In Corey Payette’s powerful new musical, the children of an Oji-Cree family are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. This is a story of redemption: for a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating the resilience and power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s moving score also includes echoes of Broadway masterpieces.
In 1996 the last residential school in Canada shut its doors, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology on behalf of all Canadians. According to the wisdom of the Elders, it takes twice as long to reconcile as it takes to do the damage. After over 130 years of residential schools in Canada, it is clear that the process of reconciliation is only just beginning.
Shocked by the way Canada sweeps aspects of its history under the rug, Oji-Cree theatre maker Corey Payette wrote Children of God as a way of starting the conversation; acknowledging the hurt done, and acknowledging the strength of the survivors and their descendants. In Corey’s own words, “Children of God began as a journey to understand and to acknowledge with the hope that this understanding would lead us to a fuller picture of our history, and a chance to acknowledge the survivors of residential schools for their strength and resilience in the face of this dark history.” Children of God is one family’s story, but it represents the stories of hundreds of thousands; it is a beautiful tribute to the strength and resiliency of Indigenous peoples across Canada.
From May 17 – Jun 3, 2017, at York Theatre. Tickets are just $20 and are available through The Cultch’s Box Office: 604-251-1363 or tickets.thecultch.com.