At This Hour – the deposition of harbour pilot Francis Mackey


On December 6, 1917, in the narrows of Halifax Harbour, the Belgian Relief vessel IMO collided with an overloaded French munitions ship, Mont-Blanc. The resulting massive explosion wreaked havoc on both sides of the harbour and left at least 2000 people dead. Within hours Ottawa ordered a full investigation. Despite chaos in the city the Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry began the following week at the Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road.

Using excerpts from the inquiry’s transcripts, At This Hour offers a personal account of what happened that terrible morning through the words of Francis Mackey, the pilot on board Mont-Blanc . The charged exchanges between Pilot Mackey and the lawyer representing the owners of IMO , Charles Burchell, reveal how a supposed search for truth became the pursuit of a convenient scapegoat.

Who was to blame? A century later, this question is still unanswered.

A site-specific, verbatim theatre performance.

In the room where it happened.
On the days it took place.
With the words that were spoken.
100 years ago.

Part of the HRM’s Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Commemorations.


Koumbie as The Pilot
Lesley Smith * as The Lawyer for the IMO
Mary Fay Coady * as The Lawyer for the Mont Blanc
Brian Riley as The Stenographer (sound and projection design)
Dustin Scott Harvey as The Press (Videographer)

Janet Maybe – The Historian
Ned Zimmerman – The Dispatcher (Web design and development)
Ben Stone * – The Director
Raeesa Lalani – The Marketing and Communications Manager
Colleen MacIsaac – The Graphic Designer

Assistant Director – Emily Pettet

*The participation of these Artists are arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance-Opera-Theatre Policy.

Janet Maybee’s book Aftershock – The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot
Francis Mackey, inspired the creation of At This Hour.


December 16th and 17th,  2017
Two shows daily at 2:00pm and 7:30pm.

The Halifax Provincial Court
5250 Spring Garden Rd.