These past weeks, we learned a little more about “The Triumph of Teresa Harris” that was written by Penn Kemp in collaboration with London’s historic Eldon House. The play will take place at the palace theatre and tickets will cost an affordable price of only twelve dollars. The Harris family were the first pioneers to settle in the city of London. The first occupants of the family in the Eldon house were John Harris and Amelia Harris. They had 12 children but only 10 had survived into adulthood. The youngest of all was Teresa Harris (born in 1839 and spent her childhood in London), which also happens to be the main character of this play. She was an adventurous woman in the Victorian era and became one of the greatest explorers of her time. Teresa’s first husband (John Scott) passed away during their adventure in India, but then explored Tibet with her second husband (St. George Littledale).
The play is a reflection of Teresa as she returns home to tell the audience about her amazing experiences from travelling. This play relates to the local history and community of London because it identifies the founding family of the city we know today as London. It’s important to be aware of your physical environment as well as the historical views that come along with it. I think that by working with Penn, I was able to identify with London as my local space more than I was able to before— even though I am originally from Toronto. It’s interesting to learn about the past because it reveals the changes that have evolved since then, making the city into what it is today.
The CEL project has really been a new experience for me. I think it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and engage into something new. Personally, I found that this course has allowed me to explore many interests that were hidden before. For example, the class trip to the Eldon house was a moment that I had realized how much I enjoyed learning about the past. It was really cool to visit the exact house that the Harris’ had lived in. The decorations and stories behind each artifact was not only eye-opening, but truly spectacular. One of my favorite parts of the tour was when we were in the library. The many volumes of books that were organized in its respective order made me feel like I was a visitor of the Victorian era in that moment.
Currently, I am working on the blog, which will be posted as an extension to Penn’s past website: https://teresaharrisdreamlife.wordpress.com. Penn has expressed that she wanted us to create an alternate tab/section for the blog. We titled it “Triumph of Teresa Harris: Reflections” and sits as a tab on the main page of the website. There, viewers would be able to follow our posts and keep up with our progress in collaboration with Penn and her upcoming play. The goal right now is to publicize the blog so that we gain traction through our viewers. By doing this, it will allow us to market to a greater amount of audience and therefore have more tickets sold. Recently, Alex and I created the tab and posted our first post on the blog. We also uploaded some of the pictures of letters (of the Harris family) from the Weldon archives. We were able to legally get a hold of them because Penn had special permission from Western. I have attached them in this document below if you’re interested.