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5 O’Clock Bells was commissioned by the Great Canadian Theatre Company in 2006 and co-developed by the Great Canadian Theatre Company and Sleeping Dog Theatre, with dramaturgy by Brian Quirt, for the world premiere production in Ottawa at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre in April, 2008.

The playwright acknowledges the assistance of the 2007 Banff Playwrights Colony - a partnership between the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre, and Alberta Theatre Projects.


written and performed by Pierre Brault

directed by Brian Quirt

set & costume design by Brian Smith

lighting design by Martin Conboy

guitarist and musical consultant: Paul Bourdeau

produced by Judi Pearl

5 O’Clock Bells

Click here to watch a feature segment which aired on CBC-TV’s “The National” on Friday, April 4, 2008.

Click here to watch a short video of interviews with members of the creative team.

Click here to read an article on the play by James Hale which appears in the March 2008 edition of Down Beat magazine.

Click here for our technical rider.

“Spellbinding... must-see show captures the essence of [Lenny] Breau...  As finely executed as it is conceived.  Don’t miss it.”

The Ottawa Citizen

“Expertly crafted, multi-dimensional, fueled by intelligence and energy.”

CBC Radio

read more press

“This show was worth the price of my year's subscription at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.” 

read more audience comments

Lenny Breau was a brilliant guitar innovator whose life was entwined with four decades of Canadian and American musical history. In his tragically brief time he revolutionized the whole approach to the guitar and today his influence is still keenly felt, stretching from country to rock to flamenco and especially jazz.  Lenny was found dead in a Los Angeles pool in 1984. His murder remains unsolved.

5 O’Clock Bells navigates Lenny’s dance with genius and the childlike innocence which left him vulnerable to dark forces.  Like the strings on his guitar, the voices of those closest to him harmonize to reveal the conditions which shaped his life and hint at agents in his death. In his own inimitable style, Pierre Brault examines the musical reflection of Breau’s life from the bottom of the pool, where liquid wave meets sound wave.

Learn more: Essential Lenny Breau

Canada’s lost guitar genius

surfaces at last.


coproduced with the Great Canadian Theatre Company

Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, Ottawa


Grand Theatre, London, ON

   March 11-14, 2009

LUMINATO: Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity

   June 10-13, 2009

   Berkeley St. Theatre Downstairs

Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg

   October 7-24, 2009

   Tom Hendry Theatre, MTC Warehouse

The Banff Centre

    January 29-30, 2010

    Margaret Greenham Theatre

Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse

    February 4-5, 2010

Production photos: Steve Boyton, Paul Toogood Photography

Pool photo: Christina Riley

Winner of two Rideau Awards: Best New Creation, Best Actor (Pierre Brault).

Nominated for three more Rideau Awards: Best Production, Best Director (Brian Quirt),

Best Lighting Design (Martin Conboy).

and two Capital Critics’ Circle Awards: Best Production and Best Actor (Pierre Brault).