Live theatre is finally making a comeback to CBU’s Boardmore Playhouse after two years of silence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a recent production of You Are Here written by Daniel MacIvor, the stage crew is now gearing up to show Please Do Not Touch the Mi’Kmaq written by Joseph A. Dandurand.
Sheila Christie, CBU Professor of Drama and English and producer of the show, says the play does not follow a traditional Western plot narrative. “It allows us to follow five characters as they process the things that have happened to them and their culture,” she shares. “As well as connecting to each other and celebrating their identities despite their dark and challenging experiences.”
This show not only tells a gripping story, but more importantly, strives to bring community members together. “We’ve had so much support,” Sheila shares. “It’s a University production, but the community has been critically involved.” Alongside the Boardmore’s technical team, collaborators also include students from the L’nu Culture in Media and Theatre class at CBU, the Sons of Membertou and other community members and artists.
Sheila says she is beaming with joy knowing this play will give Indigenous students a chance to develop their skills, showcase their talents and take pride in their culture. “It is powerful to be able to say, in a public forum, that who they are is not how they’re often represented,” she says. “It’s been moving to see the students find the ways in which they can shine in an artistic context.” Sheila also notes that this show will be the stage debut for most performers.
Please Don’t Touch the Mi’kmaq was carefully selected to be part of the Boardmore Playhouse’s 2021/22 season. “In choosing a play, it was important to us to avoid asking Indigenous actors to perform trauma,” Sheila explains. “Instead, this play uses important aspects of Indigenous culture, like song, dance and storytelling to take us on each character’s journey.” This show was particularly significant to its creators as they worked to showcase Indigenous art, talent and culture, highlighting the importance of reconciliation through art and beyond.
CBU’s current Artist in Residence, The Sons of Membertou; Morgan Toney and other community members will lend their talents to the musical elements of the show. Alongside them, the performance will feature traditional Mi’kmaw dancers. Off stage, audiences are welcome to visit displays which will be featured outside of the Boardmore Playhouse. These were crafted by students with artifacts donated by community members. These displays not only show the students’ creativity, but important aspects of their culture.
All members of the community are invited to attend the performance, running from April 12-16 at 7:00pm and April 17 at 2:00pm. To book tickets, call the Boardmore box office at 902-563-1652. Tickets are free for CBU students, $10 for any other student and $20 for adults. Each performance will be followed by a talk-back session in which audience members are encouraged to participate.