CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Belleville-born theatre creator brings acclaimed show home

By Quinte Arts Council with files from Adam Bailey

Belleville-born Adam Bailey’s twisted, history-based storytelling tackles the improbable events that started a war while asking the question: what leads young men to commit acts of political violence?

Using the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 as a starting point, Bailey dives into the world of his killer, Gavrilo Princip, and creates a theatrical feat that is thought-provoking, humorous, and surprisingly empathetic.

Killer Gavrilo Princip’s world is presented in the production of Franz Ferdinand Must Die which is playing in Trenton later this month.

Dubbed a “Historical Tour-de-Force” by the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and “Eerily Entertaining” by the Winnipeg Free Press, this play has toured the Canadian prairies to rave reviews and is set to open in Toronto in March, but first it will play the Old Church Theatre in Trenton, bringing this theatre creator full circle.

“It really excites me to bring this work home,” said Bailey. “This is one of my most important pieces, and after the reception it received out west, I’m excited to see how audiences respond to it here.”

Historically, Gavrilo Princip has been painted either as a far-left student or a right-wing nationalist, but is seldom seen as being responsible for his own actions. This work gives Princip agency, while asking who is in the driver’s seat as the world careens toward war?

“As I focus on creating pieces that start conversations, instead of leading an audience to a specific conclusion, it will be interesting to see how they interpret what we have created,” said Bailey.

Once a frequent performer with the Belleville Theatre Guild, Bailey is happy to be returning home to the Quinte region to perform for the first time in decades. He is joined by director Tyler J. Seguin, who recently completed two seasons assistant directing at the Stratford Festival (and who also got his start at the Belleville Theatre Guild), and sound designer Alex Eddington, a previous Urjo Kareda Resident at Tarragon Theatre, whose concert music has been performed internationally by ensembles including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Franz Ferdinand Must Die plays two nights only: February 21 at 7:30 p.m. and February 23 at 2 p.m. There will be a talk back after each performance. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door and are available at