IPPERWASH Comes to the Blyth Festival
In 1942 the Department of Defense relocated the community of Stony Point to neighbouring reserve Kettle Point to establish the training base Camp Ipperwash. The department promised to return the land after the war had concluded.
This promise went unfulfilled for over 70 years. This act of displacement still reverberates through these communities today. The world premiere of Ipperwash by Falen Johnson and Jessica Carmichael uses humour, movement, and song to tell the story of reclamation, repatriation, and the resilience of a community. Directed by Jessica Carmichael, Ipperwash is on stage at the Blyth Festival from August 16 to September 16. Reserve your seats by calling the Box Office at 519.523.9300, Toll Free 1.877.862.5984 or online at blythfestival.com.
The story follows Bea, a young woman from the New Credit First Nation, who has been serving with the Canadian Forces since she graduated high school. After two tours of Afghanistan, she finds herself stationed with the Department of Defence at Camp Ipperwash, and tasked with the cleanup of UXOs, as part of the decontamination efforts, in preparation for the return of the land to the people of the Kettle and Stony Point Reserve. Upon arriving on reserve, Bea rents a farmhouse from an aging veteran of the Second World War who slowly shares with her the stories of his childhood growing up on the land she is now working to recover. As Bea settles into the community, she begins to have vivid dreams about a mysterious little girl looking for her home.
Full of song and rich imagery, Ipperwash tells the intimate story of one small part of the hopeful recovery effort at Kettle and Stony Point reserve. Ipperwash features an all-First Nations cast from across the country, with artists from communities all over Canada, including the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation on Manitoulin Island, the Six-Nations reserve, the Tahltan, Kaska, and the Beaver Nation.
The cast includes: Nyla Carpentier, a multifaceted performing artist, poet, and powwow dancer; Jonathan Fisher, an internationally accomplished actor and dancer; Nicole Joy-Fraser, who returns to Blyth following her performances in Kitchen Radio and Stag and Doe in 2014; and James Dallas Smith, who is performing for the first time at the Blyth Festival. Co-playwright Falen Johnson (Mohawk and Tuscarora, Bear Clan) from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory is a writer, producer, dramaturge and actor currently living in Toronto. She is the former playwright-in-residence at Native Earth Performing Arts and Blyth Festival. She was the 2015 recipient of the OAC Emerging Aboriginal Artist Award.
Jessica Carmichael (co-playwright/director) has Abenaki/Haudenosaunee heritage, and is a director, dramaturge, actor, playwright, and drama educator. She is also the past Artistic Director at Carousel Players and past Artistic Associate with Native Earth Performing Arts. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Alberta's MFA in Directing program, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King's College London's MA in Text and Performance Studies, and The National Theatre School of Canada's Three Year Acting program.
The creation of Ipperwash could not have been possible without the incredible support of Kettle and Stony Point community consultants Candace Scott-Moore and Barb Bressette. The Festival is profoundly grateful for the warm welcome the community has extended to all of our efforts. The creative team for Ipperwash includes Beth Kates, projections designer; Jeff Chief, costume designer; Deanna H. Choi, Sound Designer and composer; and a collaboratively-derived set design lead by Clayton Windatt.
Blyth Festival acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, the 2015-2017 Season Sponsor Parkland Fuels/ Sparlings Propane, Season Media Sponsor CTV, and Lake Huron Chrysler (Official Vehicle). Ipperwash is generously sponsored by Horizon Solutions (Production Sponsor) and 104.9 The Beach (Media Sponsor).
August 14 - Preview at 8pm August 15 - Preview at 8pm August 16 - Opening Night at 8pm September 7 - An informal question and answer "Talk Back" with cast members follows the 2pm matinee September 16 - Closing performance at 2pm
COUNTRY SUPPERS Selected Fridays and Saturdays - Enjoy a home-cooked meal served at a local venue at 6:15pm Tickets are $19 each and may be booked by calling the Blyth Festival Box Office
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: #bfIpperwash The Blyth Festival is a professional theatre that enriches the lives of its audience by producing and developing plays that give voice to both the region and the country. The theatre produces a repertory summer season of exclusively Canadian theatre, with an emphasis on new work. Blyth Centre for the Arts, including the Blyth Festival, was founded in 1975.