I have to tell my story 2013

I have to tell my story image

Participants: Sam Bob, Donna Dickison, Winona Makier-Williams, Dustin McGladrey, Gertie Pierre, Melodie Pierre, Susan Powell, Patricia Tuckanow, and Herb Varley

In April 2013, as a part of The Residential School Awareness Project Circles of Understanding, Theatre for Living, under contract to The Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre Society (VACPCS) facilitated a 6-day Power Play exploring issues of the impact of Residential Schools. The workshop participants were survivors of the Residential School system as well as the children of survivors; Elders, adults and youth. 

Out of the 6 day workshop a public performance was born and presented at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre on April 25, 2013. Using interactive, Forum Theatre, I Have to Tell My Story asks questions about how we, in the context of the legacy of Residential Schools, create and support healthy family and community safety. The plays performed twice, first at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre as well as the Aboriginal Mothers' Centre, to very strong community support and reaction.

As a result I Have to Tell My Story was remounted as a part of UBC’s contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation Conference events on September 19, 2013. The Power Play was remounted once again at Vancouver City Hall on October 3, 2013.

The project was be presented again at the Vancouver Public Library on January 9, 2014.


Here is some audience feedback:

"I am so glad we came and experienced this live and interactive theatre about the Legacies of Residential School. I originally brought someone here to help them better understand and learn how others can come through their struggles - in turn helping them - but the plays ended up helping me and opened my eyes more. I loved it."
Anonymous audience member (from an evaluation form).

"During the 6 day Power Play that led to forum theatre about the Legacies of Residential School, I gained an understanding of symbolism and how an individual can perceive themselves, or discover how they interact or isolate within their own personal life. I can honestly say that I am more aware today in how people engage with each other on a personal/professional level, as well as how our past trials and tribulations manifest within the theatrical realm. It was an amazing spiritual journey and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to partake in such a powerful and expressive theatrical experience." Siémthalt - Melodie Pierre, BSW, Katzie/Shishalh First Nation

"As an International Chinese Student at UBC I didn't know much about Residential Schools. It was difficult for me to link the difficult situations of today's First Nations people with the Legacies of Residential Schools. Today's presentation made the legacy more easy to understand for someone without this knowledge. This was complex, sensitive, deep and thoughtful. I will share how many impacts residential schools have on current family issues in aboriginal communities. Both the historical legacy of residential schools and foster care and how the cultures and traditions of aboriginal communities make some elements of family life different. Also how universal family issues can be."
Anonymous audience member (from an evaluation form).

For more, please click here to download a PDF file.




Directed and Joked by
David Diamond

handing over facilitation to Sam Bob and Susan Powell so the events will continue in the future.



April 25, 2013
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre

September 19, 2013
First Nations House of Learning
(unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples)
1985 West Mall
The University of British Columbia

October 3, 2013
Vancouver City Hall

January 9, 2014
Vancouver Public Library




More Past Projects: