No Stepping Back: The Story of a Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Play for Children

Resource types: 
Dr. Warwick Dobson, Phil Duchene, Lauren Jerke, and Fiona Donnelly-Rheaume
Date Published: 
Spring 2019
Published In/by: 
Drama Magazine

This Applied Theatre 'Canadian Truth and Reconciliation' project addresses the complex history of residential schools and their catestrophic effects on indigenous communities, families and individuals.

The following article presents its story, offering valuable reflection and consideration on the dynamics and tensions involved in ASC work.

The original University of Victoria project was workshopped with Grade 6/7 students over nine hours of classes at Royal Oak Middle School, Victoria, BC, with teachers Liane Buxcey and Angie Noel and with Steeples Elementary students in Cranbrook, BC. Further workshops developed in consultation with Dr. Carmen Maria Rodriguez de France and members of the Department of Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria, BC, have been used to explore the story across age ranges in many schools from Grade 5 to High School students to adult prison inmates, and, perhaps most tellingly, successfully to the Aqamnik school on Ktunaxa traditional territory in Cranbrook, BC. The play was premiered at the Chief Dan George Theatre at the University of Victoria in March 2017. It was formally presented by Middle School children at the First People’s House at the University of Victoria to an audience of WSANEC and LEKWUNGEN Elders of Vancouver Island, Indigenous educators, UVic students and children from local schools in March 2018.