Musicals express emotions beyond words

When this idea came up, I really felt like people didn’t know about this history, that this happened in our country, that we include this history as part of how we understand our Canadian identity. That this isn’t just something that we see as a part of Canadian history, but that it needs to inform how we see ourselves today and the choices that we make moving forward. Part of it is that acknowledgment and ensuring survivors that the experiences they went through, we will never let that happen again, in any way.

How I understand musicals to work best is they express emotions that are beyond words, so when characters can no longer speak, they sing. There is a trickster element to it being a musical. I hope that people will assume that because it is a musical it’s accessible, and ‘Oh, it’s for everyone! Oh, the music’s so pretty!’ and then they’ll come in and they’ll learn something. They’ll be a part of this experience where they’ll say, ‘Oh my goodness, not only did I see a great musical, but I feel connected to these people and this history.

I think musicals can do that. They open up people’s hearts. All of a sudden you see this person, you care about them. Wouldn’t that change our world if people really cared about indigenous people?

Corey Payette
Writer, director, composer, and lyricist
Children of God
from Residential-school history sings
in Corey Payette’s new musical Children of God

Andrea Warner, Georgia Strait