In this scene from the play Damned If You Do; What If You Don’t? the actors rehearse a scene depicting gang violence. Actors are Mutya Macatumpag (left)

In this scene from the play Damned If You Do; What If You Don’t? the actors rehearse a scene depicting gang violence. Actors are Mutya Macatumpag (left)

Squaw Hall Project premieres Tuesday

The latest installment of the Squaw Hall Project in the form of a live play and a film will be presented at the Gibraltar Room this Tuesday, March 22 starting at 7:30 p.m.

The latest installment of the Squaw Hall Project in the form of a live play and a film will be presented at the Gibraltar Room this Tuesday, March 22 starting at 7:30 p.m.

The film Squaw Hall: A Community Remembers features 10 First Nations elders from the Williams Lake area, and the youth who interviewed them, says project media contact Cathy McDonald. The film captures the memories of Secwepemc and Tsilhqot’in elders being young and growing up in the Cariboo Chilcotin. With a background of beautiful archival images of community life, the elders speak powerfully to their youthful interviewers, with words of wisdom directed to all First Nations youth of today.

Following the film will be a live performance of the half-hour play Damned If You Do; What If You Don’t?; a humorous and powerful story that focuses on two teenagers living in Williams Lake today, who cope with the challenges their family faces as well as the lure of alcohol and  peer pressure.

“It has been a great privilege to be able to work with both youth and elders through this project,” said Diane Roberts, artistic director of urban ink Productions of Vancouver and co-leader of the project that has been developed over the past year with Twin Fish Collective of Nelson and local community support.

“The stories that have been shared, and the creativity and commitment of everyone involved has produced two amazing works. What drew us here originally was a fascination with the story of Squaw Hall. But what we discovered is a deep appreciation for the wisdom and strength of community.”

A key element of the project was to give youth the tools to learn about their own heritage: the journeys and values that have shaped their communities today.

Combined with self-reflection, creative writing and discussion, the youth were able to express their hopes for their own future, by creating this play.

Following the premiere Tuesday the troupe will take the film and play on a brief tour to nearby First Nations communities during the week of March 23 – 26.