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Hard-Time Soup: An Autobiographical Collection of Short Stories

by  Alexander Gillis  (Author), Katerina Bakolias  (Foreword)

An uplifting and nostalgic reflection of a simpler time.

Hard-Time Soup is a memoir, containing a collection of short stories written by Alexander Gillis - a former Cape Breton Miner in the 1940s. An uplifting and unique perspective on Nova Scotia's history during the Hungry '30s and Wartime '40s. Hard-Time Soup follows Alexander Gillis through his childhood adventures, his work in the mines, and his reflections on family and life in New Waterford, Cape Breton. His stories highlight an array of colourful Cape Breton folks, forgotten histories, and even a few ghost stories. Mostly, and perhaps more importantly, they ignite a genuine feeling of hope for the future.


91 Pages.




15.24 x 0.58 x 22.86 cm



Art Apart

This project received financial support from the National Theatre School of Canada Via the Art Apart program. 


My Grandfather's True Stories

Its purpose is as a tribute to her grandfather, Alexander ‘Alec’ Gillis, a fantastic storyteller and constant source of artistic support. Katerina hopes that these stories will fascinate listeners, both young and old, and evoke pleasant memories of bedtime stories.  

“My grandfather paints a perfect picture with his words and from the time I was able to understand him he told me stories. Funny stories, ghost stories, and stories that he promised were true. I’ve selected three of my favourites and retold them in my own words with some added theatrical flare, but I’ll leave it to you to decide if they’re true.” - Katerina 

Released on May 28th, 2020

Check out other Art Apart projects Here!

Art Apart

Art Apart is an initiative by the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) that provides support to emerging theatre artists, professional artists, and the community during the coronavirus crisis. It’s a way to help minimize the impact of this crisis in the arts community, to provide much-needed assistance to artists by rapidly injecting funds into the arts sector, and to continue sharing knowledge and having a dialogue among artists across Canada.

100 emerging artists received $750 grants to present a piece of art online. This sum comes from an existing fund dedicated to community initiatives. 

The Artistic Directors of NTS have also asked artists who have taught in the professional training programs of the School in the last few years to share 10 free online theatre classes and conferences.

NTS is also extremely proud to be able to share the work of its graduating students, who have quickly adapted to the situation their performances which should have been presented in person, to an online format. All are invited to attend these plays and exhibition for free.

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