An Urban Ink production at The York. Ticket discounts for VocalEye users. Please call 604-251-1363 for details.
Running time is 2 hours 20 minutes, including one intermission. The performance will be followed by a discussion.
Described by Ingrid Turk
Book, Music and Lyrics by Corey Payette
Directed by Corey Payette
Children of God is a powerful musical about an Oji-Cree family whose children were taken away to a residential school in Northern Ontario. The story of Rita, a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, Tom and Julia, who never knew she came, skillfully blends ancient traditions and contemporary realities. A celebration of resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit, Payette’s moving score has been influenced by First Nations music and provocative Broadway musicals.
“There is a trickster element to it being a musical,” Payette says. “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 (read more)
The action takes place at a residential school in 1950 and 1970.
The Boys, in 1950
Tommy is 13 years old.
Wilson is 16 years old.
Vincent is Wilson’s younger brother. He is 14 years old.
The Girls, in 1950
Julia is Tommy’s older sister. She is 14 years old.
Joanna is 14 years old.
Elizabeth is 14 years old.
Sister Bernadette is the nun in charge of girls’ dorm.
Father Christopher is the priest in charge of boys’ dorm.
Rita is Tommy and Julia’s mom.
“Children of God is must-see theatre for Canadians.” –The Globe and Mail
“Residential school musical Children of God tells of torment, tragedy and hope.” –The Vancouver Sun
“Corey Payette’s new musical speaks from the heart to one of the most important subjects facing all inhabitants of the territory that we now call Canada: the impact of the residential school system … See this show and make absolutely certain that you stay for the discussion afterwards.” -Colin Thomas
“Julia and Tommy’s story will break your heart. Then sort of mend it. On the night I attended, the real conclusion to Children of God happened after the curtain fell and the entire audience rose to its feet – not in a standing ovation – but to bear witness. Strangers joined hands, row after row, even across the aisles. There were tears; there was jubilation. Going back to the very roots of theatre, it was a rare experience of communion.” –Jo Ledingham
CHILDREN OF GOD – Song List (Word doc)