant Stage Manager

  • Sarah Miller


  • Tim Campbell
  • Janelle Cooper
  • Diane Flacks
  • Eva Foote
  • Deborah Hay
  • Samantha Hill
  • Drew Moore
  • Tony Ofori
  • Cara Rebecca
  • Nathan D Simmons
  • Maryem Tollar
  • Amaka Umeh
  • Jenny L Wright
  • Antoine Yared

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