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World premiere of Children of God | by Corey Payette

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The Cultch presents the world premiere of Children of God, a new musical written & directed by Corey Payette.

An Urban Ink (Vancouver) production in collaboration with National Arts Centre English Theatre, in association with Raven Theatre (Vancouver)

WHEN: May 17 – Jun 3, 2017
May 17 + 18, 7PM: Preview
May 19, 7PM: Opening Night
May 20, 23 – 27, 30 – 31 + Jun 1 – 3: 7PM
May 21, 28 + Jun 3: 2PM

ASL Interpreted Performance: May 21, 2PM

VocalEye Audio Described Performance: May 28, 2PM

WHERE: YORK THEATRE (639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC)

TICKETS: Tickets from just $20!

Single tickets on sale now through The Cultch’s Box Office: 604-251-1363 or

In Corey Payette’s powerful new musical, the children of an Oji-Cree family are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. This is a story of redemption: for a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating the resilience and power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s moving score also includes echoes of Broadway masterpieces.

In 1996 the last residential school in Canada shut its doors, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology on behalf of all Canadians. According to the wisdom of the Elders, it takes twice as long to reconcile as it takes to do the damage. After over 130 years of residential schools in Canada, it is clear that the process of reconciliation is only just beginning.

Shocked by the way Canada sweeps aspects of its history under the rug, Oji-Cree theatre maker Corey Payette wrote Children of God as a way of starting the conversation; acknowledging the hurt done, and acknowledging the strength of the survivors and their descendants. In Corey’s own words, “Children of God began as a journey to understand and to acknowledge with the hope that this understanding would lead us to a fuller picture of our history, and a chance to acknowledge the survivors of residential schools for their strength and resilience in the face of this dark history.” Children of God is one family’s story, but it represents the stories of hundreds of thousands; it is a beautiful tribute to the strength and resiliency of Indigenous peoples across Canada.


“I saw this production in Kamloops on the third night of a small festival season presented by the Western Canadian Theatre Company. I’m sure they could have sold out three times for the number of people clamouring to get in, all after word of mouth had spread from the first two nights about this powerful musical by Oji-Cree writer Corey Payette. I knew after the first scene that it was destined for Canada’s stage.”

– Artistic director, NAC English Theatre, Jillian Keiley

“Every once in a while someone as special as Corey Payette comes along with a project as special as this. Children of God was developed as part of The Collaborations because it was so extraordinary, passionate and beautiful.”

– Associate Artistic Director, NAC English Theatre, Sarah Garton Stanley

“Children of God is a generous gift that helped me understand my role in the process of reconciliation as a non-Indigenous Canadian. It’s an inspiring and immediate call to action, and essential viewing for anyone who lives on this land”

—Performer and playwright, Christine Quintana

* Because of the subject matter of Children of God, counselling services will be available during the performance for those in need of assistance to be supported.

Following the World Premiere in Vancouver, Children of God tours to Ottawa to perform in the Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre as the finale production for the NAC English Theatre season and featured in the Canada Scene Festival marking Canada’s 150th birthday. Next season, this production embarks on a National Tour visiting some of the largest regional theatres in Canada including Citadel Theatre (Edmonton, AB) and Western Canada Theatre (Kamloops, BC).


Herbie Barnes –Tom/Tommy
Cathy Elliot – Rita
Kim Harvey – Joanna/Secretary
Trish Lindstrom – Sister Bernadette
Kevin Loring – Wilson
Cheyenne Scott – Julia
Michael Torontow – Father Christopher
Aaron M. Wells – Vincent
Kaitlyn Yott – Elizabeth

Creative Team:

Corey Payette – Director/Playwright/Composer/Lyricist
Marshall McMahen – Production Designer
Allen Cole – Musical Director/Piano
Elliot Vaughan – Orchestrator/Viola
Jeff Harrison – Lighting Designer
Julie Tomaino – Movement Director
Kris Boyd – Sound Designer
Sybille Pearson – Dramaturg
Julie McIsaac – Assistant Director
Reas Calvert – Associate Movement Director
Helen Oro – Jewelry Design
Mike Kovac & Ryan McNeil Bolton – Fight Directors
Samira Rose – Stage Manager
Jessica Schacht – Assistant Stage Manager


Brian Chan – Cello
Allen Cole – Piano
Martin Reisle – Guitar
Elliot Vaughan – Viola

Production Team:

Christie Watson – Producer
Adrian Muir – Production Manager
Darryl Milot – Head of Wardrobe
Carol Macdonald – Props Master
Kyra Soko – Sound Operator

The Vancouver production is sponsored by TD Bank Group.


Based in Vancouver, Urban Ink creates, produces and tours original theatre works by Indigenous and Intercultural artists. Across Canada, Urban Ink is putting the power in the hands of Indigenous and Intercultural artists to tell their own stories from their own unique voices. Founded in 2001, Urban Ink has always been a company where Canadian stories are told. Today, under the passionate artistic direction of Corey Payette, our company goes even further, promoting Intercultural understanding, igniting conversations from coast to coast, and celebrating the rich history of its land by bringing communities together in a National conversation that affirms diversity as a shared Canadian value.


Since 1973, The Cultch (formally the Vancouver East Cultural Centre) has been one of Vancouver’s most diverse and innovative arts and cultural hubs. The organization operates three theatrical venues, a gallery, and various ancillary spaces in the heart of East Vancouver. The Cultch offers dynamic contemporary programming in theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts, bringing world-class cultural presentations to thousands of citizens each year through its own programming and through providing rental opportunities for community users. Our purpose is to provide a venue for performance that serves a diverse and engaged public and provides space for artistic experimentation and development, building an audience for local companies and presenting cutting-edge national and international work.


The National Arts Centre of Canada (NAC) collaborates with artists and arts organizations across Canada to help create a national stage for the performing arts, acting as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country. The NAC is the only bilingual, multidisciplinary performing arts centre in Canada, and one of the largest and very few in the world, presenting more than 1,200 performances and welcoming more than 1.3 million visitors per year to its Ottawa homebase. 2017 will mark the opening of the NAC Indigenous Theatre department, with an imminent announcement of its first artistic director.


We acknowledge the ancestral, traditional and unceded Indigenous territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and in particular, the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh Nations on whose territory we live.