Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital

Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital

Dates & Times

  • Fri Feb 16, 2024
  • Fri Feb 16, 2024


Live In-Person


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  • Adult (Ages 19+) $35
  • Senior (Ages 65+) $15
  • Youth (Ages 18 & under) $ $15
  • Infant (0-12 months) FREE

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Presented By: A play by Laura Cranmer
Sponsored By: arc @ Vancouver Island University

Dr. Laura Cranmer of ‘Namgis and Haida descent, an Indian hospital and residential school survivor, wrote “Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital” based on her three-year stay at the hospital as a young child. In this applied theatre research project, we pose the question:

“How does an applied theatre research process (told through Hul’q’umin’um’, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwak’wala) advance language reawakening for the actors, audience members, and the researchers?”

In this staged reading, the Nanaimo Indian Hospital is re-imagined to be the confluence of the Island’s great linguistic diversity embodied by the three young girls—Dorothy Myth representing Kwak’wala, Esther Williams representing Hul’q’umin’um’, and Mary Robins representing Nuu-chah-nulth—whose growing friendship in Ward B consists of delight in language comparisons while sinister medical undercurrents are revealed in the dialogue and action between the medical staff.

For more information about this event, please watch here: Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital


As an Indigenous-led research project, our governance structure is founded on principles of respect, reciprocity, relevance and responsibility (Kirkness & Barnhart, 2001). We exercise a natural practice that exemplifies a non-hierarchical, consensus-building decision-making style that began from our first meetings with our applied theatre research members. The accompanying graphic, designed by Daisy Elliott (RA, IRSSS Crisis Team Lead, and Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies graduate) symbolizes the sun in the Northwest artistic style. As with any major decision, the primary principles guiding our collaborative consensus-based approach are represented by the rays: respect, reciprocity, relevance, and responsibility. From the choice of the visual representation to the text to its placement on each ray involved significant discussion between all applied theatre research team members prior to reaching a consensus of the final design.

We approach any collaboration in openness and transparent communication, in a deeply reflective way to grow and develop on a personal level. Along with the two settler allies, Amanda Wager, and Becky Thiessen, who bring a deep sense of social justice, responsibility and respect to our deliberations, each member of our research team—Laura Cranmer, Daisy Elliott and Ann Woodward—embodies relational, familial, inter-tribal connections that stretch from Central Vancouver Island to the North Island and the West Coast. In other words, each of us brings long term historical, familial and networks of communities and professional contacts to the table. It is through these respectful relationships that we are supported by the stellar Partner Organizations who have chosen to be part of this decolonial endeavor to highlight a dark chapter of colonial history to reclaim and reawaken our linguistic heritage.

Painting given with permissions by Gerry Ambers. Includes visuals of two Indian hospital survivors, Dr. Laura Cranmer and Frances Recalma (edited by Becky Thiessen)