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Blyth Festival stages world premiere of "Ipperwash," opening night is Aug. 18

By: Liz Dadson
August 11, 2017

In 1942, the Canadian Department of Defence relocated the community of Stony Point to neighbouring reserve Kettle Point to establish the training base, Camp Ipperwash. The department promised to return the land after the war had concluded. This promise went unfulfilled for more than 70 years, and this act of displacement still reverberates through these communities today.

The Blyth Festival is staging the world premiere of "Ipperwash" by Falen Johnson and Jessica Carmichael, with opening night slated for Aug. 18.

The play uses humour, movement, and song to tell the story of reclamation, repatriation, and the resilience of a community. Directed by Jessica Carmichael, the story follows Bea, a young woman from the New Credit First Nation, who has been serving with the Canadian Forces since she graduated high school. After two tours of Afghanistan, she finds herself stationed with the Department of Defence at Camp Ipperwash, and tasked with the clean-up of UXOs, as part of the decontamination efforts, in preparation for the return of the land to the people of the Kettle and Stony Point Reserve.

Upon arriving on the reserve, Bea rents a farmhouse from an aging veteran of the Second World War who slowly shares with her the stories of his childhood growing up on the land she is now working to recover. As Bea settles into the community, she begins to have vivid dreams about a mysterious little girl looking for her home. 
Full of song and rich imagery, "Ipperwash" tells the intimate story of one small part of the hopeful recovery effort at Kettle and Stony Point reserve.
The show features an all-First Nations cast from across the country, with artists from communities all over Canada, including the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation on Manitoulin Island, the Six-Nations reserve, the Tahltan, Kaska, and the Beaver Nation. The cast includes: Nyla Carpentier, a multifaceted performing artist, poet, and powwow dancer; Jonathan Fisher, an internationally-accomplished actor and dancer; Nicole Joy-Fraser, who returns to Blyth following her performances in "Kitchen Radio" and "Stag and Doe" in 2014; and James Dallas Smith, who is performing for the first time at the Blyth Festival.

"Ipperwash" runs Aug. 18 to Sept. 16 at the Blyth Festival. Reserve your seats by calling the Box Office at 519-523-9300, Toll-Free at 1-877-862-5984 or on-line at
"Ipperwash" image by Terry Manzo


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