Presentation House Theatre (PHT) is opening its doors and grounds to the public on August 25th for Nchem?u?s Day, a day of sharing with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, Elders, artists, storytellers and friends.
The free annual event welcomes the community to celebrate “people coming together”. The day features artwork unveilings, a carving demonstration, traditional and untraditional storytelling, stand-up comedy, and the chance to join in some friendly rivalry in the ancient Indigenous game of Slahal.
This year’s Nchem?u?s Day offers a public glimpse into the deep ongoing work taking place at PHT to strengthen relationships with neighbouring Indigenous communities, and to learn, unlearn and decolonize company practices and procedures.
“Nchem?u?s Day is just a small step in a long journey our theatre company is taking, to better understand our relationship to our colonial past and the damage it has done to all of us,” reflects PHT Artistic Director, Kim Selody. “It‘s also the beginning of a healthy way forward, as we learn more about each other, our shared history on this land, and the truth of what happened here.”
Squamish Nation leaders and artists including Chief Ian Campbell, Chief Janice George and Willard “Buddy” Joseph, Elder Lisa Lewis, Elder Sam Seward, Keith Nahanee, Knowledge Keeper Rebecca Duncan with Spakwus Slolem, Xwalacktun, and Swalklanexw Dallas Guss have all worked individually with PHT over the years, developing collaborative projects and commissioning artwork for its spaces. Nchem?u?s Day marks the first time all of the artists will come together at the theatre.
“I am always inspired by the generosity, and openness of these artists,” adds Selody. “Nchem?u?s Day is a great opportunity to find out more about their culture and history here. It can be a healthy healing experience for all of us. And fun, too.”
PHT Managing Director Andrea Loewen echoes Selody’s enthusiasm for this event. “The fact that the Indigenous artists we have partnered with for years will get to share their work and stories together means so much – from the Slahal game to Chief Janice George’s weaving story to a carving demonstration by Xwalacktun and more. It’s really exciting to me. I also really love Keith Nahanee’s comedy – he has been trying to get a group of Indigenous comedians together to perform at PHT for a while now and it’s finally happening!”
Taking place from 4:00 to 8:00pm August 25, Nchem?u?s Day welcomes the community to Presentation House Theatre grounds and indoor venues to participate in the open house format, allowing visitors to move between various sessions and activities at their own pace.