British Columbia

Exploring reconciliation through audience-participation theatre

An original forum-style theatre production that works through the challenges of reconciliation will wrap up its current tour as it takes the stage this weekend in Kamloops, B.C.

Šxʷʔam̓ət (home) calls on audience members to help work through barriers

Šxʷʔam̓ət (home) uses audience participation to explore ideas of reconciliation. (David Cooper)

An original forum-style theatre production that works through the challenges of reconciliation will wrap up its six-week B.C.-Alberta tour on February 25 when it takes the stage in Kamloops, B.C.

Originally performed in Vancouver in March 2017, Šxʷʔam̓ət (home) was created by a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people looking for a way to bring ideas about reconciliation into a physical space.

"We investigated our own struggles, our own blockages to true and honourable reconciliation," director David Diamond told CBC's Doug Herbert.  

"The play asks questions about how we move through those blockages to make reconciliation true, real, honourable, in-between people on the ground."

Šxʷʔam̓ət, prounounced shwuh-om-et, means home in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, a Coast Salish dialect. 

šxʷʔam̓ət (home), left to right: Asivak Koostachin, Joey Lespérance, Margaret Roberts, Madeline Terbasket and Sam Seward. (David Cooper)

Audience participation

Šxʷʔam̓ət (home), isn't your average play — it calls on the audience to go on stage and take the place of characters, in an attempt to work through barriers.

Actor Samuel Seward said he's heard very positive feedback throughout the tour.

"A lot of people say it's been a learning experience," he said. "A lot of people can identify with what's happening on stage."

Diamond said that while the topic is heavy and requires audience participation, which sometimes dissuades people from attending, it's a unique piece of work that he hopes people will watch.

Šxʷʔam̓ət (home) will play in Vancouver at the Firehall Arts Centre from March 2 to 10. (Theatre for Living)

"People should come to this not because it's about something important, but because it's really innovative theatre and it's a really beautiful way to step inside issues," Diamond said.

Šxʷʔam̓ət (home) will be at Vancouver's Firehall Arts Centre from March 2 to 10. 

With files from Daybreak Kamloops

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