Reconciliation hits stage, screens with touring production

Global audience invited to interact with Vancouver cast in final production this March

Theatre for Living is bringing the stage production šxʷʔam̓ət across B.C. and Alberta, with a final performance that audiences around the world can watch.

What does reconciliation really mean?

That’s what Theatre for Living asks with its powerful performance šxʷʔam̓ət (home). The live theatre production debuted in Vancouver last year, and immediately the company was flooded with requests for a tour. And so, in January and Febuary they will visit 21 different communities to share their compelling story with audiences across B.C. and Alberta, including Chilliwack on Jan. 17.

The production is not just about putting on a play and leaving it there on the stage. It’s about engaging audiences, before, during and after the show. For example, even the title of the show is explained in detail. The title, šxʷʔam̓ət, is based on a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Indigenous dialect) word used to reference home. The Musqueam Language and Culture Department created a pronunciation guide, and an audio recording featuring Musqueam Elder Larry Grant.

On the production’s webpage, it’s explained that the š is pronounced like English “sh”, while the xʷ sounds like the “wh” in “which”. The stress is on the first syllable, like in the name “Amit”. ʔam̓ sounds like the first syllable in the word “omelet”. ət sounds like the second syllable of the word “comet”.

And after the production tours B.C. and Alberta, they will hold a final performance on March 10. That will be broadcast globally, so anyone with an internet connection can tune in. But they won’t just be watching. They can access “webactors” acting as intervenors. Those actors will be behind the scenes with computers taking part in live chat rooms, and able to intervene on stage on viewers behalf.

The more viewers the better. Theatre for Living has been producing live webcast plays for 25 years, as a pioneer in the concept in 1989. They encourage people to gather and watch together, to share ideas and chat online with the backstage actors, and to get conversations going as a way to actively work through what reconciliation can look like.

šxʷʔam̓ət is directed by David Diamond with associate director Renae Morriseau. The original play was workshopped by a courageous group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members and then created and performed by a cast of seven original and relevant voices, from a diverse range of Canadian society. The cast includes Asivak Koostachin, Joey Lespérance, Madeline Terbasket, Rev. Margaret Roberts, Mutya Macatumpag, Nayden Palosaari and Sam Seward.

The production company makes special acknowledgement to Sam Bob who originated the role of Joe and to Tom Scholte who originated the role of Doug (now Robert). Neither cast member could tour.

Chilliwack’s show is the tour’s opening night, with shows following in Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, Campbell River, Port Hardy, Kitamaat, Hazelton, Vanderhoof, Prince George, Chetwynd, Nelson, Penticton, Kamloops and select cities in Alberta.

For more information, visit

To learn more about the Chilliwack showing, on Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tzeachten Community Centre, phone 604-824-3211.

In Canada, Health Support Services for Former Indian Residential Schools Students: An Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her residential school experience.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


A scene from the original showing of šxʷʔam̓ət, by Theatre for Living. Left to right in front: Asivak Koostachin, Rev. Margaret Roberts, Madeline Terbasket; in back: Tom Scholte, Sam Bob. (Theatre for Living photo)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey girls donate hair, give hope through Wigs for Kids

Emotional event at Coyote Creek Elementary saw 10 girls donate locks to those with cancer

Historic farm time travels to 1900

Demonstrations to show life in Surrey

Choices Lottery home located in White Rock

The 3,672 square-foot, three-level home, located at 1502 Bishop Road, has ocean views.

Pedestrian in critical condition after South Surrey crash identified

RCMP said they have been in contact with the woman’s family

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Couple keeps South Surrey neighbourhood clean

Bob Cockerill, 83, and his wife Ev, 80, pick up garbage on their morning walks

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

Most Read