In 2017, we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday! On Canada’s 150th, we also recognize First Nations inclusion in Canadian history. This issue is addressed in the brilliant play REDPATCH, by Métis theatre artist Raes Calvert and Vancouver based actor, writer, and director Sean Harris Oliver. This powerful production will arrive at Vancouver’s Studio 16 this week. Keep reading to see why we’re excited to see REDPATCH.
Calvert, who recently became aware of his own aboriginal ancestry before conceiving of REDPATCH, approached Oliver after seeing his production of Vern Thiessen’s Vimy. Convinced of Calvert’s idea, Oliver joined Calvert in conducting extensive research with the First Nations communities in Nootka Island. The result is the exceptional combination of two incredible artists, a powerful story of a First Nations man, and the legacy of close to four thousand Native men who served in the Canadian Forces in WWI.
REDPATCH is a play named after the red patch that distinguished the Canadian First Division from the British army. It follows the life of a young Métis soldier named Jonathon Woodrow from the Nuu-chah-nulth nation of Vancouver Island, who volunteers to fight with the Canadian army in the First World War. It traces Jonathon’s struggles in the army, from the brutal warfare at Ypres, the Somme, and Vimy Ridge to his journey back home. What follows is Jonathon’s fight against the discrimination he faces as a result of his Aboriginal heritage and the strains he experiences with his own people.
Calvert who graduated from Studio 58 at Langara College in 2010 has an extensive working background, with a resume including tours with the Manitoba Theatre for Young People and The Presentation House Theatre. He joins fellow Studio 58 graduate Sean Harris Oliver, who has worked with Théatre La Seizième and Carousel Theatre. Together, their theatre production company Hardline Productions produces emotionally charged and intellectually engaging performances that have since been nominated for eleven Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards! In addition to their impressive amount of accolades, Calvert is joined on stage with an all First Nations cast including Reneltta Arluk, Émilie Leclerc, Joel D. Montgrand, Chelsea Rose Tucker, and Deneh Thompson.
REDPATCH is a must-see and will be playing at Studio 16 from April 12 to April 16, 2017. You can buy your tickets here or visit their website to learn more! For additional information about REPATCH’s world, visit their online platform.
Deanna Cheng authored this blog post. Deanna is a team member of Super Sacha, loves the arts, culture and has an interest in International Relations.