Munsch to Say in Hul’q’umi’num

Chemainus Theatre Festival: wacky wonderful Robert Munsch- based kids show starts Saturday

Vancouver Island University Cowichan’s elder in residence Florence James played a key role in shaping the Hul’qumi’num flavour of Chemainus Theatre’s latest KidzPlay production.

There will be Munsch to Say in several languages, even in Cowichan Tribe’s Hul’qumi’num come the opening of Chemainus Theatre Festival’s KidzPlay production July 20.

Chemainus Theatre artistic director Mark DuMez and cast have been working with First Nations elders to bring the language alive in the cult Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch-based show Munsch to Say!, which includes classic tales Andrew’s Loose Tooth, We Share Everything, and Aaron’s Hair.

“It’s been an exciting community collaboration and to be part of the language preservation efforts which are integral to this project,” said DuMez, who’s worked with members of the Coast Salish community to explore the languages, sounds, gestures, and pictures from across British Columbia.

“There’s a commonality around the Salish Sea for those of us who live in this region. I want the audience to be captivated by learning new words in the language of our neighbours through story-telling and feel connected to each other.”

The wacky and wonderful production, Munsch To Say! kicks off the theatre’s 2013 Discovery programming.

The youth-based series of shows offers opportunities for young ones and families to participate in and experience the joy of theatrical art forms.

Vancouver Island University Cowichan Campus elder-in-residence and Penelakut Tribes’ Florence James provided dialect training to the cast.

She’s also involved with the Robert Munsch Project through School District 79’s First Nation Preservation Project translating classic stories into print and interactive Hul’q’umi’num audio books.

“I was so pleased when I found out that (Chemainus Theatre Festival) wanted to do this play,” she said. “The language comes alive on stage. To have non-Natives learn and speak our language, they are like role models to me. This new generation has beautiful hearts and they will be the change that we need to keep our language and culture alive in the future.”

Morgan McLeod leads the cast, Ian Harmon (Sunshine Boys and Munsch Ado About Nothing), Corey Payette (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Susan Coodin (Steel Magnolias, Wilde Holiday Shorts and Anne) and Emilie Leclerc (originally from Quebec, provides French translation).

Also contributing is Cowichan singer-songwriter and story-teller, Ed Peekeekoot.

Island Farm’s Daisy the Cow kicks off Saturday’s show with free ice cream and pre-show games starting at 10 a.m.


Your ticket

What: Munsch to Say!

Where: Chemainus Theatre Festival Inn

When: July 20 to Aug. 25, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 11 a.m., Tuesdays and Fridays 2 p.m.

Tickets: $12. Buy three get one free. Call 250-246-9800