British Columbia

Puppets, music, and horse-drawn sleighs: North Okanagan play retells story of Inuit legend

The Caravan Farm Theatre is putting on a play called Sedna, which is based on an Inuit story about the goddess of the Arctic sea.

“It’s an opportunity to experience an indigenous perspective that isn’t the common one,” says play director

Sedna is a play based on the Inuit story about the goddess of the Arctic sea. (Cate Currie)

The Caravan Farm Theatre, a company featuring outdoor productions on an 32-hectare farm in Armstrong, B.C. is celebrating its 40th year with a play that offers a new twist on a traditional Inuit story.

This winter, the theatre is putting on a show called Sedna, based on an Inuit story about the goddess of the Arctic sea.

The show will feature original music and large puppets. Audience members will be escorted from scene to scene in horse-drawn sleighs.

"It's an opportunity to experience an Indigenous perspective that isn't the common one that we see reported in the news," said show director and composer Corey Payette. 

Payette co-created the play with Reneltta Arluk and Marshall McMahen.

Contemporary meets traditional

The play begins on a winter night with Selia, an Indigenous woman, contemplating the pros and cons of an impending pipeline travelling through her peoples' territory.

On the day of the project's ground breaking, a storm brings Selia face to face with Sedna, the arctic goddess who presents her with a broader perspective on the environment and those who depend on it. 

Audiences are transported from scene to scene by horse-drawn sleigh during the Caravan Farm Theatre’s 2017 winter sleigh ride show. (Caravan Farm Theatre)

"It felt really important to us to show the contemporary struggles of Indigenous peoples paired alongside a very old traditional story of Sedna, that helps to put into perspective how small we all are in the larger story of this planet," said Payette.

He says the story should help people realize their personal responsibility in the world.  

While the show is currently sold out, you can still add your name to the waiting list by visiting the Caravan Farm Theatre website.  

The show runs three times a day from Dec. 11 to 31. 

With files from CBC's Radio West