A noon-hour demonstration yesterday featured a 3.6-metre-high puppet resembling Mr. Mulroney marching in front of the Conservative party convention accompanied by a protester beating a drum labeled BCNI [Business Council on National Issues].

  • front page, Globe and Mail, August 7, 1991.

In media jargon, “streeters” is the term for a reporter going out to the street with a microphone and collecting people’s opinions about an issue. Ground Zero uses the term in the sense of Street Theatre, covering a variety of events staged for the media about current issues.

The OCHU series [1990-93]

The Big Heads in the OCHU M*A*S*H tent.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions supported Ground Zero in a number of Streeters to call attention to the underfunding of health care. These events ranged from a fairly simple guillotine symbolizing the cuts, through to actually erecting a full scale MAS*H tent on the grounds of the Ontario legislature. Inside the tent we held a brief agit-prop performance, using puppet headed performers, followed by workers telling their stories and a press conference conducted by OCHU President Michael Hurley.

Hitting Home [1990]

Probably the only time GZP will be featured in the Report on Business.

During the campaign against the GST, GZP created a show highlighting the inequalities of the tax system. It garnered considerable media attention, on television, radio and print media. For a detailed description, see The Port Elgin Plays.

Anti-NAFTA Streeter [1993]

Communities united against NAFTA.

Before the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed, a large number of people made it well known that they opposed the economic agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. A group of community participants from Peterborough performed a brief agit-prop sketch with visual designs by Jerrard Smith and a song composed by Rob Fortin and Sue Newman on a sunny Saturday at the Farmer’s Market and downtown. The show was also presented, with a slightly different cast, in Toronto.

The Puppet Master [1991]

The Puppet Master on the streets of Peterborough.

For protests outside the federal Conservative party convention in 1991, a number of unions commissioned Ground Zero to create a large scale visual event. The result was a giant business suited Puppet Master, designed by Jerrard Smith, who pulled the strings of actors wearing masks of prominent Conservative politicians. Later the puppet made a reappearance in Peterborough.

The Deficit Dragon [1996]

Rhonda Payne created an event mocking the Conservative campaign to slay the deficit. This was presented both on the streets of Toronto and in Peterborough to 10,000 people during the Day of Protest organized against the Mike Harris government.