The Steveston Noh Project: The Gull as Intercultural Redress Theatre


In 2002, the theatre company Pangaea Arts commissioned a multi-artist, intercultural collaboration, The Steveston Noh Project.  This resulted in the production of the first “Canadian Noh Play,” based on the libretto The Gull, written by Daphne Marlatt. Over twenty years after the government’s Official Apology to Japanese Canadians, The Gull and the SNP reveal that the cultural memory of the World War II internment experience is an unfinished project for Japanese Canadians and Canada as a whole. This article highlights the potential of intercultural theatre practices to redress and responsibility-taking processes. Additionally, the co-authors engage with Noh’s roots in Buddhism to propose that, for transitional societies such as Canada’s, redress needs to occur in grassroots cultural, familial, and spiritual contexts, rather than solely in the political arena, to further the ongoing work of reckoning with the past. The theatre of redress from below exemplified by the Steveston Noh Project suggests deep practices of intercultural apprenticeship which may be required of members of the privileged, beneficiary settler society who seek to take up alternative practices of redress reckoning.

This article “The Steveston Noh Project: The Gull as Intercultural Redress Theatre” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 216 (Spring 2013): 118-37.

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