The Cave is a music theatre piece by renowned Canadian artist John Millard (composer), Tomson Highway (lyricist), and Martha Ross (book). It is their distinctive and imaginative response to our planet’s precarious survival.

The production was performed at Soulpepper’s Tankhouse Theatre as part of Luminato 2019 and was live streamed across Canada. The Cave will be part of the 2022 Luminato Festival with support of Theatre Passe Muraille.


The idea for THE CAVE began in 2016 when Martha asked John if there was something interesting about a show that had animals singing about the changing environment. John came up with the idea that the animals could be in a cave-slash-nightclub. And then during a visit with Tomson Highway, in which we shared our personal and harrowing stories about wildfires in BC and Manitoba, Tomson suggested that the animals were perhaps fleeing a forest fire. The idea for The Cave was born: A group of animals hide in a cave while a raging forest fire threatens their survival. And it was decided that it would be in a theatrical world that was part cave, part nightclub. John would write the music, Tomson the lyrics, and Martha the book and narration. Victor Pokinko came on board in the role of producer, Adam Paolozza as director, followed by an impressive list of exceptional performers, musicians, and designers. The Cave is our way of telling the story of the earth’s precarious survival. Are we evicting ourselves from the garden?

The effect this show had on audiences was electric and cathartic. The experience of creating and performing The Cave reminded us why we do theatre.

Naomi Campbell, the Artistic Director of Luminato Festival was excited by what she saw and included The Cave in their 2019 programming at the Soulpepper Tank House theatre. The show was a resounding success and it has been growing ever since. We are thrilled that Luminato has included us in their June 2022 festival with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille.

In the early days of Covid, a Canada Council Digital grant gave us the opportunity to work with the animator, Bruce Alcock, to create a short animation of The Cave. His brilliant work led us to our decision to include his images and animation in the 2022 version of The Cave. The forest fire now has an astounding presence.

There will be an album of the songs from The Cave available from the website in May 2022. The Cave will tour the BC interior this fall with a two week run at the Van East Cultural Centre.


All of the above was made possible by the generous funding from our donors and the following arts councils: Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Council New Chapters, Luminato Festival and countless private donors.