WCT holding panel discussion about reconciliation through art

By Jill Sperling
May 17, 2017 - 10:30am Updated: May 17, 2017 - 1:39pm

KAMLOOPS — Western Canada Theatre is inviting the public to partake in a free panel discussion called Truth, Reconciliation, and the Discourse through Arts and Culture: The role theatre plays in the Reconciliation process of Canada. 

The recommendations that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission place a heavy emphasis on the role arts and culture play in renewing the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. 

Tonight's (May 17) panel discussion is an effort to create discussion around the reconciliation process, specifically how theatre plays a part.

"It's going to be an open opportunity for discussion," said WCT Executive Director Lori Marchand, "and hopefully at the end of the evening we'll even be able to, ideally, have some actionable items out of it that people in their everyday lives can take forward and say, 'this is what I can contribute.'" 

Panelists include the honourable Len Marchand Jr., a provincial court judge who previously served as a lawyer to resolve residential school cases, and Paul Michel, TRU's Executive Director of Aboriginal Education. 

As a youth representative for the BC Native Women's Association, Nikki Fraser will add a youth perspective to the discussion. Playwright and Cultural Arts Director Laura Michel-Evans will also speak at tonight's event. 

Western Canada Theatre has been putting on a number of theatrical works telling Aboriginal stories as part of its (RE)Imagine series. 

Lori Marchand says those productions have been making an impact on Aboriginal youth. 

"They were very engaged in the story, they were very excited about seeing themselves onstage and hearing their stories onstage, and the teachers sent back a really amazing note that we all appreciated about how engaged they had been in that conversation, and how moved they were by the experience," Marchand said.

Tonight's discussion is open to everyone, and begins at 5 p.m. at the Old Courthouse on Seymour Street. 

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