Stage Door News

Kingston: Theatre Kingston presents “Civilized” by Keir Cutler June 1-4

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

CIVILIZED, a play about the banality of evil and putting it right, explores how the Canadian government failed to prevent the abuse, and in many cases, deaths suffered by Natives at the Indian Residential Schools. The last Indian Residential School didn’t close until 1996! During those years, thousands of children died, many, as we are now finding out, were buried in unmarked graves. Many more children were scarred mentally and physically for life. All told 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their families and forced to attend these church-run, government-funded schools. 

In 1907, Dr. Peter Bryce, the Chief Medical Officer of the Departments of the Interior and Indian Affairs, reported that the Indian Residential Schools of Canada were “dangerous to health” with “an almost total lack of ventilation with Indian boys and girls dying in overcrowded, unhygienic school-rooms and dormitories.” The Canadian government was funding these institutions and clearly had an obligation to ensure they were properly run and safe, yet the government failed to act. Why?

CIVILIZED attempts to answer this question by resurrecting a fictional government bureaucrat, William Blank, from the past to explain. Using actual government reports, writings, and speeches from the period, one uncovers a contemptuous and superior attitude of the Canadian government. CIVILIZED is a compelling look at how colonialist ideas of what it means to be "civilized" were responsible for the horrors inflicted on the First Nations People.

THEATRE KINGSTON is proud to partner with CIVILIZED, to bring you this important play about the founding of the residential school system. Featuring award-winning Métis actor, John D. Huston, Festival 2022 CIVILIZED is written by Keir Cutler and directed by Paul Hopkins Civilized is inspired by actual reports, writings & speeches...

“Gripping, fascinating, CIVILIZED brings to life parts of our past that we are still trying to reconcile. … This play should be shown… anywhere people will see it”. FIVE STARS Winnipeg Free Press – Review by Shelley Cook of the Brokenhead Ojibway.

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